Guide Profile: Fly Fishing Montana with Dan “Rooster” Leavens

Rooster Leavens
Ph: Brian Grossenbacher

Dan “Rooster” Leavens is a well-known guide and the owner of Stonefly Outfitters Inn & Outfitters in Twin Bridges, Montana. Known for his fly fishing expertise and dynamic personality, we were pleased that Rooster took the time during the busiest time of the year to sit down to interview with The Venturing Angler:

Why do you guide where you do?

I know it is rude to answer a question with a question – but this warrants it.
Have you ever been to Montana? Fly fished there? Floated the Big Hole River?
Unless you have, it is difficult to explain. If you have, then you know precisely what I am talking about.

What is your favorite fish specie?

The ones that are hungry.


What is your favorite thing about guiding?

The freedom it allows.

What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?

A few years ago I was guiding a fellow from New Zealand. They catch a lot of big trout there – according to him. He was really putting the pressure on me to show him what Montana is all about. So, I did.

I drove him all around the region, never touching pavement. He caught 5 species of trout, all on a dry fly. Only one of them was big. That was the brown. And it was really big. We then drank most of a 12 pack of good beer, stopped and ate a steak at a strip club and then got a bull elk to bugle at us on the way home.

Mission accomplished.

Dan "Rooster" Leavens

What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?

That would be when a pretty funny fellow from Texas was with me on the Jefferson River.

When we hit the get out there was a young couple in a pickup expressing their love for one another.

We took the boat out, put our gear away, and once again fired up the engine.
About then she saw us. At which point the young man fired up his pick up and headed on down the road. Fast. However, he forgot that there was a hairpin turn about a quarter mile down the way and ended up in the ditch. I’m pretty sure they are still embarrassed.


What makes your guide service great?

My staff. I have the most reliable, flexible guide staff I have ever worked with. They are hysterical, serious, nervous, confident and very damn capable.

If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?

Permit. In Mexico. With Jorge.


What are your favorite three flies?

Trout – A Bareback Rider……
Permit – A fresh tied Jorge Crab.
GT’s – A Popovic style fly, tied by my daughter. Red and White. Old School.

What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?

I hate to say it, but my doggone phone.
I can bite line up to 200#, so it’s not my nippers.
Most of my hosted trips I play the music and open beers – it’s hard to do either without my phone.

Do you have any other passions?

Bird Hunting. Running my bird dogs all over the Rocky Mountain West. That’s where you find me in October and November.

To learn more about Dan “Rooster” Leavens and Stonefly Outfitters, please click here.