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The Backstage Pass

Booking a Fly Fishing Trip in Advance: Why it Matters So Much

May 03, 23

For two decades we’ve booked anglers across the globe. As 2020 marks our 20th year in business, we now book over 225 destinations in 28 countries. From these experiences, we’ve heard and seen just about everything! One question we are always asked is: when should I book my trip?

Compiled in one place are two decades of insight on when to begin planning your trip for all of the countries we fish.

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Freshwater Destinations

Alaska is home to many wilderness fly fishing options, a variety of species, and an assortment of lodges and camps across a massive array of waters. We suggest booking at least eight months to a year out for dates in July and August, and at least two months out for any other months. If you stay in touch with us and follow our Travel News and Updates page, a last-minute cancellation may pop-up…but be ready to pay your deposit right away to secure the dates.

Trips to Argentina generally require three days of travel time—two en route and one on the return. Many of our lodges book at least ten months out, but with our ever-expanding offerings, anglers can find good availability with only a few month's lead time. November through March is the season and options run from wild trout to trophy-sized sea-run trout in Tierra del Fuego. Plus, the extra day of travel, allows anglers to add on a day of fly fishing for Golden Dorado.

Australia is a land like no other, with spectacular landscapes and rich ancient culture. It’s the earth’s sixth-largest country in land area and is the only nation to govern an entire continent. We have recently expanded our offerings in Australia, to include Tasmania, so it is always a good idea to contact us if you are planning a trip.

Home to some of the most intriguing jungle fly fishing opportunities on the planet, a trip to Bolivia should be planned at least six months out, if not longer. The operations at Pluma, Agua Boa, and Secure only operate for a few months out of the year, so anglers desiring to fly fish for Golden Dorado, pacu, and in the wild jungle, must be on the ball early in the planning process.

Brazil is home to peacock bass and arapaima, pacu, and a many other species. With more options than Bolivia, but no dorado, a trip to Brazil can be planned a few months out. If you’re looking to catch an arapaima or explore the wilds of the Amazon jungle, a fly-fishing trip to Brazil is a must. Home to an incredible number of different plants, animals, birds, and more than 3,000 different species of fish, it is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet.

Because of ease of travel logistics and a limited number of fisheries, for the widest array of options—whether you are targeting steelhead, trout, or pike—anglers should book at least a year out. For anglers targeting steelhead in British Columbia, 16 months to a two-years is also a good idea. If you were to use only one word to describe fly fishing in Canada, that word would definitely be “variety.” From the legendary steelhead waters of British Columbia to the trout-rich rivers of Alberta to the pike-filled lakes of Saskatchewan, finding a Canada fly fishing lodge to exceed your highest expectations is effortless.

Chile is home to three distinct regions, each offering its own unique type of fishing. From float fishing to heli-fishing to small stream walk-and-wade fishing, Chile’s lodges book up well in advance, some as early as a year or more out. Travel from the U.S. typically takes a day, so anglers are often at their destination within 24 hours of departure. Summer in Chile is winter in the northern hemisphere so Chile is a great place to fish for trout when many of our trout waters are too cold to fish.

If you’re the kind of angler that loves exotic, off-the-grid adventure fishing, then fishing for massive arapaima in the South American jungles of Guyana should definitely be added to the list. Since the season here is short and the area is a dedicated “fly fishing only” reserve, trips must be booked at least eight to twelve months in advance.



Anglers from all over the globe desire to fish in Iceland. It is a high-demand location and space fills up quickly. Book eight months to a year out to get your pick of choice dates and locations. Furthermore, there are no day trips in Iceland, so each Iceland fly fishing trip is lodge-based. These lodges offer some of the best and most legitimate fly fishing opportunities for trophy brown trout, arctic char, and Atlantic Salmon found anywhere in the world.

A trip to India is not your average fishing trip, just as the Golden Mahseer is not your everyday fish. Because of the unique nature of a fly-fishing trip in India, all trips to India are customized and planned for each angler. Start planning your trip ten months out and contact Yellow Dog before making any travel plans or reservations because the one-of-a-kind nomadic nature of these trips cannot be understated.

Landing taimen on a fly rod is a life-time angling accomplishment, therefore it should be on everyone’s bucket list. More than two and a half times the size of Texas, Mongolia is a mysterious and ancient country. Book a year in advance to get your spot secured during the short season for fly fishing for taimen.

New Zealand
Although we have some of the most intimate knowledge of New Zealand fly fishing on the planet, like any good fishing guide and desirable lodge, many book up well over six months to a year in advance. And with the popularity of “mouse years” in this island country, a year in advance may now be the norm moving forward. A trip to New Zealand is a lot easier than you might think so start planning your next Kiwi-based adventure today.

Russia/Kamchatka (Currently closed due to ongoing conflict)
Due to the logistics of fly fishing on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, plan to book at least a year out. Trips can be booked on shorter notice, but for anglers that know the magic of this wilderness destination, they plan next year’s trip immediately after this year’s trip. With recently added non-stop flights from Anchorage to Kamchatka, anglers may need to plan further in advance as well.

A fly fishing trip to Tanzania, Africa is without a doubt a journey to the wildest edge of fly fishing, and Yellow Dog is proud to work with a small group of experienced guides whom we guarantee are the very best in the entire region. Because of this,trips to Tanzania need to be booked over eight months in advance.

Pacific Northwest
Anyone who wants to chase steelhead and trout needs to make the pilgrimage to the Pacific Northwest. With destinations in Oregon and Washington, we have a variety of lodges and outfitters.If you book six months to a year out, it should give you adequate time to get your first choice at prime dates.

U.S. Rockies
Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming offer plenty of options for anglers. It is good practice to book six to twelve months out, but because we have so many options we can usually find a match even on short notice. It should be noted that if you are going on a trip such as the Smith River, Middle Fork of the Salmon, or into Yellowstone Park with an outfitter, special permits are required. Because the permits are written long before the season, guests are picking a pre-arranged trip and should book a year or more in advance.

Saltwater Destinations

We offer remote liveaboard mothership trips and day trips. Our remote liveaboard trips often book up a year in advance, while our day trip options can be had on short notice. Australia is a land like no other, with spectacular landscapes and rich ancient culture. It’s the earth’s sixth-largest country in land area and is the only nation to govern an entire continent. We have recently expanded our offerings in Australia so it is always a good idea to contact us if you are planning a trip.

To fish for The Big Three — bonefish, tarpon, and permit — along with barracuda, sharks, mutton snapper, mangrove snapper and jack crevalle anglers heading to the Bahamas want to plan well in advance. However, with our industry-leading network of Bahamas lodges and guides, we can often arrange last-minute trips. Experienced Bahamas anglers book their trips well over ten to twelve months in advance to ensure they get first pick of guides and lodges.

Belize has a special place here at Yellow Dog—our first offerings were in Belize twenty years ago. It is still one of our most popular destinations and if you’re thinking of booking or are set on booking a trip to Belize, it is best to reserve your spot six to twelve months in advance. That being said, always be sure to stay abreast with our Travel News and Updates page for all of the latest trip specials, cancelations, and fishing updates.

Christmas Island
As people want to escape winter for warmer weather, January and March are considered the peak season and primetime at Christmas Island. Book nine to twelve months in advance to make sure you can escape the cold! There is only one flight a week, so anglers are committed to one week. It is important to note that Christmas Island is definitely not another Tahiti or Hawaii where you can go to relax and have nothing to worry about. It has few visitors, and they have to be prepared to “rough it.” That said, there aren’t many countries where the people are friendlier.

Cook Islands
The fact that non-stop flights run from Los Angeles to Rarotonga make this destination very easy to get to from the United States and is home to some great fishing, which means you can be sipping that cold drink out of a coconut much sooner than you think. Because of this ease of travel and a small number of guides on the island, anglers desiring to fish here should book as soon as they know they are making a trip.

Costa Rica
Even though it’s entirely possible to plan a trip last minute to Costa Rica, we suggest booking eight months to a year out for our bluewater lodges. The country’s waters are healthy and full of fish, the beauty is staggering, and the sluggish pace of life seductive. Our jungle locations in Costa Rica are ideal for anglers and non-anglers.

Cuba remains relatively mysterious to many anglers. The fishing can be excellent and is relatively untouched and diverse. That said, a trip to Cuba is also about visiting the country and seeing a destination that in many ways has not really changed much since the late 1950s. Trips to Cuba have a minimum of three-day packages and anglers should book a trip at an absolute minimum of six months in advance.


Dubai is a destination that is rapidly growing in popularity. With only one outfitter in Dubai, space fills up quickly. A fly fishing trip in Dubai is a pleasant add-on to any trip to the Seychelles, as many flights to the Seychelles travel through Dubai. Book ten months to a year out to ensure you have a spot if you want to take a Dubai fly fishing trip.

Maybe the most famous destination for bluewater sportfishing, Guatemala is in high demand. With numbers like “85 sailfish released in a single day” and “35 on the fly in one day,” it’s hard for any other region in the world to compete with this year-round bite. In addition to the great sailfishing, the area is also home to impressive numbers of blue, black, and striped marlin, saltwater Dorado, roosterfish, tuna, and more. Anglers should book eight months to a year in advance.

From lodge-based operations on Roatan and Guanaja to off-the-grid heli-salt options at the Faraway Cayes, Honduras has some terrific saltwater fly fishing. Last-minute trips can happen, but, for the best experience possible and to secure your first choice of dates it’s recommended to book six to twelve months.

Perhaps our most diverse saltwater destination, Mexico serves up opportunities to fish for the Big Three—permit, bonefish, and tarpon—and exciting beach-style sight-fishing for roosterfish. We offer a large variety of options across all budgets and can often accommodate last-minute trips in Mexico. But, if you have your heart set on a certain lodge or guide, be sure to book six to twelve months out to ensure you have the first pick of dates and lodges.

Seychelles and St. Brandon’s Atoll
Home to amazing fly fishing for Giant Trevally, plentiful atolls for Indo-Pacific permit, and expansive flats home to large bonefish. The fly fishing in the Seychelles and at St. Brandon’s should be on any serious anglers list. Strict fishing regulations limit the number of anglers—this means excellent fishing but finding open space can be somewhat tricky. Be sure to book a year to two years in advance.

Booking trips six to twelve months in advance is not uncommon, and most anglers book the same dates the following year after their current fishing trip. The season is year-round so we always recommend going when you can. If you have a two-week window to work with, then this will create more opportunities and you won’t lose your dates to someone else

Other Things to Consider

Many lodges have the first right of refusal. This means the lodge gives anglers—usually return guests or anglers just wrapping-up a trip—the option to book the same dates the following year. Even if the lodge doesn’t have open space at the time you want, you can be placed on a waitlist and we will notify you immediately when the space becomes available.

For saltwater trips in the northern hemisphere, consider traveling in fall or summer. It might be nice to get away from a snowy winter or when the kids are out of school during spring break, but, because other people want to travel then as well doesn’t always mean the fishing is best—it just means availability may be tighter. Not sure if the fishing will be worth it? Contact us and talk to any of our experts.

Planning a trip should be part of the fun—and be sure to give yourself ample time to plan by booking well enough in advance to get your first choice of dates and guides.