I come from a long line of Montanans dating back to the homestead days. In the late 1800s my great-great-grandfather, a cook on a cattle drive, decided to call Billings, Montana, home. As a young angler alongside my grandfather and uncle I was spoiled by Montana's premier trout waters, waters like the Bighorn, Yellowstone, Stillwater, and Boulder rivers. Even though I have been fishing for as long as I can remember I didn't pick up a fly rod until the age of 13, but once I did, the addiction began. Learning how to oar a drift boat on “the Horn” at 16 started me down an unknown path that would soon lead to a loved career in the guiding world.
In 1996 I moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University, which was a good or bad thing depending on whom you ask. After a year at MSU and record snow fall in the winter of 1996, the skiing, hunting and fishing trumped academics and in 1999 I fell into the guiding world. Over the past eighteen years I have had the opportunity to work with anglers age 8 to 90, beginners to experts, those with disabilities or terminal diseases, families, and large groups. I know how important it is to take time to teach people the skills they need to get the most out of their fly fishing experience, making memories that last a lifetime for the client and for me.
As an independent contractor in Big Sky, Montana, I met my loving and extremely understanding wife on her family's guided trip on the Gallatin River. With a family of our own, I decided to better my family and myself, and as the owner and operating outfitter, launched Trout on the Fly.
Trout On The Fly wants to exceed your expectations on the water. To that end we work with the finest guides in Montana; we don't use just anyone with a pulse. The guides are our friends, fellow outfitters and independent contractors of the trade who have several years in the field of fishing under their belt and know the local waters intimately.
All guides are certified in first aid and CPR, and renew their certifications every two years.
Aaron is a fellow outfitter who has been guiding Montana waters since the early 2000's and knows them well! His passion for guiding and demeanor is contagious anytime he is in your presence. Originally from the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota, he moved to Bozeman Montana in 1996 for college. With his love of fly fishing for trout is a love for walleye fishing and it's not uncommon to find him fishing for walleye year around on Montana lakes especially in the winter on the ice, it's in his blood! Aaron is a US Coast Guard licensed captain, which allows him to guide anglers from a motorized vessel on Montana's waters including the Land of Giants. A full day on any of Montana's waters, trout or walleye fishing with Aaron will be a memorable experience!
When Craig turned 18 years old he made the best decision of his life by moving to Montana. He fled west to attend college at Montana State University in Bozeman, join the ROTC and fill an addiction to fly fishing! After graduating from MSU with a degree in community health and commissioning in the Montana National Guard he was drawn to the guiding world. Fly fishing has always been a huge part of Craig's life, but fishing in New Hampshire (his home state) and the opportunities to guide were not comparable to what he experienced when he arrived out west and he couldn't bring himself to leave. When it comes to guiding, Craig is professional, courteous, thoughtful and he can put you on the fish. Craig has spent several years on the retail side of fly fishing and can tell you all you want to know about the flies, rods, reels, waders, tying equipment and on and on. Passing down his skills, techniques, and knowledge to new and experienced anglers allows him to express his passion for fly fishing on Montana waters such as the Madison River. Craig is an independent contractor and we are happy to have him represent Trout on the Fly out on the water!
Originally for Wyoming, Rick moved to the "Big Sky" state for the world class fly fishing, skiing, and hunting. Rick is no stranger when it comes to guiding anglers and hunters as he has been guiding both before anyone knew what guiding was about. Rick is an independent contractor like most guides in Montana, but he is not like most guides. His knowledge of fly fishing and hunting on Montana's waters and land surpass the "average" guide. Rick has the patience and will spend the time teaching you the basics from how to hold a rod, casting, line management, knots to releasing a trout properly. Rick goes above and beyond for all his clients and it is not uncommon to find Rick out with clients until dark just to cast a dry fly to rising fish in a evening hatch. Rick has a work ethic that the West was built on and you can be sure he will work hard for you on any day you fish with him!
Doug is a true fly fishing fanatic. A Georgia native, Doug grew up chasing Brook Trout in the Appalachian Mountains. He was introduced to fly fishing in Montana at a young age and knew he would call it home one day. Doug moved west in 2004 to take a job in Yellowstone National Park and spent 3 seasons living, working, and fishing in the park. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Education, Doug spent 5 years teaching in Bozeman, MT and Kalispell, MT before turning to guiding full time in 2012. He is comfortable on the larger blue ribbon rivers and also excels at finding off the beaten path wade fisheries. His easy going nature, experience as an educator and uncanny fish sense make him one of the most versatile guides in Southern Montana.
Scott is no stranger when it comes to showing clients a great time on the water. With 30 years of guiding under his belt on legendary rivers in Alaska, Idaho and Montana, Scott can make your day a safe and memorable one to last a lifetime. He moved to Bozeman in the late 1970 was drawn to everything outdoors and the local community. When not guiding anglers Scott is patrolling the ski mountain at Bridger Bowl just north of Bozeman, playing guitar in a band, and being a father and husband to his family. Scott’s vast experience and depth of character will be obvious during your time with him on the water.
John developed his fishing skills early on the inshore waterways of Massachusetts, hunting the striped bass and blues of Cape Cod and the North Shore. After graduating from school hungry for bigger mountains and rivers, he moved to Bozeman and has been chasing big trout ever since. John is an avid fly tier, spending many hours during the cold months at the vice spinning feathers. He loves to test late night creations on big browns when the rivers are chilly and quiet. John has spent a few seasons as a ski patroller, and he is a certified EMT. John enjoys teaching others the fun and excitement fly fishing has to offer, as well as everything he has come to love about Montana.
Garrett Blackburn learned to catch trout at a young age on the waters near Saratoga, Wyoming and Arkansas’s White river. An Oklahoma native, he learned to target bass, panfish and anything else that would eat a fly. In 2003 he moved to Montana to attend college at the University of Montana and began his guiding career in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska at Bristol Bay Lodge. After graduating, he began guiding year round on the rivers of Southwest Montana in the summers and Chilean Patagonia during the winters. For 7 winters he guided anglers in Chile at Martin Pescador Lodge. Today Garrett spends most of his time on the water guiding anglers on the Madison river but loves to explore fisheries all over Montana. Garrett is a USCG licensed captain which allows him to guide under power. He is versatile on Montana and Yellowstone National Park waters for jet boat, drift boat, and walk wade trips.