The 2019 pilot course launched on April 1st, 2019. Applications for the 2019 course are no longer being accepted. Thank you to all those that applied.

The deadline for submitting applications was March 25th, 2019

Participants in the course will be required to complete both an online portion consisting of eight modules as well as a three-day hands-on practicum. Students will be required to successfully complete all eight online modules consisting of selected reading and an exam at the end of each module prior to attending the three-day practicum. Selected students will have access to the online portion of the course starting April 1st, 2019. Each module of the course is estimated to require two hours to complete, including testing. The three-day practicum will take place at the B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin on May 6th-8th. The practicum will build on the knowledge gained during the online portion of the course and will consist of both classroom as well as hands-on instruction. At the end of the three-day practicum there will also be a series of exams that will test the student’s understanding of the material covered during the course.

To be eligible for this course you are required to hold a valid Montana outfitter or guide license and have at least three years' guiding experience. Applicants will be required to supply basic contact information as well as a short description of why they should be considered for the program. Thirty outfitters and guides will be selected to participate in this first course.
*For this first course, we are specifically looking for outfitters and guides who can provide constructive feedback on how we can improve the course as well as serving as ambassadors for the course.
*There will not be a fee charged to participants for attending this first course. For future iterations, we anticipate charging a nominal fee to offset the costs associated with the program.



Montana’s rivers are undergoing increased demands for water, recreation, and environmental services. These demands in the face of increasing periods of drought and other stressors impact the rivers’ resilience and fisheries as well as the potential for conflict among users.

The August 2016 closure of 183 miles of the Upper Yellowstone River and its tributaries to all waterbased recreation was a wake-up call to the fishing industry and other river users that: 1) business as usual will not suffice, and 2) there is the need to step up as advocates for – and stewards of – the river.


Guiding for the Future (G4F) is a program that provides advanced levels of knowledge and skill development for professional fishing guides. The program’s goal is to inspire dedicated stewardship of aquatic ecosystems while increasing knowledge, professionalism, and ethics of fishing guides and the fly fishing industry throughout Montana.

Led by the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana (FOAM), this program is part of a new continuing education program for fishing guides in the state of Montana. G4F is a voluntary course of study and testing. Participating outfitters and guides will undergo a curriculum that strengthens competence, increases knowledge and skills, and establishes their commitment to helping steward the rivers on which their livelihoods depend. Participants will be evaluated and tested on their knowledge and performance. Successful completion of this course will provide participating guides, outfitters, and fly shops with a set of credentials that distinguish them to outfitters, clients, other river users, and agencies.


  • Knowledge - Develop a rigorous, informative, hands-on, and replicable curriculum that engages fly fishing guides and is viewed as an important and valuable credential for their job and business.
  • Professionalism - Ensure program produces adept and skillful guides while also providing net positive benefits for participating guides, and tie industry into establishing these benefits (e.g., additional prodeal percentage, better rates on liability insurance, etc.).
  • Ethics - Improve communications among fishing guides, fly fishing industry, management agencies, landowners, and other river stakeholders to increase cooperation, reduce conflict, and improve fisheries.
  • Stewardship - Create a corps of involved fishing guides who can routinely undertake basic water quality, flow measurements, and fisheries monitoring efforts under the direction of state agency personnel. Provide guides with tools to engage their clients to become advocates and stewards of rivers and aquatic systems.