Fly Shops Abound

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Many fly anglers will refer to their favorite fly shop as “their local fly shop”. Probably in most places across the U.S., even those with great fly fishing don’t have more than one or two full service fly shops servicing the region. For example, I was once visiting Jacksonville, Florida to see relatives and wanted to do some Sea Trout and Redfish fly fishing in estuaries off the St. John’s River. In a metro area of over 1.4 million people, I was able to locate one (1) fly shop. Even in Pittsburgh where I work a lot, there’s only one (1) fly shop, two if you count the Orvis store. Of course a lot of large sporting goods and outdoor stores sell fly tying and fly fishing gear, but they aren’t really the traditional fly shop.

kline fly shops dan baileySuch is not the case here in SW Montana. When someone refers to their “local” fly shop, it’s hard to know which fly shop they might be talking about. Walk around Bozeman, Livingston, West Yellowstone, Gardner, Twin Bridges, Melrose, Ennis, Big Sky, Emigrant or Craig, Montana and you’ll be hard pressed not to see someone wearing a hat or shirt with a Montana fly shop logo on it. And they won’t all be the same. Going back in time, Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop (1938) in Livingston is probably the oldest and most prestigious. Bailey’s is famous for its “Wall of Fame” silhouettes of 4lbs plus trout from the Yellowstone River.

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