Fishing Report for 8-10-2014

Fishing Report for 8-10-2014
Epic Spruce Moth!!

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That’s what is happening right now on the Gallatin; especially here near Big Sky. The trout are literally gorging themselves on the real thing, but also falling for well presented olive/tan elk hair caddis patterns and cut-wing patterns of the lighter phase moths; plus some specialty attractors. We have several dozen of the most effective patterns in stock, and the correct sizes, but they’re going fast!

If you’re in the canyon and have been fishing (and catching) all morning, by 1 to 2 PM the fish are likely fat and happy; so to find more hungry trout get back in the car and move upriver or down a half-mile or so, into harder to reach places. Target areas below low-overhanging trees (preferably spruce) and fish into the shadows; and you should find some more opportunistic trout willing to eat your imitations.
Don’t ignore the presence of small hoppers, beetles, and ants though in late afternoons, , as these terrestrials are very active on the shoreline this time of year and often fall in the drink. Fish that are hanging nearby structure or cut-banks won’t likely let one of those ‘well-presented patterns’ pass by either.
Instead of hopper-dropper, think hopper-ant, as a trailing dry (10-12” max.) This can be deadly in early August. Dress both accordingly, as well as the tippet between them, and this should produce a strike.

The Upper Madison had experienced warm water temps lately, as they pulled from the top of the dam at Hebgen Reservoir. This had slowed the bite considerably, but things are better now. There are still plenty of fish left to be caught; using nymphs like Bubble backs, Shop Vac’s, and Frenchie’s. Float-trips seem to be more productive than walk-and-wade sections and throwing hoppers, chubbys, and ant patterns, will get a few strikes as well. Streamers on cloudy days are also an option.

“The Yellowstone is the river to be floating right now!” Unfortunately word travels fast and everyone knows this; so weekdays are much less crowded than weekends which can be zoos. Mud plugs and an aggressive white fish bite are common August conditions to deal with on the Stone, but getting a few fat cutty’s and that occasional huge brown to take your hopper/chubby off the top; makes a trip worth remembering.
Soda Butte, Slough Creek, and the Lamar Valley are currently the better places to fish in YNP, using terrestrials; and are also not coincidentally…some of the most beautiful waters on earth too!

Fishing Report for 7-15-2014

The Gallatin is in excellent shape!

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While the salmonflies are done the caddis and golden stone dryfly fishing is just getting good. The water levels have finally dropped to more manageable wading levels opening up a huge portion of river that was left unfished for the past month.

This reduction in flows and increased clarity has also allowed trout to move into more areas to hold and feed as well.
All in all this makes for more space between anglers, guided trips, and rafters too; so a more enjoyable river experience for all.

The Upper Madison is also in great shape as far as flows and clarity and fishing great from the walk-and-wade sections all the way down to Ennis for those floating. For those wading it’s a dry fly game with caddis, golden stones, and Yellow Sallys; while those floating like nymphing in afternoons on Shop Vacs, Green Machines, and caddis pupa.
Switching to size 10 golden Chubby Chernobyls or pink Chubby Chucks in the mornings or evenings is a solid bet.
While the shoreline has plenty of fish some of the bigger ones have moved out into the buckets so don’t ignore center-river fishing this time of season.

The Yellowstone River is finally ready to float and fishing great. Granted we’ve experienced a couple mud plugs due to thunderstorms in the park, but when she’s clear it’s on!!

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River Report for 7-6-2014

“They’re Finally Here…”!!

The Gallatin is fishing great!

Salmonflies have been seen by both humans and trout from Moose Creek to green bridge this past week, and have even landed on the window at the fly shop here in Big Sky. They should be flying above Red Cliff and well into the park by tomorrow.
A couple days ago Andrew challenged each of us, throughout the day, to go across the street and try a size 10 Golden Chubby to see whether they’d be fooled; and they were. While many a trout to ‘a look-see’; I caught one and missed another within 10 minutes!
Since then it’s been report after report from our guides and guests of fish eating all kinds of salmon fly patterns from huge True Stones, size 8 Yellow Stimis, to Paulson’s Flutter Bugs (the latter “with a little action added”)!!

Finding the right back-eddy, inside-bend, or side-channel is what’s key. Slow moving water essentially. The fish will be there too as long as you approach such pockets ‘with some stealth’ and don’t barge right in knee-deep to announce your presence.

Dry flies right now are the ticket and caddis are coming off great too. If they won’t eat a salmon fly and you’re a dry fly nut like me; put on a size 14 or 16 elk hair caddis pattern at dusk and you should be into fish in no time. If you can’t fish till sundown and things get slow up top in the afternoons, try going below the surface with late June Gallatin staples like brown or orange girdle bugs, large BH princes, pink or red san juan worms, and silver or purple lighting bugs (ad way more than usual split shot though as she’s still running at fairly fast clip).

The Upper Madison is the place to be for float trips right now.
Its nymphing small patterns like 18-20 Shop Vacs or caddis pupa, for the most part in the upper stretches; with several fish taking Pat’s rubber legs, in black and olive.
For dry fly purists however and it’s big bugs you’re after use Pteronacys Chubby’s 8-10, big Yellow or orange Stimi’s, or similar colored and sized patterns and hit the banks for miles.
The streamer bite in olive and black seems to have picked up a bit too when weather’s overcast; while a weighted white zonker is a good pattern a bright sunny days; only if you’re after the biggest fish in the river.
For those wanting to walk-and-wade there are several options on the Upper try caddis dries or salmonlfies with a caddis pupa dropper around 3 Dollar or West Fork Cabins and you should find some hungry fish.

The Firehole in YNP still has some good dry fly action in afternoons and evenings using PMD’s and caddis; though traffic in the park has picked up a bit; so going during the week is better.

The Yellowstone River in the Paradise Valley section and below Livingston is still a bit high and fast, but getting better day to day; so we hope to be floating over there in next week or so.

River Report for June 23, 2014

DSC_2549Gallatin River:

The Gallatin is clearing up a lot earlier than expected mostly due to a slower runoff than anticipated. This window of opportunity has been opened by unseasonably colder night temps at higher elevations and even a couple inches of snow a week ago.

 We’ve also seen fewer rain showers and overall less precipitation locally than normal for spring. This means summer fishing has already begun and guided trips are already having some stellar days on the Gallatin around Big Sky!

While wading is still sketchy in most spots as the river is still flowing at a quick clip, plenty of healthy trout can be caught in the calmer shoreline sections, inside bends, and side-channels. Using popular patterns like heavily weighted beadhead prince nymphs, girdle bugs, purple lightning bugs, and san juan worms, have been the most effective strategy.

Lower Madison:

The Lower Madison has also been consistent for float trips using caddis dries in the evenings and various nymphs like BH princes, soft hackles, as well as Pat’s rubber legs, and crayfish patterns.

Upper Madison:

Even the Upper Madison is full of surprises this early in the season as we’re floating a lower and clearer upper section of the Madison above the West Fork than we normally would be this time of year. The water temps are up too, so we’re catching fish using midge clusters and elk hair caddis dries in certain sections. Even the big bugs have already been spotted near Ennis so things could get crazy for salmon flies in the next week or so; as the hatch moves up river. Best of all, those floating now have virtually had the river all to themselves on weekdays. This coming weekend could be another story though as word spreads…

Yellowstone National Park

There are also a couple wade-fishing options in Yellowstone National Park like the famed Firehole River; using PMD’s, Drakes, and White Miller’s Caddis dries.

Yellowstone River

Floating the Yellowstone in the Paradise Valley sections and below Livingston is still couple weeks out, but that’s fine by us with so much great water around Big Sky available to fish right now!
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So pick up the phone and book your next guide trip with Grizzly Outfitters; (406-995-2950 or toll free at 888-807-9452). Fly Shop hours are 8AM – 6PM every day of the week!

Green is good, brown is bad.

That’s the rule we follow in our lead-up to official runoff on the Gallatin. We’re still experiencing some freezing late night temps in the mountains and even occasional snow at higher elevations. This weather fluctuation tends to halt or at least suspend low-level-runoff this time of year.

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Local angler stripping streamers under a cut bank on Gallatin 5/1/2014
While a week ago we had a muddy brown river to contend with due to warm temps and rains, presently the Gallatin has that light green tint to it with about 10”-12” of visibility along the seams, shoreline, and side-channels. That’s where a lot of the fish are too; so this is the perfect scenario for success by hitting those sections following an afternoon BWO hatch and of course midges are everywhere.
Nymphing a favorite size 18 – 20 BWO emerger or Purple Lightning Bug is a safe bet and combining this with a brown or olive Pat’s Rubber Leg or Girdle Bug is effective too. Though keep in mind you will likely get a few rigs snagged and lost since visibility hides those obvious hazards you would otherwise see and avoid if the river was clearer.
Going above Taylor’s Fork has its advantages as things will likely be clearer, but you’ll have company and occasionally the wind can be a factor you’ll have to contend with; versus more sheltered areas that can be found inside the canyon.
On cloudy and overcast days Midge clusters like Buzz Balls and Griffith’s Gnats are great dry flies to use right now. They’re the perfect dry fly pattern for fishing within that 2 to 4’ rocky section near shore; as that is precisely where midges tend to cluster up in slower water and trout key-in on them.
A careful drag free drifted midge cluster in the foam-line and high sticking using a 7.5’ tapered 4X leader and about 2’ of 5X tippet seems to be the trick. Don’t be shy however on the Aquel or Gink though; as the higher your pattern floats and longer the drift the better.
Another dry fly option that’s worked great lately is a Purple Para Wulff in sizes 14, 16, and 18.
If you’re strictly  targeting bigger trout on the Gallatin stripping streamers is a good early season tactic, but more success can be found downriver where there’s more structure and deeper holes towards Bozeman than up near Big Sky. While the takes are few and far between, with some patience and a wide selection of articulated junk like assorted Galloup’s Dungeons (sculpin patterns) at your disposal; things could get interesting if you place it in front of the right fish.
Any day now the Gallatin will get brown and stay brown, plus be rocking around a Class IV; so the window of opportunity is closing fast.
“Get out there while the gettin’ is good!”

Why DPS Carbon Skis Stand Out

2e1ax_default_entry_IMG_5980That’s What She Said

 You know how your grandma says you’ll know immediately when you’ve found “The One”? She was right. It took only a few turns and I fell deeply in love with my DPS Yvette 112RP carbon skis.

 DPS – Heard of them?

Yes, smart guy, I’ve heard what you think DPS stands for. Thanks for telling me anyway and grossing me out on the chairlift. I don’t know you and it’s creepy.

 In 2005 pro skier/ski designer Stephan Drake joined forces with ski engineer Peter Turner and DPS was born. It stands for Drake PowderworkS, and the company seeks to “create the perfect skis worthy of those who live and breathe the sport”.   DPS is known worldwide for its trailblazing technology, shaping, and durability.  They are the world’s only company to create a “Pure prepreg carbon fiber sandwich ski”. Their Pure3 skis are manufactured at their factory in Salt Lake City. Made in the USA!

 Big and Pink and Beautiful

 If you don’t recognize the name, I bet you’d recognize the skis. In contrast to the industry standard, DPS has chosen solid top sheets in optimistic colors with minimalist logos. They stand out in both looks and performance.

 The Pure carbon Yvettes are HOT pink, and just looking at them makes me happy. It’s not just their shimmery unicorn candy heart color, but for their shape and feel. I’ve always been more tomboy than princess – but these Pure carbon skis are beauty and beast. DPS doesn’t dumb down the technology and slap on a pretty top sheet for the ladies. The Yvettes are based on the geometry of the acclaimed DPS Wailers: 141/112/128. The tip rocker is 480mm, which enables the Yvettes to shine in the powder. They’re responsive and do well in a variety of snow conditions.

Confession, I should admit that I telemark. I’ll wait while you tell an out-of-date telemark joke. Haha, done? I think I rode the chairlift with you earlier.

 I mounted my Yvettes with TwentyTwo Design’s Axl bindings.   It’s my dream set up. The Yvette 178cm weigh 1700 grams, or 3.75 pounds each. My Axl bindings (small) weigh 1.9 pounds each. SO combined they weigh 5.65 pounds, which is less than a six-pack. They’re so light that in contrast it felt like there were no skis on my feet.

 Ski the Space Age

DPS pioneered the carbon ski technology utilized at its Salt Lake factory. Similar technology is used in jet fighters and spacecraft. The prepreg carbon used by DPS is spawns freakishly lightweight, torsionally stiff skis. My Yvettes float like a dream in the pow, bust the crud, and carve the corduroy. Ideally we would all have an assortment of skis for different conditions. But if you have to survive with one pair, this would be my pick.

Don’t believe me? Demo a pair 3/21 at Big Sky Resort from 9:30am to 3:00pm, or swing in to Grizzly to check them out.

The Unsung Ski Sock

2e1ax_default_entry_IMG_2955The Unsung Ski Sock

If I had a dollar for every kid who has come into my shop to rent skis wearing a thick pair of cotton tube socks, I would be a rich man. Socks don’t matter. Or do they? Here are a few thoughts on what ski socks to buy for every ski occasion.

On a ski vacation and renting ski equipment? This is one of the few times I will recommend a thicker sock. Definitely not cotton though. Stick with wool, which is my preference for both comfort and their natural anti-microbial characteristics. If you are allergic or have a strong aversion to wool, go with a synthetic. Rental boots tend to fit on the large side, so a mid-weight will take up some slop, have some padding for your shins to reduce the dreaded shin bang, and provide some extra warmth. Remember that warm ski boots depend on good circulation and being DRY. This applies to having both dry ski boot liners and dry ski socks.

Buying new Boots? Go thin. Pick your fabric of choice. My preference is merino wool. Thin socks will give the most room in your new boots, which should fit tightly. Trying on new ski boots with thick socks will give you a false sense of the size. Odds are you will end up in a boot that is too big – a costly mistake!

Your ski boots have a few days on them? Experiment with progressively thicker socks until you find the pair that works the best. Ski socks come in a variety of thicknesses from ultra lightweight, to lightweight, to midweight. Feel the thickness of the socks at the foot, and you will notice the subtle differences in thickness. Some will have more padding on the shin, others none at all. If your boots still feel sloppy even with the thickest socks, it might be time for new boots.

Want to feel like superman? Try some compression ski socks. Like the socks used to aid in medical rehabilitation, compression socks vary how much they squeeze your ankles, mid calf, and calf. This helps pump blood out of the legs and back to the heart, slowing fatigue and aiding in recovery. It’s not a gimmick and is well worth the price of admission.

Keep those feet dry!

Ken Lancey, Owner

GNFAC Powder Blast - Why You Should Be There

2e1ax_default_entry_Powder-BlastThe Powder Blast

For years, the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center (GNFAC) has offered data on winter backcountry conditions, as well as provided basic avalanche education. The GNFAC provides information for several mountain ranges surrounding their headquarters in Bozeman and beyond. Grizzly Outfitters actively supports the GNFAC, and works with them to educate skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers in the Big Sky area.

The GNFAC daily avalanche advisory is available at their website (www.mtavalanche.com), via email updates, Facebook and your Smartphone (of course!). On average, the advisory reached 4,491 people each day during the 2012-13 season.

The Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center (FGNFAC) is a non-profit that works to support the GNFAC through fundraising and educational efforts (I blatantly stole that sentence from their Facebook page).

This fall marks the GNFAC’s 24th season in operation, and tomorrow the FGNFAC will hold the 15th annual Powder Blast benefit. It’s my favorite party of the year (after the ones that I throw for Grizzly, obviously). It’s always nice for this Big Sky bumpkin to throw on a dress (ok, more likely a Patagonia sweater of some type) and head into the big city for a night out. The event is held at the Emerson Cultural Center, and always includes phenomenal food, drink, music (bluegrass, due to the high infestation of telemarkers), and a stellar silent auction.

Many a ski bum might balk at the $30 donation cost for entry – but let’s think this through together. A Tasty meal (a buffet, nonetheless), beer/wine, awesome music (Holler n’ Pine), PLUS daily advice that will save your life and education for your friends (so that maybe they can save your life) – all for only $30?

It’s a no-brainer (meaning snowboarders should come too). I’m guessing that folks who don’t frequent fundraisers might be timid – but this is not the time. Do you enjoy the back country? Do you love someone who does? See you tonight.

LOVE this? HATE this? Email me! amy@grizzlyoutfitters.com

*I should admit that I am a telemark skier and I date a snowboarder. Any stereotypical references to either subculture were intended to be loving and lighthearted. Feel free to send me a mean email if you’d like – I love hearing from you either way.*

Off Season in Big Sky

Off-season is upon us here in Big Sky. After the chairs stop spinning at Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin, tourist traffic slows, seasonal employees vanish, and locals travel. Big Sky becomes a mellow hideaway. Some associate off-season with desolation and chaotic weather, but it’s an incredible time of year.

At Grizzly Outfitters, we pack up our ski rental fleet and set up our bike and fly shops. We mark down our winter gear and set up for summer. Locals hit the backcountry, or voyage to warmed climes to hike, bike, climb, surf, etc. I took my boys for a week of camping in Southern Utah. We biked the Slickrock Trail, jumped off hidden waterfalls, and climbed on the Swiss cheese rocks at the San Rafael Swell. It could not have been a more perfect getaway.

Mother Nature has been treating us to wonderful weather since our return. We’ve gotten enough moisture to help the gardens grow, but enough sun to draw us outside. Right now, my purple hyacinths and daffodils are bursting. It’s time to rake the yard and check the sprinklers – but, I probably won’t (sorry neighbors).

As you may know, Grizzly has a full-service fly shop and guide service. I’ve made it out for a couple floats on the legendary Yellowstone River. I stripped my first streamer, and caught my first decent Montana native cutthroat trout. Our guides are busy already, and it’s going to be a great summer. Stay tuned for gear reviews, casting clinic and demo information, as well as our area fishing report.

Back in the shop, we’re geared up for summer. We’ve received most of our 2013 summer clothing and gear. Our buyers have picked out some gorgeous clothing, so keep an eye on our Facebook page to check them out.

I got my bike tuned and have been hitting local trails to whip myself back into shape. The snow has melted from the lower elevation trails in Big Sky. To celebrate Mothers Day, I met up with a bunch of friends for a great early season ride up the Buck Ridge Road, and down the Doe Creek trail. It was a great ride and great company. On the ascent, we came upon grizzly bear tracks up the center of the trail. Remember, bear spray season is here, so don’t forget yours as you explore around Big Sky.

Considering we had a group of 12, we forged on until we hit snow. The cruisy downhill was a blast, and the beers at The Corral were cold as usual. Our bike shop is up and running. We’re planning to bring back Grizzly’s weekly mountain bike ride, and some basic bike repair clinics. Have you ever used a chain tool on the trail?

As you know (hopefully), Grizzly Outfitters has an expert boot fitting staff. We can also help you find the perfect fit for your summer footwear. Our state-of-the-art custom Amfit footbeds can also be used in slippers, sneakers, hiking boots, or almost any shoes you want to feel great. I put my extra pair in my roller skates. They’re performing incredibly.

This morning, I went for a run and let the dogs splash in the river. When I was just about to head to the shop, Marc Lange (our magical bootfitter and bike repair geek) told me that our long-time rep from Kona Bikes was in town. I figured the only polite thing to do was join them on a bike ride.

Trying to keep up with Kevin and Marc was a challenge, but the only way to get stronger is to ride, right? We laughed, we cried (not really), we talked bikes. I stumbled into an incredible day during off-season.

Worst Blog Ever - Lie Revealed

2e1ax_default_entry_IMG_2955I was letting the Montana sun saturate me when I realized that spring was upon us. I thought about all the wonderful moments I’ve enjoyed this winter: days of incredible powder, cruising scenic trails at Lone Mountain Ranch, fresh lines in the back country, snowshoeing with my dog, wobbly afternoons at the ice rink, winter smores at the fire pit, New Year’s Eve fireworks, watching my boys race with the BSSEF, attempting to skate ski, and many other unparalleled moments. On Sunday alone, I skied Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin, then fly fished the Gallatin River until sunset. Suddenly, it hit me – I’m the worst blogger ever. I’ve enjoyed so much, and neglected to share it.

I started working for Grizzly Outfitters in 2001, when I stumbled upon the shop and found myself applying for a job. As I filled out the application (like a 3rd grader), I wondered why I was doing it. I’d secured (what I thought would be) an incredible waitressing job. Fate funneled me to Grizzly Outfitters, and it was one of the luckiest flukes of my life.

After 12 years on and off, Ken and Andrew are still kind enough to employee me. Sometimes I wonder why exactly. I’ve realized that despite all my flaws, I share their vision and passion for the outdoors. Grizzly Outfitters was founded on a love of these mountains and rivers, and a drive to help others experience them. That is what fuels them; why they continually invest in their business, employees, and community. They want those who happen upon Grizzly Outfitters to leave happy, stay content, and return as friends.

Over a year ago, I began planning events and giveaways. It is my favorite part of the job. In winter 2012-13 alone, Grizzly Outfitters gave away around $15,000 in prizes. We donate to countless organizations and events in the community and beyond. We partner with organizations like the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center and the Lone Peak Booster Club to fund raise and educate our customers. It is awesome.

Our buyers are constantly searching for innovative brands and equipment. We’ve instituted an online reservation system to make rentals more convenient. We constantly seek education about products that promote the overall health and comfort of our customers. Why? For the love of the outdoors, and a drive to share it. It’s incredible to work at a place where you can honestly say that. Honestly.

Oh yes, now to reveal the lie. I’ve run into a handful of people who read my blog. Some have asked with surprise, “You’re Mountain Girl?” I realize that my face may not be that of a girl; my mind may not be either (thank heavens). However, no one can deny that my heart is still that of a girl. Life has passed by in a blur, but I’m still just a girl who loves to be outside.

How did you end up in Big Sky? How did you find Grizzly Outfitters?

Please stay tuned for blog posts about what’s new in Big Sky, notable clothing and gear, and upcoming events!

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AAAhhhh, Montana

A chill is in the air, in Big Sky, Montana. The hot summer of 2012 has given way to frosty mornings, but winter isn’t quite here yet. September is a glorious month. The chilly mornings turn into warm afternoons perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, golfing – whatever! The kids are back in school, the tourist season is slowing, and the trout are hungry again. Ahhhh, Montana.

August was another hot and dry month overall. The Pine Creek and Millie Creek fires devastated their areas. Big Sky was relatively smoke-free, compared to the Bozeman area, but still suffered smoky days due to other fires burning to the west. Our thoughts are with those who were affected by the wildfires. The firefighters and others who help are true heroes.

I avoided some of the smoke when returned to my birthplace in upstate New York. When I visit New York, I’m always surprised by the water that seems to hang in the air. The lush growth, hot nights, and cadent crickets make me feel like a kid again. But it also recalls memories of wet, cold, cloudy winters. The dry cold of a Montana seems friendly when compared to an ice storm. Yes, Big Sky has also spoiled me with its fluffy powder and blue bird days. I dearly miss my friends and family back east, but when it comes to skiing Big Sky, Montana is hard to beat.

I guess it’s obvious I’ve been obsessing about ski season already! The new winter gear and clothing has been pouring in at Grizzly Outfitters. It makes it difficult to resist sneaking out of the office to try on clothes and bend skis. Of course, I do need to check out the merchandise for marketing purpose, right? Our customers near and far, need to know this information!

I finally took the plunge and bought a jacket I have been eying for a while – The Patagonia Ultralight Down Jacket. It’s a great all-around piece, great for layering or on its own. It’s filled with just the right amount of premium 800-fill goose down to make it a useful coat in warmer temperatures. The shell is a special edition nylon that is half the weight and twice as strong as Patagonia’s other down fabrics! It will fit perfectly under my ski jacket!

I know, I know, I am jumping the gun as far as ski season is concerned. September is my secret favorite month of “summer” here in Big Sky. The days are delightful and the perfect temperature for getting active outdoors. The nights are cool and perfect for campfires, hot tubs and sleeping. The aspens are turning gold, and the willows into their autumn wine color. The smell of wood stoves burning lingers in the night air. A bear swats my grill of the back deck, and a mother moose tries to trample my dog. Ahhhh, Big Sky. I love this place.

Tenkara and Meteors

The stars shine brightly here in Big Sky, Montana. Late Saturday night, I was lucky enough to enjoy a brilliant natural display, the Perseid meteor shower.  Relaxing in the hot tub, I zoned out and watched dozens of meteors streak across the sky. Some were just simple lines of light, others thick and sparkly.

The Perseid meteor shower is named for the constellation (Perseus) from which the falling meteors seem to originate. The shower happens when earth’s orbit moves through a cloud of debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. Check out this composite of 23 images taken by David Kingham in the Snowy Range of Utah.

It’s been a hot and gorgeous summer in Montana! But hot + dry = wildfires. Luckily we have avoided the burn around Big Sky, and hope to keep it that way. On the up side, drifting smoke from far-off wild fires dyes the sunsets and sunrises. Monday morning’s sunrise was glaring neon pink. Over the weekend, we enjoyed (that’s right, enjoyed) some rain and cooler temperatures. Today, our blue bird Montana sky is back.
 
Grizzly Outfitters is excited to have a tenkara fly-fishing gear from Tenkara USA. Tenkara is the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing that is ideal for mountain streams. The angler uses only a rod, line, and a few flies – no reel. Tenkara is about fly-fishing simplicity and mountain-stream effectiveness, though the rods can be used anywhere.  Watch this video featuring Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo playing a 20” brown on the nearby Madison River.

The boxes of fall and winter gear are rolling in. Stop in to check out the newest gear and clothing from all of your favorite brands – what do you want to try on?

Select clothing/gear is also on SALE now!!!

 
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Hot Summer Nights in Big Sky, Montana

Wow, it’s been an amazing summer so far in Big Sky, Montana. Summers are always insanely beautiful and packed with events…..that’s my excuse for taking way to long to blog!

July 18 was an especially fun night for Grizzly Outfitters, Lone Peak Cinema, and a lot of friends (old and new). We held a party to celebrate summer, and the grand opening of our new fly shop and guide service. Daytime events included free bike demos, a bear bag throwing challenge, and knot tying instruction. Fly rod demos and casting instruction spilled into the night.

We were lucky to be joined by some of our favorite folks- reps from Dr. Slick, Costa del Mar eyewear, Sage, Rio, Redington, Patagonia, Umpqua, Smith, and many more. We held a huge giveaway, casting contest, and champagne toast in the evening. Ken Lancey and Andrew Schreiner (owners of Grizzly Outfitters) shared a keg of Pilsner from our local Lone Peak Brewery. Our giveaway table was packed with thousands of dollars in merchandise from Montana Fly Company, Redington, Rio, Adventure Medical Kits, Quikclot, Sage, Beartooth Publishing, Hatch, Buffs, Black Diamond, Camelbak, GSI, Osprey, and Big Sky’s Wild Bear Designs.

Casting ninja, Mike Atwell brought killer rods and held a casting contest and instruction. He and his wife Diane operate Atwell & Associates, and rep several of our most popular brands. Costa del Mar joined us and offered great deals and giveaways. The crew from Dr. Slick brought their tricked out drift boat to the party as well. They’re known for their precision fly tying tools and fishing accessories, and operate out of Belgrade, Montana. Thanks to all for coming!

As part of the grand opening event, we teamed up with Lone Peak Cinema to show an amazing film, Where the Yellowstone Goes. We were lucky enough to be joined by the director, Hunter Weeks, and producer/wife Sarah Hall. The film chronicles Robert Hunter, Shannon Ongaro, and friends as they float a 600-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River. Located a short drive from Big Sky, the Yellowstone is incredibly scenic, and the longest undammed river in the lower 48. Calling it a fly fishing movie would be selling it short. Where the Yellowstone goes chronicles a beautiful river and moreover a memorable group of people.

Mike Sprague of Trout Headwaters, Inc. also made it to the party.  Thanks so much for your work, and it was great to meet you!

After the giveaway at Grizzly, Lone Peak Cinema arranged for a local ripping (Indie-folk-rock-alt-country-bluegrass) band, Holler ‘n Pine to play under the marquee. It was another gorgeous night in Big Sky, and the talented musicians added a wonderful vibe.

The Lone Peak Cinema was packed. It has to be one of the coolest new theatres in existence, and every seat seems to be the best one. Before the movie, we held another giveaway! Grizzly Outfitters raffled more amazing items including: a Sage rod, Montana Fly Company reel, guided trip with our own Brian Kimmel Fly Fishing, copies of Where the Yellowstone Goes, and threw lots more swag into the crowd. Geez, that NEVER gets old. A million thanks to everyone who made this possible!

After the movie, Hunter and Sarah held a Q&A, then Holler n’ Pine geared up for a full set. It was the perfect night, and I met a lot of people I hope to know for years!

I also met someone who reads this very blog – this one goes out to you, Seth! Let’s all get together soon!

A Fly Fishing Institution - Hardy Now Available at Grizzly Outfitters

In the fly fishing world, Hardy is a true institution. The company has been in business since 1872, and is know worldwide as a historical innovator of fly fishing equipment. In the 1880s, Hardy became the first company to build hexagonal rods from bamboo. In 1891, they patented their first “Perfect” reel, a design that is basically still manufactured today. Pioneers in the fly fishing industry, their innovations have won countless awards and honors over the 140 years they’ve been in business.

Here at Grizzly Outfitters, we are thrilled to be carrying the Hardy line of fly rods and reels, including the SINTRIX series. SINTRIX fly rods are up to 60% stronger and 30% lighter than conventional carbon fiber rods. Read more about SINTRIX at Hardy’s website, and watch this poorly made video featuring Ennion Williams casting Hardy’s Zenith one-piece rod.

LOVE this?  HATE this?  Join the conversation! “LIKE” us on Facebook, or email me: Amy@GrizzlyOutfitters.com

Big Sky's Secrets, and My Drunk Driving

In Big Sky, summer is finally upon us.  The snow falling in early June has given way to deep azure skies and warmer weather.  We’re thought of as a winter destination, but summertime in Big Sky in unparallelled.  There are so many activities from hiking to zip-lining.  Mountain bike out your back door.  Fish the country’s most iconic rivers.  Enjoy a horseback ride or cowboy cookout with Cache Creek Outfitters.  This summer, Big Sky Resort will offer rides to the top of Lone Peak via the tram!  Disc golf, skateboard, shoot hoops, or play on the swings at one of the most scenic community parks in existence.  Dig for crystals and fossils.  White water raft or try rock climbing.  It’s all right here in Big Sky.  Day trips to Yellowstone National Park are a piece of cake, and you avoid the swarm of tourists.  Yes, Big Sky is a secret summertime jewel here in the Treasure State!

This time of year, I am usually still getting my legs under me for mountain biking.  Big Sky has great trails for everyone – from first timers to experts.  Lots have easy warm ups on roads and cruisy single track finishes.  This year I am making an effort to really learn how to fly fish.  I’ve dabbled in it for years – first back in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, and now here.  As a younger person, I thought of it as a little boring, but considering it involved water and friends (and sometimes beer), I went anyway.  I depended on friends to help and never really caught anything.

I caught my first trout on a fly rod in late May on the Gallatin.  It was snowing and the fish was little, but it was a complete thrill!  The rush of catching a beautiful (even little) fish is immense, and I was hooked (ha ha ha).  Anyway, this summer I am lucky enough to have award winning, world-class guides right here Grizzly Outfitters.  They’ve been helping me to become an independent fly fisher woman, so thanks guys!

Mountain biking is still my first love, but it always takes a few rides to regain my concentration and balance.  “Drunk Driving”  the the phenomenon when a biker wobbles their front tire around in an attempt to balance.  This is the stage I am at right now:)  My biking season started late, but it will all come together sooner or later!

Speaking of which, we are trying to organize the return of the Grizzly Ride.  For years, we had a group ride for bikers of all levels.  Stop into the expanded bike shop or drop us a line via Facebook and let us know you are interested.  Right now, we are considering a Tuesday morning ride.  What works for you?  We have some other exciting events planned for summer…..so stay tuned.  Hope your day has been beautiful!