Missoula Fly Fishing Outfitter Dan Mahoney

Dan owns and operates the guide service Missoula on the Fly

Dan Mahoney

Montana Fishing Outfitter Dan Mahoney

Dan Mahoney (right) with a Blackfoot River Brown Trout

Hometown: Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Lives in: Missoula, MT

What do you most look forward to in a single guide day?

“A client’s rod raised high with the reel’s drag screaming; watching the light-bulb go on for a beginner learning to cast; figuring out the daily secret fly pattern.”

What do you most look forward to in a guide season?

“I love the physical excursion each day brings.  I also enjoy watching the familiar faces of return clients/friends show up every year.  And ultimately, I feel like I am fishing vicariously through them every single day.”

What is the most memorable trout you guided a client into last year?

“A two foot brown that ate an October Caddis dry fly on one of my last trips of the season.  It was calm and cold late October morning. I remember questioning my call to meet early to avoid traffic while launching the boat in 36 degree ice fog.  As we made our way plying through the first run and into the tailout the angler scated his dry fly across the surface.  A wake came rushing towards the fly and it sounded like someone threw a bowling ball in the water when the beast engulfed the fly.  After a long fight the fish bent my aluminum net in half when I scooped him!”

 What is your favorite local Missoula River?

“Its hard to beat the Blackfoot River when its just coming off of high water.   The river gives up some of the biggest trout of the year during this time.  I love the roar of the Blackfoot and the anticipation that comes with every drift.  Watching a giant trout come up to eat a size 2 Salmonfly pattern is hard to beat!”

How many days a year do you fish?

“I  guide over a hundred trips throughout Montana in an average year and fish as much as I can on days off.  As a fishing guide, fishing for fun is research for work!”

Hobbies other than Fishing:

“Traditional Archery, elk and deer hunting, and bird hunting with my Setter “Tia”.   I love tying flies and tie quite a bit in the winter and throughout the fishing season.   I  started playing the guitar a few years ago and I continue to work at becoming better on skis.”

A Favorite Fishing Tip:

“I believe that there are many effective ways and techniques to catch trout and that fly fishing is a learning process that never really ends.  For me, each day of fishing starts with a game plan that considers what I think will happen throughout the day.  Many of these days I have to throw my game plan out the window and try new techniques, different flies, or fish a different type of water to get results.   If you let the trout and current conditions dictate how you fish you will be more successful.  Don’t be afraid to change your fly or technique often when its not happening.”

Another favorite tip: Leave your fly on the water!  We’re not fishing for owls!”

What advice would you give a prospective client before booking?

“Communicate extensively with your outfitter/guide.  Let your desires and expectations be known so that we can do our best to accommodate your fishing trip.”

Meet More Guides