Tom Gagnon

Hometown: Alfred, Maine.

When did you begin your guide career: I started working summers on the Smith River in central Montana in 2008 and guiding in the Missoula area shortly after that.

Favorite river around Missoula: The Bitterroot, especially the middle and lower sections is some of my favorite water around.  Large fish and consistent hatches throughout our long  dry fly season always keep you on your toes.  Also, the entire ecosystem is in constant flux as runoff moves logs, boulders and gravel bars around, constantly creating new habitat and places to fish.

Favorite way to target trout: Sight fishing is so much fun.  Whether it is casting to a rising fish or a light dry/dropper set up to a cruiser in a spring fed backwater. There’s something about seeing your target before the shot that adds that extra layer of nuance and excitement.

Why guide out of Missoula: The variety and complexity of all our rivers allows for a really fun season, which lasts longer than nearly anywhere in the west.  The eagerness of our all wild fish to eat dry flies, a myriad of insect hatches and vast river systems are all just incredible.  There’s just so much water here.  There are Missoula guides I’ve known for twelve years and we’ve literally never seen each other on the river.  You can’t say that for many places.  Also, Missoula is a pretty fun place to live with all the great restaurants, breweries and culture!

How do you spend your offseason: Once fishing season is over, I trade out my fly rods for shotguns and guide waterfowl hunts for in eastern Montana.  The hunting here in the state is incredible and maybe one of the best kept secrets in the country.  I always tell guests that I moved here for the fishing, but I’m staying for the hunting.  If you’re interested in a bird hunting trip let Anthony know!