Montana Trout Unlimited poster by Monte Dolak
Running a small retail shop requires making numerous decisions every day…What should our hours be? Should we expand our floorspace? Do we need to hire more help? But one of the toughest decisions we make is whether to donate to a cause. There are a ton of worthy causes, organizations, and people in need of cash; the problem, at least from a retailers viewpoint, is where to draw the line? If we donated to everyone who asked us to, we would be out of business…there are days when up to four different groups have asked for a donation to their cause. We really have no policy on donations…so typically what happens is someone walks into our shop and if they catch us on a good day, in the right mood and at the right time, they will most likely walk out the door with something….if they catch us on a bad day….well, you get the picture. It can be a bit overwhelming. This being said, it doesn’t matter what mood we are in when it comes to donating to Trout Unlimited. This organization is the backbone of healthy trout and that, frankly, is the foundation of our business.
Missoula’s West Slope chapter of Trout Unlimited did an outstanding job Saturday night putting on its annual banquet in Missoula. The tables at the Hilton were full and folks were opening up their wallets…..maybe the economy is improving?? Who knows? TU folks behind the scenes were definitely pleased, not only with the large turnout, but also with the amount of money many of the donated items were selling for. Blackfoot River Outfitters has always supported our local Trout Unlimited chapter and will continue to do so in the future. We applaud their endeavors in promoting clean water and healthy trout throughout western Montana. Giving away endless merchandise to a litany of causes can be frustrating from a business owner’s perspective, but Trout Unlimited – we got your back. Thanks for all your hard work!!
It came a day late but winter is again upon us…
Come join us this Saturday at the Missoula Hilton Garden Inn for the West Slope Chapter Trout Unlimited banquet at 6:00 p.m. There will be live and silent auctions and great food and drink. We have tickets available at the shop for $50 a person (cash or check.) Please forgive our table if we get a little rowdy… we have babysitters and drink tickets.
From Grab and Grin to Grin and Bear It
If a fisherman casts a fly and no fish is there to eat it… is it steelheading? I recently took a break from the demanding world of fly shop management to take a trip to the Oregon coast with some friends. Friends with beach houses on the coast of Oregon are good to have, so I won’t be naming any rivers. However, the rivers we fished should be full of unmolested fish. Or maybe not. That is one of the things about steelheading unknown waters. Maybe we are swinging flies into a watery void. If we are in Montana and we aren’t hooking up, then it is time to switch tactics. The fish are there, so we just need to get our program in order. In our quest for steelhead, we weren’t even sure if we were in the right run on the right river at the right time of year. Who knows? We were blanked all around, except for a few small trout. Flailing about with the two-handed rod only added to my humiliation. Take that, trout guys.
Here is our pick for the most “exciting, I wanna do that” video of the night-
A man by the name of Bishop Pope once said: “To teach simply ,you must understand deeply.” A worthy goal for all fly-fisherman and one I believe the featured author has achieved in one of his latter books.
In his book ” Good Flies…” John Gierach describes to the aspiring and veteran fly tier , the origins, essence and evolution of many of our favorite flies and why they have stood the test of time.
The author’s deep understanding of tying and fishing is evident and thoroughly instructional. Balancing that with his consistently entertaining poke at those of us who might take tying a perfect replication of insects too seriously ,you have… “Good Flies”… Good Stuff!
I started fly fishing over 25 years ago in my boyfriends old neoprene waders – huge, leaky, bit smelly and from the second I put them on I couldn’t wait until I could take them off. Waders have certainly traveled an evolutionary path over the years – culminating in Simms $700.00 “state of the art” man wader with accommodating fly zipper. Now don’t get me wrong, but how about showing a little love toward the ladies wader?
Throughout my fly fishing years, I have experimented with and owned many different types of waders – neoprene boot foots (warm, but almost always too big and incredibly difficult to walk any distance in), neoprene stocking foots (one “word” – blecht!) , chest waders – both neoprene and Gore-Tex (always too big in either the feet or length or both)….I even tried “hippers” once - I know…..Right? Finally Simms produced waist waders – I LOVED these…the feet fit perfect and since I never waded up to my chest (really, who does that???) they were perfect. What’s not to love about a wader that fit like almost like my comfy jeans while making much easier to pee outside too (that’s a whole other post)? After a few years of wear, my “waisties” finally started leaking and I think my “waist” also might have expanded a bit (shame they don’t make ‘em with that “room to grow” system that are in my kid’s pants). I needed new ones, but Simms stopped making the damn things……Seriously?
In the approximately five years since the demise of my beloved waders I still haven’t really found a pair that I cherished like those. I have a new pair of Simms womens G-3 waders with only a few days on them so the jury is still out. I must express my disapointment that Simms again builds a “waistie” (the G-3 Guide Pant), but they don’t have a woman’s taper and unfortunately their sizing continues to match the increasing size of the average American male’s waist line. I just wait for the powers that be in the wader world to come up with a GREAT pair of women’s waders. Real fishing women don’t want them pink, or lavender - no need for frilly bows or fancy webbing details – just a nice pair that fit properly and keep me dry….oh, and maybe make it easier for us to pee in the woods? Just sayin…..
BRO is pleased to announce that were offering our FREE fly fishing classes again for 2012. With all the news that folks are spending less and less time outside, we feel this is a great way to generate renewed interest in the sport of fly fishing. Whether you’ve never cast a fly rod or maybe ventured out a couple of times in the past few years, the Orvis Fly Fishing classes are geared toward every skill level and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon – better than the mall right? Right?
There’s no need to bring anything but a good attitude and lots of patience…..remember – it’s fly fishing!! In the 101 class we’ll focus on rigging and casting – simple basics to get you that much closer to becoming a self sufficient and successful angler. We are hoping to start these classes in May and run them through July. We will post dates as soon as we know them. To find out more, give us a ring or better yet, stop in…….keeps us from working! See ya on the water.
MISSOURI RIVER: The Mo has been fishing exceptional this winter! We were over there last week and killed it – taking fish on nymphs, streamers and even dries. Scuds rule here… Czech nymphs, hot bead czechs, pink scuds, orange scuds,lalalala… you might also try a worm or zebra midge if you become bored with the scud. Streamer swinging has produced a ton of fish as well – skinny olive bunnies are as good a bet as anything. Good luck! Questions about an upcoming trip or fishing in Western Montana? Call us at our new fly shop in Missoula at 406-542-7411 (open Monday-Saturday 9-5)
Have you been considering that 9’6wt Orvis Helios rod? Ya, the one you didn’t get for Christmas… the one you imagine yourself slapping streamers against the bank on the Blackfoot this spring with.
Yep, then reality steps in. There is just no justifying dropping that load of cash when your other 4 six weights leaning up in the closet are weighing heavier on your conscience than they ever did in your hand. They are nice… but not Helios nice.
Problem solved – wipe the dust off those other sticks, clean ‘em up a bit and bring them down to the BRO shop to be included in the Missoula’s first annual Fly Fishing Gear Swap. We sell the old gear, you get in-store credit for the new gear. If your gear doesn’t sell at the swap we’ll sell for you on ebay for the same deal… Where is the red button? “That was Easy!”
Mark your calendar for March 10thand bust out all that gear you no longer respect – !!