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Letter from the Editor,
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the scene here in Montana, you already know the story. Pick a river, and chances
are good it’s under “Hoot Owl” restrictions. Winter’s low snowfall, coupled with the warmest and driest June
on record have many of the state’s watersheds running about half of normal. Yes, there’s still fishing to be had in
this great state of ours; you just have to know where to find it. Although not entirely by design, this issue is a bit
leaner than some we’ve run in the past. That almost seems fitting given our thin water situations. Despite being
a bit on the thin side, I hope you’ll agree there’s good content here and sitting down with this issue is well worth
George Kalantzes, whose work graced our cover last issue, starts things off with his photo essay, “Chasing Tugs &
Slinging Bugs.” If you’re not familiar with George’s work and his style, you’ll be impress to know that many of his
images are self-portraits. Yes, that’s him casting in some of those photos. As another visual treat in this issue, I’m
excited to share an interview with A.D. Maddox, an artist whose work I’ve admired for years and feel privileged
to have gotten to know. A.D. was also kind enough to provide this issue’s cover image.
For those of you looking to travel, Jon Covich takes us abroad to explore new fishing possibilities in Destination:
Cuba. Jon is very knowledgeable about the area and how to fish it, and his ability to share those things through
his words and photography is second to none.
For those looking to explore something closer to home, self-proclaimed beer geek and fly-fisherwoman Jesse
Bussard combines her love of those two worlds in “A Trout Bum’s Guide to Montana’s Craft Beer,” a road map, if
you will, of a select group of fly-fishing centric breweries and their offerings.
Sandy Pittendrigh joins us once again with “Halford’s Ghost,” a story he wrote back in the early 90’s about fishing
with Greg Lemond and his wife, and how an unlikely fly pattern saved the trip. And speaking of saving a trip,
T.E. Lewis has some valuable advice from his book “Float Smart,” for those of you new to pontoon boating.
Lean as it is, I hope you enjoy the issue we’ve prepared for you. And if you find something here you really enjoy,
please take a few moments to contact the contributors and let know. I couldn’t do it without them.
Montana Fly Fishing Magazine
is created by Blackmore Media,
Jesse Bussard, Jon Covich,
James Hays, George Kalantzes,
We accept unique photography and
writing submissions on the subject of
fly fishing in the state of Montana.
For submission-guidelines, please visit:
If you’re interested in advertising with
Montana Fly Fishing Magazine, please contact
P.O. Box 5346
Bozeman, MT 59717
ph: (406) 580-6379
Copyright © Ehren Wells 2012-2015. All Rights Reserved.
All rights to text and images included in this online magazine
remain with their respective owners and are being displayed
with the owners’ consent.
Fly Fishing MAGAZINE
Let Float Smart Be Your Guide
-T. E. Lewis
Volume 4 Issue 3 Summer 2015
A Trout Bum’s Guide to Montana’s Craft
Let Chasing Float Tugs Smart & Be Slinging Your Guide Bugs
-T. -Photography E. Lewis by George Kalantzes
A Artist Trout Spotlight: Bum’s Guide A.D. Maddox to Montana’s Craft
Beers -Ehren Wells
A Trout Bum’s Guide to Montana’s Craft Beer
-Written by Sandy Pittendrigh
Illustrated by James Hays
Let Float Smart Be Your Guide
-T. E. Lewis
Cover Image: “Yellowstone Cutty” by A.D. Maddox This page: Ehren Wells
Photography by George Kalantzes
“Rise Series #8”
Interview by Ehren Wells
A.D. Maddox is a self-taught painter with a style all her own. Her work
can be found in fly shops and fly-fishing literature throughout the world. In
addition to being this issue’s cover artist, A.D. agreed to share a few of her
images and to answer a few questions, offering a glimpse into the life of one of
the world’s leading fly-fishing artists.
How did you get into painting, and when did you decide to pursue it as
I’ve always been painting for as
long as I can remember. The
earliest memory was when I was 4.
I came from a very artistic family
and my mother encouraged all
facets of creativity. The easiest for
me was painting and the most fun
as it was very messy. :)
It seems to me that the paintings
you’re most known for are
vibrant, close-up surface-action
scenes of trout feeding or in the
midst of a fight. What motivated
you to focus on that perspective,
and how would you say you
became such a master of it?
A.D. Maddox in her studio working on
“Yellowstone Cutty,” also this issue’s cover.
Photo: Brandon Jackson
Great question! I don’t like painting the traditional profile shots. They’ve
been done. I like big challenges and capturing the trout eye-level in the
water is dynamic. It’s a very difficult photograph to take and some do it
quite well. I had to stage many of my shots to capture the Rise Series. Now
I’m shooting eye-level photos and adding the water with my imagination
so the pieces are technical in design as well as painting the effects of the
water with the trout.
How kind of you to call me a master at what I do but the only way I’ve
gotten where I am is practice and lots of it. It takes a certain amount of
determination to hone these pieces through their various ugly stages until
finally they’re right where I want them to be. I don’t stop on a piece until it’s
“Bend in the Stone”
“Not Over Yet”
I see on your website that you also like to change focus and paint flies or
place the fisherman in the scene. What is your process as you decide to
paint a particular fish or scene?
It’s all about what I feel like painting and what visuals I have. I paint in
batches so I’ll do a good number of flies then on to the technical trout in
the water... then breathe with some trout skins. So I pace myself. I like to
have a variety of pieces for my clients.
“Red Hothead Copper I”
Tell me a little about how living in Nashville and Jackson, Wyoming
–two places that to me seem almost complete opposites of each other—
and how your experiences in those places have influenced your work.
I reached a point in my life where I wanted to live in the chaos of a city
and around lots of people. I find the energy exhilarating! So it’s affected
my work in that I produce more because there’s so much to do. You know
the old adage... if you want something done... give it to a busy person. I
miss Jackson as it was the key influence in what I chose to paint and the
people there are amazing but there’s an airport right down the road, and I
use it quite often.
“Threading the One”
What is “bug-gut” art, and how did you come up with that idea?
I felt guilty that I was riding my motorcycle all the time and not producing,
so I came up with this wicked idea that I could smash bugs and make art
while I was playing on the bike. “Smash the Hatch” was the series and it
created quite a scene. I thought what I was doing was hilarious! People who
know me just say “she’s doing another AD.”
Bug-gut art is an extreme example, but how often do you use
unconventional methods in your paintings?
Yes I think Bug-Art was extreme but genius! I never took art classes
outside of high school so I had to create my own painting tech. I don’t
really have another method to compare. I would say it’s conventional in
that I put the hours in with a brush and mix my own paints. But I might
have some new wild pieces up my sleeve for later.
Close-up photo of “Holy Hatch Hit,” seen on the right.
You seem like a busy person. In addition to painting and fulfilling your
corporate agreements, you also participate in fundraisers, maintain a
website and a number of social media accounts, where you invite fans to
inspire you with photos of their fly-fishing experiences. How important
is social media to your work as a fly-fishing artist, and how has it
influenced what you do?
Social media is PR. I have a responsibility to let my fans know what I’m
doing and creating. All this interaction with my public drives me to create
faster. I’m so grateful to be connected with people who love my work...
It’s really exciting! I also have a team of wonderful people that help me in
various areas so I can stay in touch with everyone, paint and fly to events.
Do you ever get “painter’s block?”
Never. I’m very lucky in that regard. There’s a ritual I do to set-up the easel
space then it’s go time!
What is your favorite painting you’ve done?
Oh, that’s a touchy one! My favorites rotate. It’s usually the one I just signed
on the easel. And in this case it’s “Yellowstone Cutty!”
Is there anything you’ve been dying to paint but haven’t gotten around
Yes! A Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon!!!
What’s next for you as a painter? Do you have any special projects you’re
working on, or any events coming up where people can view your work?
Yes! I will be at iCast in Orlando mid July, Jackson Hole One Fly this Fall,
Sundance’s Fly Fishing Festival in Sept. and Harpeth River Watershed
Association’s River Swing October 3rd here in Nashville... I’ll have a bass
piece for auction.
To view more of A.D.’s fine art, visit her website: admaddox.com
“Rise Series #10”
Casting for Recovery presents the 3rd Annual
an exclusive single-fly event
on the legendary Bitterroot River
to benefit women with breast cancer.
in Hamilton, Montana
October 2nd Kick-Off Party 6-9pm
Live music and local brew at Pineview Lodge | tickets $40 |
October 3rd Single-Fly Event
& Celebration Dinner
Win prizes, enjoy an exclusive dinner and silent auction
| dinner tickets $100 |
Enjoy a full-day of guided fishing on the Bitterroot River
| fly fishing entry $1000 | entry includes both Friday and Saturday events
For tickets and details visit castoneforhope.org
Casting for Recovery is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Event proceeds benefit CfR's free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer.
Words and photos by Jon Covich
It’s mid-February, and a trout
angler living near the banks of the
Yellowstone River looks out his
window to watch the ice continue to
build on the riverbank. In Washington,
a Spey fisherman has just spent another
rainy day searching for steelhead on the
Olympic Peninsula. And in Colorado, a
fish bum glances wistfully at the fly rods
leaning in the corner of his house as he
leaves for a day of skiing.
For hardcore flyfish-aholics, winter in
the American West can seem neverending.
There is a physical need among
these anglers to feel a rod bend, to
watch a fly line unfurl over flat water, or
to watch a fish sip emerging midges in a
When fly fishing burgeoned into an
important American pastime, the
impatience of anglers waiting for the
spring thaw created much of today’s
important fishing travel market. Many
fly anglers now escape winter on the
saltwater flats of Christmas Island,
Mexico, or the Bahamas, or venture to
the Southern Hemisphere to pursue
trout in the opposing summer.
New destinations seem to pop up every couple of years. Not that long
ago the Seychelles became a hot travel spot. And new areas in Mexico
and Central America each year are explored and then visited by groups
of traveling anglers. But for American fly anglers in the know, an island
famous for cigars and mojitos has been in the back of their minds. They
have heard the stories, and even seen articles where lucky travelers talked
about this having some of the best saltwater fishing on the planet. Among
friends they wondered, “when are we going to get to go to Cuba?!”
The truth is, much of the world has been able to fish Cuba. With the
breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, Cuba’s main source of
trade and money dried up. The Cuban government actively sought out
countries willing to come to Cuba to invest, and with those investments
came European and Canadian tourists. Avalon Cuban Fishing Centers
opened as a joint venture with the Cuban government in the mid nineties,
in the southern archipelago of islands known as The Queen’s Gardens
(Jardines de la Reina). Since then, Avalon has opened three other areas for
fishing. They have also put in place some 6 luxury yachts that are used as
accommodations for groups of anglers, scuba divers, and eco-tourists.
Most people know that the United States has had a fifty year long trade
embargo with Cuba. Although not technically illegal for US citizens to
travel to Cuba, the embargo made it difficult, as spending money in Cuba
or with Cuban companies violated the law. Some Americans were willing
to risk it and travel under the radar, but most people stayed home to dream
of the day when things changed. Change seems to be in the air. Under
the Obama administration, groups have been allowed to travel to Cuba
under person-to-person licenses, as a way of fostering understanding
between the American and Cuban people. Only a few months ago, the
president announced plans to normalize relations with Cuba. That simple
announcement has American anglers drooling and lining up to book trips
to this long-forbidden island.
Great permit and bonefishing exist at Cayo Cruz year round.
Recognized as one of the best preserved marine environments on planet
Earth, JDR enjoys great bonefishing, shots at the elusive permit, and both
resident and migratory tarpon.
As mentioned previously, Avalon controls nearly all the fly fishing
destinations in Cuba. Anglers currently have four different areas where
they can choose to fish, each being distinctly different in habitat and
offerings. Jardines de la Reina is the most famous, and for good reason.
Strictly controlled, this 140-mile-long archipelago is off limits to all but a
few catch-and-release anglers, scuba divers, and eco tourists. Recognized
as one of the best preserved marine environments on planet Earth, JDR
enjoys great bonefishing, shots at the elusive permit, and both resident
and migratory tarpon.
Island of the Youths (Isla de la Juventud) is the largest of the nearly 4000
islands around the Cuban mainland, well known for its phenomenal
tarpon fishing. Here, guests choose either land-based accommodations
or stay on live-aboard boats. To the east of Island of the Youths is Cayo
Largo. A resort island, popular with sun seeking tourists the world over,
visiting anglers typically stay in an all-inclusive resort.
With many wadable flats, bonefishing here is fantastic. But most famous
are the many Permit that feed in the company of Rays, and that are very
susceptible to a well-presented fly. Avalon’s only operation on Cuba’s north
coast is Cayo Cruz. Until this year guests only stayed on-shore, but this
year have the option for a live aboard yacht during the height of the Tarpon
migration. Cayo Cruz borders the pathway of the Bahamas Channel, and
big Tarpon are available during the Spring and Summer. Great permit and
bonefishing exist at Cayo Cruz year-round.
Of course, there is more to Cuba than just the opportunity at worldclass
fly fishing. Life in Cuba is a fascinating, eye-opening experience for
American travelers. Almost everyone has seen photos of Havana, a once
majestic city now seemingly crumbling under the weight of Communism.
Cubans are poor by almost any standard, making only $10-$20 a month
in wages. Small luxuries are difficult to come by, and people are incredibly
inventive in finding ways to make do with what they have. But Americans
are always surprised by how educated most Cubans are and by how proud
they are of their country and of the revolution. They are, however, eager
for change, and ever hopeful. Hopeful that a renewed relationship with
the United States, and an influx of American tourists will make their lives
Americans could do well to learn from the Cuban people. Cubans are
incredibly social, and spend much of their time with family and friends,
socializing, and listening to or making music. Life in Cuba is lived out of
doors, away from computer screens and the internet. A glimpse of this life
makes us as Americans more humble, more hopeful, and more grateful.
For more information on Avalon Cuban Fishing Centers, visit
Jon Covich has been going to Cuba since the late 1990’s,
and has recently started his own travel business aimed at
bringing American anglers to Cuba. Check out his website
at www.cubafishingoutfitters.com or contact him at
A Trout Bum’s Guide to
Montana Craft Beer
By Jesse Bussard
Montana is known to many as a fly-fishing Mecca. World-class blueribbon
trout streams pepper the state and we have some of the best
stream access laws in the country. It’s no wonder why so many anglers,
including myself choose to put our roots down here.
Similarly, Big Sky Country is quick becoming a premiere destination for
quality craft beer. With 58 breweries currently in operation across the
state and another 5 in planning, Montana’s craft beer culture is strong
and growing. The Montana Brewers Association estimates the state’s
craft breweries produce 140,000 barrels or 4.3 million gallons of beer
annually and generate nearly $36 million in state revenue.
Montana fly fishermen have caught on to these facts and, like fish to
water, are coming to appreciate the local libations brewers are offering
up. Whether its beers on the boat, a cold drink after a long hike to fish
a backcountry lake, or a stop at the taproom on the way home from the
river, Montana craft beer is accessible, portable, and readily available to
anglers in a variety of canned, bottled, and refillable forms.
Given my background as a homebrewer, beer geek, and aspiring trout
bum, Montana Fly Fishing Magazine asked me to offer up some rivercraft
brewery pairings to help make the beer decision-making process a
little easier. While this list is far from complete, what follows is an eastto-west
rundown of four well-known Montana rivers and nearby craft
breweries which offer up beer options to please everyone from craft beer
newbies to the most discerning of beer connoisseurs.
The Montana Brewery Association Members
Clark Fork River
x Granite Peak
This image and subsequent map images courtesy
of Montana Brewer’s Association
Approximately 60 miles southwest
of the confluence of the Bighorn and
Yellowstone Rivers is Billings, Montana,
the closest major urban hub and beer
scene. This city which is home to the
state’s first brewpub (in 1994) is no
stranger to craft beer and now boasts
seven breweries with options to fit
variety of beer drinker preferences.
First up on the list of recommended
stops is Canyon Creek Brewing
Company (3060 Gabel Road), the
newest brewery on the block of Billings’
beer scene. Started by long-time
homebrewer turned pro, Ron Kalvig, in
the fall of 2013, this brewery sits on the
west end of town in what is considered
Billings’ commercial center. Canyon
Creek’s name is derived from a creek
which runs through the town and one
which Kalvig says he has many fond
memories of floating as a teenager.
Canyon Creek maintains a complement
of 10 to 12 beers on tap at all times.
While beer is currently only available
on-tap, a stainless steel insulated
Celebrate your catch of the
day with this American-style
wheat beer. Without the
signature banana and clove
flavors of its German cousin,
this beer is easy-drinking,
light, refreshing, and not too
C4 IPA, 6.00% ABV
For those hot days, the
citrusy C4 IPA can hit the
spot. Featuring a strong
grapefruit and orange
aroma, this IPA’s cistrusy
flavor blends well with the
balanced malt profile. The
hop bill includes Cascade,
Centennial, Columbus, and
Chinook hops for aroma and
bittering, as well as a final dry
hop addition of Cascade after
growler filled with your choice of tasty beverage can make a great
addition to any Bighorn float. Most recently, Canyon Creek took home
three national awards in the North American Beer Awards held annually
in Idaho – Gold for their “MinPin Pils” pilsner, Gold for the “Copper “
Scotch-Style Heavy, and a Silver medal for “Rabbit Head Red” Irish-Style
Red Ale – proving their beers are as blue ribbon worthy as the Bighorn
Opened in July of 2007, Carter’s
Brewing (2526 Montana Avenue-B)
http://cartersbrewing.com/) is located
on historic Montana Avenue sitting
along the railroad tracks which pass
through downtown Billings. The
brewery is named after owner and
head brewer, Michael Ulrich’s first son,
Carter James, and operates on a 7-barrel
brew system pieced together from old dairy tankage and other modern
Given their proximity to the train tracks, Carter’s beers and décor feature
a train theme. Committed to diversity, this brewery likely boasts one of
the largest beer portfolios in Montana maintaining a dedicated taps for its
eight flagship beers and an additional eight taps for seasonal and special
edition brews throughout the year. Beer is available on-tap in the brewery
taproom and at several locations around Billings. Carter’s focus on variety
and quality lends itself well to more adventurous craft beer drinkers.
Coldwater Kolsch, 5% ABV
This German style blond ale brewed with wheat and barley malts
and lightly hopped for a clean crisp finish. This beer is a refreshing
and flavorful “session-style” ale perfect for summer.
DeRailed IPA – 6.5% ABV
As Carter’s best-selling beer, this beer’s massive hop profile and
rich English malt profile make it a very balanced and drinkable
Located just a stone’s throw up
Montana Avenue from the last brewery
is Überbrew (2305 Montana Avenue,
uberbrewmt.com). The brewery’s
name is derived from owners Mark
Hastings and Jason Shroyer’s desire
to offer more than just a cold pint to
its patrons. Instead, as the word ‘uber’
implies, Überbrew offers up a complete
package experience focused on quality
beer and food pairings, a relaxing
atmosphere, and music from local
Operating a 10-barrel brewhouse,
Überbrew ‘s beer portfolio is diverse
featuring options for a spectrum
of beer drinkers from German
styles to ultra-hopped IPAs. Beer is
available on-site at the brewpub and
in many locations across the state.
For those looking for portability and
convenience, Überbrew also sells its
signature flagship brew, White Noise
Hefeweizen in bottled 6-packs.
White Noise Hefeweizen, 5.7%
Stop by the local bottle shop on
the way to the river for a 6-pack
of bottles of this medium-bodied
brewed with German malt and
hops. This moderately sweet
and lightly bitter wheat beer
has flavor to please with a light
aroma of wheat, banana, fruit,
and toasted grains.
Golden Ticket, 5.04%
An English-style summer
ale, this beer is brewed with
English malts and German and
American hops. With a crisp hop
profile and light, sweet malts this
pale golden ale is the “ticket to
Special thanks to the
Association for their
help in gathering the
for the making of this
For those planning a trip to fish this
Montana river favorite, two options exist
for local craft beer stops, the state capital
of Helena and Great Falls. Currently two
breweries operate in Helena and a third
is set to open later this year. Great Falls
is home to three operating breweries and
is also home to Montana’s only malting
company which supplies many of the state’s
Started by three avid homebrewers in late
1998, Blackfoot River Brewing (66 South
Park Avenue, blackfootriverbrewing.com)
calls downtown Helena home. Starting with
a 7-barrel brew system, the brewery has
since expanded production since moving to
its new location in 2008. It now operates on
a 15-barrel Bavarian brew system producing
a unique variety of styles.
On average, Blackfoot River releases a new beer every two weeks and is
the largest brewery in Montana to not filter its beer, a practice believed
to add body and flavor to the drink.
In addition to their signature beers,
Blackfoot River also runs an active
barrel-aging program producing
specialty beers such as sour ales. Beer
is available on draught-only in the
taproom and in various locations
Photo courtesy of Blackfoot River Brewing
Singlemalt IPA,6.9% ABV
This beer is brewed from 100% Crisp Maris Otter floor-malted barley, an English
malt, making for malt-rich, medium-bodied drinking experience. Generous
hopping with Northwest grown hops such as Simcoe and Cascade impart a
balanced hop flavor and aroma.
Norfolk Organic Porter, 7.2% ABV
For those cooler days on the river, consider pouring yourself a pint of this certified
organic English-style brown porter. Brewed from certified organic malts and hops,
this dark, full-bodied beer has a rich, roasted coffee-like flavor.
Mighty Mo Brewing (412 Central Avenue,
http://mightymobrewing.com/) was the first
craft brewery to call Great Falls home. Opening
in December 2013, the brewery is located in the
middle of downtown Great Falls offering up a
line-up of high quality craft brews as well as great
food and live music.
With strong ties to fly fishing and the Missouri River, this brewery’s logo
sports a trout and many of the beer names include fishing slang. Five
standard beers reside on tap year-round, with a few seasonals being “caught
and released” throughout the year.
Rising Trout Pale Ale, 5.6% ABV
Reach for a Rising Trout after a long day on the river. This pale ale has a slightly
bready malt flavor and up front and finished with tropical fruit flavors thanks
to ample hopping with Cascade and Citra hops.
Lip Ripper IPA, 6.4% ABV
One of Mighty Mo’s flagship beers, this India Pale Ale is brewed with floormalted
barley for a clean malt backbone. It is “hop bursted” with seven
different hop varieties to impart big hop flavor and a citrusy, piney aroma.
Named after the formidable Rocky
Mountain Front Range, The Front Brewing
Company is located in Great Falls. The
tasting room operates out of The Front
Public House which doubles as a restaurant.
The outdoors-theme continues through into
their beers with names like River Water,
Keep Cool, Mountain Man, and Day Hike.
In addition to their love for nature, The Front partners with distributors
to give five cents back (http://5centsback.org/) on the number of beer
cans sold to support local non-profits supporting outdoors recreation and
The Front cans three of
its flagship beers - an IPA,
Scotch Ale, and Blonde
Ale - using a unique
16-ounce can design
featuring a removable top
for easy intake. The cans
can be found for sale as
retailers across the state.
Growler fills are also
available on-site at the
Photo courtesy of The Front Brewing Company
Keep Cool Creek Blonde Ale, 5.4% ABV
This straw-colored ale is reminiscent of a cool mountain stream. Its smooth
malt background coupled with a delicate hop tinge delivers a light and
River Water IPA, 6.9% ABV
This beautiful deep golden orange unfiltered IPA was born for the river. The
moderate malt background and generous palate of seven different hop varieties
make this beer a medium-bodied, well-balanced worthy of any river outing.
On your way to the Madison, you will want to stock
up on cold beverages at one of the Gallatin Valley’s
local breweries. With one brewery in Belgrade and
another four in Bozeman, there are plenty of beer
options available. Another three breweries are slated
to open in Bozeman in the near future.
Located a short drive from its namesake
river in the small town of Belgrade,
Madison River Brewing Company
(20900 Frontage Road, Building B,
a common perspective found throughout
Montana’s beer scene-enjoying craft beer while recreating outdoors.
Starting in 2005, Madison River Brewing Company currently ranks fourth
in the state for beer production with goals for continued expansion.
With beers named after trout flies, this brewery focuses aggressively on
distributing their beers around Montana and surrounding states. You can
find their beer in 12-ounce bottled 6-packs and 22-ounce single bottles.
Growler fills are also available in the tasting room and the beer is found on
tap at many establishments around the state.
RECOMMENDED: Hopper Pale Ale, 6.0% ABV
This strong pale ale is brewed with four different barley malts and moderate
Horizon, Centennial, and Cascade hops. With a distinctive, citrus flavor and floral
aroma, this medium-bodied beer is smooth and easy on the finish.
Salmon Fly Honey Rye Ale, 5.6% ABV
A subtle spiciness of rye, moderate hop additions, and a mild sweetness derived
from local honey make this ale a pleasurable drinking beverage. It’s unique blending
of ingredients makes for a lighter bodied beer fitting for a gamut of beer tastes.
Found just off the N 7th Avenue exit of
I-90 that passes through Bozeman, 406
Brewing Company (101 East Oak Street,
been going against the grain of its other
brewery counterparts since 2011 offering
up an always rotating tap series of
experimental beers year round. An active
supporter of the community, 406 Brewing Company offers gallery space
to local artists and features live music. The breweries ties to the outdoors
are evident as well in their fundraising involvement with local hunting and
fishing conservation-focused groups.
Change is the name of the beer game at 406 Brewing Company who
brewed over 45 different beers in their first year of production with only
15 repeats. In addition to its beer list, the brewery has started offering a
regular lunch and dinner menu of pizzas, sandwiches, soups, and artisan
bread which incorporate the breweries beers and other local ingredients
when available. Beer is currently available on draught-only in the tasting
room. Both insulated stainless steel and glass growlers with the brewery
logo are available for purchase.
Continental Blonde, 5.3% ABV
Tasting more like a pilsner than a blonde, this clean, crisp ale is an easy-drinking
and refreshing choice to pack along on the boat.
Hop Punch, 6.5%
This India Pale Ale is continuously evolving and incorporates an impressive hop
bill, which at times can contain as many as 15 different hop varieties. Body is
light to medium and a biscuity malt flavor combines well with the distinctive hop
flavor and aroma burst.
Opened in 2001, Bozeman Brewing
Company (504 N. Broadway,
http://bozemanbrewing.com ) is Bozeman’s
oldest operating brewing establishment.
The brewery started with a 7-barrel
brewhouse and for the first five years of
operation solely brewed for production.
Since then, the brewery has expanded
production to 20-barrels and opened a
tasting room where patrons can get a pint and fill growlers at the source.
Bozeman Brewing Company’s flagship beers such as Hopzone IPA, Plum
Street Porter, Select Amber Ale, and Hefeweizen are available in 12-ounce
can 6-packs at retail locations around Bozeman. In addition, the brewery
recently started offering 12-ounce can 4-packs of seasonal beers. They plan
to release a different canned seasonal every two to three months.
Watershed Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV
The current seasonal available in 4-packs, this pale ale is golden-colored,
medium-bodied, and has a pleasant floral, fruity aroma thanks to Amarillo and
Citra hops. A portion of every keg sold benefits the Greater Gallatin Watershed
Council to help preserve clean water.
Hopzone IPA, 7.0% ABV
Fruity, bold, and strong describe this India Pale Ale which will please even the
most discerning hophead. Five malt and four hop varieties are combined to make
this complex, yet balanced brew.
The brewery options are plenty along the way
to the Bitterroot River which flows through
the scenic Bitterroot Valley. For those heading
southbound on Route 93, consider stopping
at one of the seven breweries (soon to be
eight) in Missoula, the famous city where
“a river runs through it.” Breweries in Lolo,
Stevensville, Hamilton, and Darby also offer
up another handful of choices.
Located in the heart of Missoula a stone throw
from the Clark Fork River, Kettlehouse Brewing
(602 Myrtle Street (Southside Location), http://
kettlehouse.com/ ) is a good place to stop on
a southbound trip to the Bitterroot. A second
Northside Location at 313 North 1st Street, West
also features a tasting room as well is home to
the breweries canning operation, which they
began in 2006.
Eight mainstay beers make up Kettlehouse’s
flagship line-up, along with a slew of seasonal
and specialty beers and like the brewery’s mission statement says, the
quality of their beers matches up with that of the Montana’s outdoor
experiences. You will find three of this brewery’s eight mainstay beers
(including the two listed below) in 16-ounce 4-packs and 8-packs, as well
as on tap at their two locations and other establishments across the state.
Double Haul IPA, 6.5% ABV
A Missoulan favorite, this India Pale Ale is well-balance and packs a hardy punch
of Cascade hops. In addition, this beer won a gold medal in its style category at
the 2014 World Beer Cup Awards.
Eddy Out Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV
Another flagship beer, this pale ale also carries a healthy dose of Cascade hops
aroma. Its flavor is characterized by a citrusy hoppiness which balances nicely
with the slight biscuit malt character.
Lolo Peak Brewing Company (601 Brewery Way,
lolopeakbrewery.com) opened its doors in in the
summer of 2014. Featuring a large customized
taproom, garden, community meeting roof and
inviting mezzanine, this “cathedral of beer” has
quick become a town hub. The brewery maintains
12 taps and pairs their beers with unique dishes.
While still quite the new kid on the block, this brewery has big plans
for the future, recently announcing plans for expansion to build an
8,000-square-foot, two-story brewpub and restaurant in Missoula.
Currently, Lolo Peak’s offers a diverse portfolio of beer styles available on
draught -only. It’s location on the way to the Bitterroot River make it a
great pit stop to fill up some growlers or grab a cold pint on the trip home.
RECOMMENDED: Buffalo Trout Golden, 5.3% ABV
This “session-style” golden ale is a light, crisp, and refreshing choice featuring low
hoppiness and muted citrusy undertones.
GSD Light Lager, 4.6% ABV
A clean, refreshing German-style lager, this beer is the perfect all-day drinking
beer for on the boat or doing weekend chores around the house.
In production since 1998, Bitter Root
Brewing (101 Marcus Street, www.
bitterrootbrewing.com) makes its home
in Hamilton, a town nestled in the heart
of Montana’s Bitterroot Valley and a short
walk from the Bitterroot River. Frequented
by many of the local fly fishing guides, this
brewery offers up tasty brews and food
made-from-scratch on a daily basis like
burgers and fish tacos.
Six beer styles are available year-round as well as a hodge-podge of
rotators. Outdoors adventure-friendly options for beer from, Bitter Root
Brewing include select beers in 12-ounce cans, 22-ounce bottles, as well as
the standard growler fills. Kegs can also be purchased.
Single Hop Northwest Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV
Known as a “SMASH” beer, this pale ale is brewed with only a single malt and
single hop variety. 100% Montana-grown and malted 2-row pale malt and
Columbus hops make for a light, easy drinking beer with plenty of grapefruit
and citrus aroma to please the palette.
Bitter Root Northwest IPA, 6.2% ABV
This IPA is loaded with Citra hops providing for a strong passion fruit flavor and
grapefruit aroma. A great malt profile balances out the brew, making this the
perfect beverage to kick back and relax after a day on the river.
For more information, visit:
Montana Brewers Association, http://montanabrewers.org/
Montana Beer Finder, http://www.montanabeerfinder.com/
Montana Beer: A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country by Ryan Newhouse
Available for purchase here: https://squareup.com/market/montana_beer_finder
Written by Sandy Pittendrigh
Illustrated by James Hays
There was a damp, early-morning fog at Ed and Helen
Nelson’s Spring Creek Ranch, a few miles south and across
the river from Armstrong Spring Creek, near Livingston,
Montana. This was to be the first of three guiding days I had
scheduled with Greg LeMond and his wife Kathy. I was plenty
nervous about it. Greg had just won the Tour de France for the
third time. He was the first celebrity I had worked with as a fishing
guide and he was coming at the wrong time of year. The last thing
I wanted now were three days of slow late August, low-water heatwave
fishing with the most important clients of my guiding career.
As it would turn out, good luck would shine on me one more time-
-because I would somehow manage to string together three of the
best-ever fishing days in a row. But I didn’t know that at the time.
Starting off at Nelson Spring Creek was a stroke of good luck in
itself. The fishing there is usually good and often great. Greg and
Kathy turned out to be generous and friendly folks. And Greg was
a fishing fiend. When he fell in a nasty spill in the Pyrenees, he told
me, “I tried to fall on my forearms, so I wouldn’t ruin my casting
hand.” Greg told me early on he wanted me to spend most of my
time with Kathy. “I need you to tell me what flies to use,” he said.
“But basically, I know how to fish.”
I was feeling better already. Greg had boundless energy and an
almost pathologically competitive spirit. I never saw a man move
so quickly cast so many times and fish so hard. Kathy was a quick
learner too. There were plenty of bugs on the water that morning.
But the spring creeks are a hard place to learn fly fishing. Starting
a first-day fly fisherman off at Nelson’s Spring Creek is a little like
asking a teenager to compete in the Master’s Golf Tournament.
By midday, when we finally broke for lunch, Greg had caught too
many fish to count. But Kathy, who had jumped missed nicked and
been refused by a zillion trout, had only actually netted one fish. She
was casting well though. All she really needed was to get a few more
fish on the line, to get her confidence going. I had a 3/4” homemade
wiggler in my box that I had been carrying around for months. Now
might just be the time to try it, I thought.
When we started back in again after lunch I sent Greg up to fish
amidst a pack of rising trout below a small diversion dam. Kathy
and I went straight to the weed channels immediately across from
the picnic tables. The fish are exposed there so it is a notoriously
difficult place to fish, but we had to start somewhere. The wiggler
turned out to be a bombshell. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite
like it before or since. Nelson Spring Creek trout are so fussy and so
nervous I have many times seen them refuse a natural mayfly. So
when a huge fish--on the first cast--cruised up behind the wiggler,
sniffed it once and then darted back into the weeds, I thought “Oh
well, it was worth the try.” But no sooner did I finish the thought
when out came the same fish again then back into the weeds and
then back out again. And then bang! We had him. It turned out to
be the same with all of them. They tried to resist, but they couldn’t
do it. Two, three, four times apiece they would refuse. And then out
they would come one more time to nail the wiggler. It was hard to
After a dozen or more fish the wiggler finally disintegrated. It was
incredible fun while it lasted and Kathy had learned what to look
for and what to expect. She had learned when and how to strike
a fish. Later that evening, when the sulphur duns were hatching,
I had Kathy rigged up with a small foam grasshopper--as an
indicator--and a #22 Cream Midge Larvae, a generic small nymph
that works well as a Sulphur emerger. Nymph fishing during the
Sulpher hatch is the most challenging fishing imaginable. Unlike
Pale Morning Duns, which ride the surface for 20’ or more before
flying way, mature Sulphur duns take off as soon as they get their
wings up, so the trout key in on the drifting nymphs and emergers.
The trout take so gently during the Sulphur hatch they seldom make
an indicator move. You have to fish by instinctive radar. When you
see a fish move anywhere in the vicinity of your fly you have to set
the hook, even if the indicator hasn’t budged. In one log-jam spot
up above the midge pond Kathy caught four or five fish on a #22
nymph, without ever taking a step!
Since then I have fished with mini wigglers many times in many
places. Like all flies their success seems to vary from day to day and
place to place. But for some reason I am at a loss to explain they are
the most consistently and predictably effective on the spring creeks.
Fishing the water with an attractor, downstream and across with a
tight straight line, isn’t what spring creek fishing is all about. So I
never use wigglers when a hatch is on. But I do find myself falling
back on them in the late afternoons when most fishermen resort
to beetles or ants, or take the afternoon off while waiting for the
sulphurs to start in again.
When I’m out there on a spring creek, when the sun is hot and the
fishing is slow, when I’ve got a wiggler in my box, sometimes I just
can’t resist, no matter how hard I try.
Sandy Pittendrigh is a mostly-retired, self-employed software
developer living in Bozeman, MT. He is currently working on
publishing a collection of his fly fishing short stories in book
form, with an introduction by Tom Morgan. Sandy is also the
webmaster of montana-riverboats.com.
Fishing For A Good Read?
Get Hooked On Our Back Issues...
hitting the water
in a new
be Your Guide
by T. E. Lewis
So, you’ve decided you like floating adventures –
well you’re not alone. So much water – so little time. Maybe you’re new to
the sport or hobby – yes, no, maybe? How do you begin to research a body
of water? How do you keep up with your favorite river, lake or stream?
Here is a list of ways:
1. Fly over.
2. Read books.
3. Videos or DVD’s.
4. Talk to folks familiar with the river, lake, or stream.
5. Outfitter/Guide service.
7. Physical Inspection.
“Awareness can impact lives & resources.”
Remember, rivers are a different environment and need to be researched
and well planned-out. Let’s take a closer look at the potential hazards of
floating adventures on rivers for Class I inflatable pontoon boating. Just
because a river is rated Class I doesn’t mean there won’t be hazards and
Class II or Class III challenges in your float adventure.
Knowing how to identify these obstacles or river environments allows the
sportsman to enjoy a float & fish day on the water. Thinking back and
reflecting about my personal float adventures, those trips allowed me to see
some amazing scenery, wildlife and awesome fishing action.
Although called float & fish, for me it’s actually been an FSWPF experience
or ‘Float – Scout -Wade - Portage – Fish’ adventures on rivers and
occasionally enjoying some swimming even though swimming was not
necessarily part of my planned float adventure.
Let’s take a closer look at the potential hazards that an inflatable pontoon
boat operator can experience.
First for your consideration is to keep an open-mind about navigation and
what could affect the decisions of a person operating the inflatable pontoon
Factors like the time of the year, river current speed or streamflow, weather,
and the height of the river make many of the differences. Important to the
inflatable pontoon boat operator is to keep your eyes on the horizon as you
float the river. Always look ahead, be on the look-out for the hazards that
can present problems for you and cause injury or worse. Scout!
Second, distractions are the number one issue to battle while enjoying a
float adventure. Let’s face it - if you are angling and battling a big fish on
the other end of the line it can be very distracting and cause a sportsman to
take their eyes off what’s ahead on the river.
Doesn’t matter if you’re fly fishing for trout or bait casting/spin casting for
bass there’s nothing like a good fighting fish that has your line stretched
and your fishing pole bent while attempting to empty the spool of fishing
line you have on the reel. It’s why I’m there and it can be distracting
causing me to take my eyes off the horizon or the up-and–coming potential
hazards on the river.
The decisions a sportsman / sportswoman makes on a float adventure will
directly affect the outcome of the float adventure experience.
The inflatable pontoon boat is a fishing machine. It’s versatile and
transportable and has earned a reputation of being a very stable personal
watercraft. Every once in a while a sportsman finds himself / herself in that
ultimate setting in the outdoors and with any luck is able to capture that
moment. Here we see I’ve hooked, played and netted a trout while in the
river that is pushing me downstream.
Finding myself in the middle of this river, eyes looking forward on the
horizon for potential hazards, navigating, and battling this trout is quite the
multi-tasking experience. Take a closer look at this photo - What do you
This is a sweeper which is a potential hazard that hangs above water
protruding from the river bank but low enough to create a problem for
the inflatable pontoon sportsman. Had I become distracted battling this
trout and not paid attention to what was up-and-coming on the river I
would have been in real trouble not noticing this sweeper. What could have
happened? Here’s a few hypothetical’s to consider:
1. Hit the sweeper, knocked-out and swept out of the pontoon boat
floating in the river unconscious, pontoon boat and gear floating
2. Hit the sweeper and body impaled - pontoon boat & gear floating
3. Hit and swept out of the boat – conscious & wet – pontoon boat
and gear- well you know.
4. Hit the sweeper – broken arm – swept out of the boat – attempting
to swim – you know the rest of the downstream story.
I’ll let you take it from here pondering on the numerous problems that
could have occurred had I become distracted battling this trout and not
navigated the inflatable pontoon boat correctly.
Learn more about inflatable pontoon boating with the book Float Smart:
An Inflatable Pontoon Boating Guide or by attending one of the Float
Smart Workshop Seminars.
Float Smart is a dynamic, thought-provoking introduction and overview of
inflatable pontoon boat navigation, peripheral equipment, and safety that
will not only cover the basics of inflatable pontoon use but will open your
eyes to circumstances you may never have considered that might challenge
you at some point.
T.E. Lewis is the founder of Float Smart and the Float Smart Workshop
designed to bring awareness to the exciting recreation activity of inflatable
pontoon boating. Float Smart is a dynamic discussion of inflatable pontoon
boat navigation, equipment and safety concerns that has been taught across
Montana. Lewis now brings this awareness message including in-the-field
examples to you with the thought-provoking Float Smart guide.”
Check it out: http://www.floatsmart.info
Under Armour Hook’d Storm Polarized Sunglasses
Color: Satin Wood Grain or Satin Black (shown)
Every pair of sunglasses I’ve had in
recent memory has been lost in some
sort of fishing accident. I know how
hard it is to justify shelling out money
for anything more than a pair of “gas
station cheap-os.” But the Hook’d line of
sunglasses from Under Armour might
be worth it.
When these arrived, I swore I would never take them to work because I
spend 10 to 12 hours a day in pretty much nothing but dirt, and I didn’t
want to scratch them up. But when I misplaced my regular safety glasses,
I was left with little choice. These ANSI Z87.1-rated lenses were tough
enough to handle a full month of hardcore lawn irrigation, even when all I
had was a dirty shirt to clean them with. Today they are still as scratch-free
as the day I got them.
The vented frames are made with titanium and Grilamid (don’t ask me),
making them strong and extremely lightweight. The hinges are flexible
enough to take them on and off easily, but hold on well enough to be worn
all day without fatigue. The polarizing definitely brings enough contrast to
allow these to be called fishing glasses, and the tint is such that it still makes
sense to wear them when the sky is overcast.
Eclectic Angler 3D-Printed Fly Reel
Color Combo: Fire & Smoke
Michael Hackney, reel smith and web
master of the Eclectic Angler website,
made history earlier this year when he
unveiled the world’s first 3D-printed
fly reel. If you aren’t familiar with the 3D printing, you might want to do a
YouTube or Google search on the process to understand what it is and the
changes it is bringing to the manufacturing as a whole.
Being the first of their kind, you might expect these reels to cost a mint,
but they are actually down-right affordable, with the most expensive color
combination priced well below the hundred-dollar mark. These reels are
extremely lightweight and, if treated properly, durable enough to play and
land even above-average-sized trout. Current models come sized for 4
and 5wt lines. The sound that comes out of these reels when pulling line
or fighting fish is reminiscent of an old Pflueger Medalist, which makes
using them even more fun. I for one love the look and feel of my reel, and I
encourage anyone who is interested to try one out.
The reels are made of a biodegradable composite. That is to say, if left in a
compost pile for a long period, it will break down; but daily use on the river
won’t do them any harm. It is important to note that because these reels are
made of plastic, they are a bit fragile and can break easily under the right
conditions. The price point on these reels is low enough that owning one
is worth the risk; and I’m sure that as time goes on, these reels will become
stronger and more durable.
For those who own a 3D printer, Michael also offers the plans to these reels
free of charge on his website.
Orion Cooler 45
Color: Blue Camo (shown)
Dimensions: 18.5” x 26.5” x 16.75”
Weight: 32.25 lbs.
I’ve been in the market for a molded
cooler for years, but could never
bring myself to buy one. But when
Orion Coolers asked me to try one
of their 45 models to review, I couldn’t say no.
This past June was the hottest on record where I live, so it was the perfect
time to test out how good it was at keeping things cold. While our ice did
melt, this cooler still kept things sufficiently cold for both of our 3-day
The Orion is also tough. To my knowledge, it’s one of the first coolers to
double as a bear-proof storage container... a nice feature anytime you’re
camping out in Montana. The padded lid also makes this the perfect
camping seat, step stool, or casting platform when sufficiently tied down.
Each cooler comes with six tie-down points, four of which double as bottle
Other notable features include rope handles with motorcycle-style grips,
thermo-molded top tray, LED floating flashlight, and the low-profile
The Shot-gun Lead-free Sinker Device
Price: $39.95 (Kit shown here.)
The Shot-gun “green” lead-free sinker
device is designed to give anglers of all
pursuits a way to add weight to their
terminal rigs in manner that won’t
damage their line.
The “gun” dispenses round, non-toxic
tungsten beads that are held snug against the line with a short length of
small-diameter surgical tubing without digging in. The tubing and sinkers
can be moved smoothly up or down the line for modifying the distance to
the hook for depth control or knot-tying.
The tungsten beads are heavier and more eco-friendly than lead, offering
fishermen a solid alternative in areas where lead is prohibited. In keeping
with the “green” theme, the entire system is reusable, as the sinkers can
easily be removed from the line and stored back in the shot-gun or in the
supplied refill container.
For more information visit theshot-gun.com or watch the video embedded
On Fly-Fishing the Northern Rockies
Essays and Dubious Advice
by Chadd VanZanten and Russ Beck
Arcadia Publishing and The History Press
Length: 144 pages
Many times when a book is attributed to two
authors, it seems to be because the person
with the ideas doesn’t know how to write.
This wouldn’t be one of those books, as both
Chadd VanZanten and Russ Beck can write
On Fly Fishing the Northern Rockies is a collection of memoirs from each of
the authors as they recount their friendships and how they met, and what
they’ve learned the sport of fly-fishing while traveling the northwest in
search of trout in Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.
The essays are long enough to make you feel you’ve read something and
short enough to find time to for it no matter what you’re doing. The book
is perfect for throwing in your duffel bag as you set out to visit some of the
same areas the authors have visited.
Despite coming from two different authors, the text maintains a consistent,
personal and conversational tone. The essays intermixed with a number
of well placed and well shot photographs, covering enough territory that
those reading the book will easily identify with what the authors are saying.
On Fly-Fishing deserves to share some shelf-space with your favorite
Govino Classic 16oz. Beer Glass
Price: 4 for $14.95
I’m sure I’m like most fly fishermen when
I say that I can drink most anything out of
most any container, particularly when I’m
camping or out on the water. As time goes
on, however, I’m not always the one who
makes the calls when packing up for a long
weekend or a road trip. It’s often my better
half who pays more attention to these sort of
A company called Govino makes an assortment of recyclable, shatterproof
beverage glasses targeted to travelers and outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to
taste their drinks even though they’re “roughing it.”
One might say these glasses are for glamping (glamour camping), but
having had a drink or two from the Govino Beer Glass, I have come to
appreciate their practical side as well. These glasses are well designed.
They’re easy to drink from and easy to clean. The glass shown here is handwash
only, but since mine arrived, Govino has launched a dishwasher-safe
Perhaps the best feature of these glasses is the thumb-notch, which makes
it easy to hold onto a glass made of otherwise slippery material.
For those looking for a stylish glass that reminds them of their collection at
home, without the threat of broken glass if it gets knocked off a picnic table
or knocked over by the dog, a set of Govino glasses might be just the thing.
Jesse Bussard is a Bozeman-based independent outdoors writer
and fly fishing poet. Her fishing journey began with a spin rod on
the warmwater creeks, lakes and ponds of Trough Creek Valley in
south-central Pennsylvania. Jesse moved West in September of 2012,
first to Idaho and then Montana. Here she discovered her love and
passion for the art of fly fishing. When not fishing for trout on the
rivers of southwest Montana, Jesse enjoys shooting her bow and
homebrewing. She is currently working on her first book project
and is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
Jon Covich has been in and around the fly fishing business for the
past 25 years as a tackle rep and traveling photographer. He has
been going to Cuba since the late 1990’s, and has recently started
his own travel business aimed at bringing American anglers to
Cuba. Check out his website at www.cubafishingoutfitters.com or
contact him at 206.579.9342 if you have any questions regarding
Cuba and its fishing destinations.
James Hays is an avid illustration contributor to nature and outdoor-based
publications, textboks and museums worldwide. He’s overly active in
riddin gthe world of nature deficit disorder. That’s a good thing.
George Kalantzes is a resident of Bozeman, Montana and a passionate
landscape photographer with deep family roots in Montana. If not
behind a camera, you will find George with a fly rod in his hand or with
his wife Isabelle and dogs Cody and Madison hiking the Montana
T.E. Lewis is the founder of Float Smart and the Float Smart
Workshop designed to bring awareness to the exciting recreational
activity of Class 1 inflatable pontoon boating for anglers or water
recreationists who use one-person pontoon boats or are considering
purchasing one. He's been a fly casting instructor, pro-staffer and
featured outdoor blogger; Lewis's passion for the outdoors is reflected
in his dedication to giving back and volunteering for national parks,
national forests and state parks. Lewis now brings this awareness
message including in-the-field examples to you with the thoughtprovoking
Float Smart guide. http://floatsmart.info
Sandy Pittendrigh is a mostly-retired, self-employed software
developer living in Bozeman, MT. He is currently working on
publishing a collection of his fly fishing short stories in book
form, with an introduction by Tom Morgan. Sandy is also the
webmaster of montana-riverboats.com.
Managing editor, Ehren Wells, is a lifelong resident of Montana.
He enjoys hiking in the backcountry on his rare days off. Ehren is
also an avid flyfisherman and outspoken Spey addict.
Want to be a contributor?