Is fly fishing really that expensive?

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Is fly fishing really that expensive?

We’ve all heard it: fly fishing is so expensive. Well…is it really? Through our years of experience here in Montana, we’ve observed many things—from the growth of the fishing industry to still having great fly fishing on Montana’s waters, but one thing is always constant. That’s the fact that fly fishing is still relatively cheap. Whether you want to walk-wade the Gallatin River near Big Sky and Bozeman, Montana or hit the Upper Madison outside Yellowstone National Park, get out there--you'll see your saving money by going fly fishing.


Let’s do a little comparison, and start by breaking down a typical day of fishing on a stretch of water within a 60-mile round-trip of your home. For these comparisons let’s assume you already own a rod, reel, and fly line.


            Mileage and gas: $20

            Flies used while fishing: $15

            Leaders and floatant: $10

            Sandwich you made at home the night before: $5

            Total: $50 for a day of fly fishing


Second, let’s compare your $40 to some other popular activities such as golf, skiing, hiking, and four-wheeling. Lastly, we’ll compare the approximate overhead of each activity.



            Mileage and gas to course: $5

            Green fees for 18 holes: $40

            Golf balls: $10

            Sandwich you made at home the night before: $5.


Beers or cocktails from the club cart: $10. Be realistic here. When that club cart comes rolling around you won’t be able to resist.

            Total: $65


            Mileage and gas to ski hill: $20

            Lift ticket: $50

            Sandwich you made the night before: $5

            Latte or cocktail pre- or post-skiing: $5

            Total: $80



            Mileage and gas to trailhead: $20

            Sandwich you made the night before: $5

            Total: $25


            All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Riding

            Mileage and gas to trailheads: $20

            Gas while riding: $10

            Sandwich you made the night before: $5

            Total: $35


            Now comes the overhead comparisons. 

            Golf: A set of golf clubs runs upward from $150.

            Skiing: A pair of skis runs upward from $300.

            Hiking: A good pair of boots runs upward from $50.

            Four-wheeling: An ATV starts at $3,000.


Once you take into account overhead, fly fishing looks a little less spendy.

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Gallatin River Guides

  • Gallatin River Guides Big Sky, Montana fly fishing store and guide service near Bozeman, Montana and Yellowstone National Park
  • 406-995-2290
  • [email protected]
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