Many of us have been lucky enough to visit and fish the wonderful state known as Montana. Fewer of us have been blessed and gotten to live in Trout Mecca, and fewer still have been touched by the lord and allowed to guide through the bountiful rivers and streams housing some world class fisheries.
J.D of Wild Trout Outfitters has been guiding across the South West portion of the Treasure State since 1984. J.D. runs his service in one of my favorite areas of the country, Big Sky, Montana. Situated on the picturesque Gallatin River, which we all know at least from “A River Runs Through It”, Wild Trout Outfitters has easy access to numerous noteworthy waters. J.D. described his location as the “50 yard line of the Super Bowl of Fly Fishing” and its true you can go in any direction and have access to trips many anglers would envy.
One of the most famous places J.D. offers guiding is throughout our nation’s first national park, Yellowstone. Covering over 3,000 square miles the park offers some top notch action for fly fisherman as well as amazing sights. J.D. took a little time out of his day to answer some questions and talk fishing in “The Last Great Place”.
Justin: Why did you take to being a guide?
JD: Long answer, I grew up in SW Montana fish with my dad. I did a lot of fly fishing with friends and neighbors.After high school I worked construction and other various job’s from 1980-1984. A friend of mine started guiding for another guide service (East Slope Anglers) . He would come by my job site and elaborate on his day guiding.This got me thinking about why I disliked my profession in construction. At the same time another friend (Craig Clevidence) was starting the fishing program at Lone Mountain Ranch.With a little convincing I started my guiding career in the spring of 1984.
Short answer, It is more fun than working Construction. I love the outdoors and I love to fish and I enjoy seeing people catch fish on a fly rod.
Justin: What should someone who hasn’t fished in Yellowstone expect from a trip with you?
JD: Yellowstone National Park has beautiful rivers that have a tremendous amount of variety, offering a fly fisherman a wide array of choices in where and how to fish. The roads often roughly parallel many of the best fishing rivers in Yellowstone, access is relatively easy (although short hikes will often be essential). We also offer a variety of fishing trips in Yellowstone which involves lots of stamina and the ability to cover up to 15 miles in one day.
Justin: Within Yellowstone, where would you suggest a DIY angler focus their attention?
JD: The problem with Yellowstone Park and fishing is that there are too many options available. The do it your self-er will be in paradise. Everywhere you look there is places to fish. Inside of Yellowstone or outside of Yellowstone Park there are places to fish. Literally a lifetime of fishing within Yellowstone Park and 100 mile radius.
Justin: It’s your day off, what are you doing?
JD: A true day off would be taking my dog and may be my wife fishing.
Justin: Where is your favorite place to fish?
JD: Depending on the time of year I have many favorite places to fish. The Gallatin River is our home River in Big Sky. The natural answer is the best fishing closest to home which for me is the Gallatin.
Justin: Every anglers has one, what is your superstition or good luck charm?
JD: Barbless hooks and non-toxic shot.
Justin: What’s the best way to contact and book a trip with Wild Trout Outfitters?
JD: The best way to book a trip with Wild Trout Outfitters is by phone. By talking directly to the client I can get a sense for what type of trip they would enjoy most. I can answer all their questions about our area and more importantly our guide service. At the time of the booking I can get all the information needed to make all the details come together seamlessly.
Justin: Is there anything else you want readers to know about your service?
JD: All guide services are not the same. Spend some time and look for a brick and mortar fly shop and guide service. Preferably one that only caters to fishing year-round that doesn’t come off as a clothing store or gift shop.
You can contact Wild Trout Outfitters by clicking the links below or calling the shop at (406)995-2975
Since this is a fly tying blog here are a few images of flies sent to me by JD. JD enjoys tying and his favorite flies are nymphs. These flies no doubt are some choice guide flies for anyone in South-West Montana.