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Spring Fishing 2017

spring fishing, brown trout

Another spring has almost flown by once again.  In a few short weeks runoff will be here and our spring fishing window will be shut down and we will be back in the mountains chasing bears and turkeys.  This spring we have gotten the privilege to wet a fly in eight different rivers here in Montana.  Although the fishing wasn’t as good as previous springs we still were able to find a healthy number of nice trout and beautiful Montana views.  Below are a few images from our spring travels around the state.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, flyfishing

Kicking off the early spring with a chucky bow.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, streamer, driftboat, green water

Pulling for pigs on a mud line.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, rainbow trout

Mean muggin for the camera

spring, fishing, montana, wild, maddie sieler

Maddie with a nice streamer fish to start off a very windy day

spring, fishing, montana, wild, streamer, brown trout

Streamers saving a very slow day of dry fly fishing

spring, fishing, montana, wild, skwala, bitterroot river

Josh with a nice fish caught while filming for an upcoming project

spring, fishing, montana, wild, drift, boat, fish

Exploring some gin clear water before the snow started melting from the mountains

spring, fishing, montana, wild, rainbow trout

This fish was a serious moral boost on a slow day.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, brown trout, simms fishing

Travis fooled this great brown out of hiding in small pocket water.

spring, fishing, montana, wild, selfie, trout eye

Trout selfie

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Warmer weather means more browns on the prowl

spring, fishing, montana, wild, brown trout, t-shirt

Travis product testing a new t-shirt. Appears to be working just fine

spring, fishing, montana, wild, sucker, fish

Josh stoked for days

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The sometimes elusive spring dry fly eat

We now have a handful of new shirts and hats in our online store.  To see more and shop click HERE.

-Zack

Bighorn River – Feels Like Spring

bighorn river, fishing trip, brown trout, montana

This winter has been exceptionally cold and snowy and the result has been poor conditions for winter fishing.  For the last month I’ve been thinking about taking a few days and going to the Bighorn River to escape the frozen waters surrounding Bozeman.  With a solid weather forecast I decided to pull the trigger on driving the three hours east and seeing if we could find ourselves a few hungry trout.

Bighorn, river, montana, fishing, trout

Big Horn County, Montana

A 5:30 departure put us at the Bighorn Angler right around 9AM.  We dropped in to say hi to Steve and Pete, grab some bugs and get the keys to our room for the night.  The Bighorn is basically in the middle of nowhere.  The solitude is nice but plan on staying near the river until you’ve had your fill of fishing.  Fortunately the Bighorn Angler offers some quality lodging right there by the shop which is about a minute from the boat ramp at Afterbay dam.  Soon enough we had the boat in the water and our day had begun.

montana wild, photography, fishing, underwater, trout, bighorn, river, montana

Travis enroute to the fishy waters.

The weather was prime.  The sun was out in full force making for unseasonably warm temps and the wind was bearable.  After watching the bobbers from the boat for a while without any luck we decided to anchor up and try some wade fishing.  One of the keys for us on this river is to stop and fish the prime water on foot until you’ve figured out what the fish are keying in on.  Soon we had a few patterns that were producing.

bighorn, river, montana, fishing, spring, rainbow, trout

C’mere ya trouty

bighorn, river, montana, fishing, spring, rainbow, trout

Maddie starting the day strong in our new Ladies Bison Trucker in Stealth

From there we stayed on the fish and the weather had us thinking it was the beginning of April.  As always there were some boats on the water but plenty of space and fish for everyone.

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, underwater photography, spring

Headed back to the homies

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, boat box, fly box, montana wild, sticker

Beers and a boat box, a nice combo

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, montana wild, nymphs, spring, apparel

Charlie Browntrout got fooled in the fast pocket water

Unfortunately we didn’t see any consistent rising action but the nymph fishing was consistent with orange scuds leading the pack and when the clouds rolled in the streamer fishing picked up a lot.  As we pulled the boat out on Day 1 we were blessed with a double rainbow.  God sure knows how to make some amazing places.

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, double rainbow, rainbow, river

DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, sunset, boat launch, raft

No bad days out here

After a full day on the river we headed back to Fort Smith and got settled into our room.  We got our gear situated, ate dinner and proceeded to watch Planet Earth.  Those guys do some crazy stuff with the camera!

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, yeti coolers, drift boat

Time to grab some zzz’s

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The work horses

The next morning we awoke to clear skies and a light breeze.  With a warm meal and some coffee in our stomachs we hit the water once again.  We floated through the top mile once again without a trout which is frustrating but then proceeded to find the fish in short order the rest of the day.

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, hooked up, bent fly rod, women, fishing

Maddie putting the rod and Travis’ net skills to work once again

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, brown trout

Brown trout’s stoke level: LOW

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, underwater photography, brown trout

Bighorn green with a touch of gold

Maddie had also decided she was going to put to bed the theory that bananas on a boat are bad luck.  We had three whole bananas in the boat on this day and Maddie proceeded to crush it and was the star of the day catching nice fish on nymphs and then going on a streak with the streamer.

banana, boat, drift boat, fishing, river, montana

Bananas on a boat is totally in right now

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, women, fish, hooked up, spring

Swinging streamers in the riffle water = bent rods

bighorn, river, montana, flyfishing, women who fish, fishing, streamer, simms

Crushing it in the new hat once again

underwater photography, brown trout, montana, bighorn river, trout

Thanks for the ride dude!

take out trout, montana fishing, sunset, streamer, release

Travis putting one back in sight of the take out.

Overall it was a killer couple days on the water.  If you haven’t made it to the Bighorn River you should do yourself a favor and scratch out a few days on the schedule and go.  If you do be sure to talk with the guys at the Bighorn Angler.  They’ll have a great selection of flies and gear, offer drift boat rentals and have some great lodging right there in Fort Smith.  With winter back in the forecast we’ll be back inside behind the computer but these trips go a long ways in helping keep your sanity during the long Montana winters.  Also be sure to take a look at our new Ladies Bison Trucker and either treat yourself to a new fishing hat or get that lady angler in your life a little something!  Shop here > Montana Wild Hats

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Photos by Zack & Travis Boughton

 

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10 Great Online Fishing Films

fishing, film, montana, trout

Fly fishing film.  It’s come a long ways in the last five years yet also remained surprisingly stagnant.  Technology has helped put the tools to create great film in almost everyone’s hands and documenting the sport has never been easier.  With a younger crowd pushing into the industry the look and feel of the content has slowly began to shift.  On the other hand it seems little progress has been made towards new and creative content.  Each year’s film tour is filled with the same storylines, slow-mo tarpon jumps, and exotic locations only the rich or connected few will ever see.  Some would disagree but hey that’s just my opinion.  The emergence of quality fishing films really started about 5-6 years ago in my opinion and since then there have been thousands of films made.  As filmmakers we continually look to progress the realm of fishing films and to some extent I think we have although not without ruffling a few feathers.  The fishing community can be a touchy bunch.  As such though we try to keep an eye on what other films are coming out and we appreciate the work others put into promoting the sport of fly fishing.  At the end of the day that is really what fishing film should be about, promoting the sport and passion for catching fish and as a result of that passion we want to protect the places those fish live.  With that said here are 10 of our favorites from over the years.  Over half of them are now two years old and to me that says something, I’ll let you interpret the meaning for yourselves.  Without further ado watch, enjoy and please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on remarkable fishing films you feel we may have overlooked!

Trout Is All

Rolf Nylinder is one exceptional filmmaker and storyteller.  He graces this list twice and for good reason.  His films have style and this film merges much of why we trout fish into one beautiful short film.  No egos, just fishing, beautiful places and rising trout.

Double Down

Shot five years ago this film is one that hasn’t lost any appeal since then.  Still moody as ever and filled with great fish and some great shots.  The underwater shot a 2:00 is still a personal favorite.

Mighty Mouse

Mice, trout, AK.  Need we say more?

Breathe

RC has become a beast behind the camera over the years.  From competing against him at the Simms Shoot Out in 2012 his progression has been rapid.  This film of his came out about 4 years ago but still rings true as ever.  Fishing is good for the soul and sometimes all you need is a deep breath and a fly rod in hand.

New Zealand – Dream Come True

Great music, big trout, & beautiful New Zealand.  This is a more recent piece and many fishing films have come out of NZ but this one we seemed to like a bit more than the rest.  Did we mention we’ve got a trip in the works?

Early Morning Jungle Poon

The music and editing might be a bit jarring but the shots at 1:40 and 3:00 are easily worth the admission.

Plan B

Faceless Fly Fishing has been around for a good long while and this film from 5 years ago is a classic.  Cutties, bull trout, browns, brookies and falling buildings.

The Field Coffee Diary – Ep4 – A Late Hatch

Rolf with more poetry in motion.

Streamers Inc.

Breaking the mold here with a funny parody about streamer fisherman.

Knocking On The Door

The next generation is here.  These guys are all about stoking out the next generation and embracing the next wave of anglers to take up fly fishing.

Picking only 10 makes it tough so please share with us in the comments some of your favorite fishing films that are free and online!

Zack Boughton

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BIG GULPS – Salmonfly Fishing SW Montana

salmonfly, fishing, montana, brown trout
salmonfly, nymph, montana, hatch

Pteronarcys californica

Late each spring salmonfly nymphs begin their migration towards banks, rock walls, logs, boulders and any other good structure where they can hatch.  The largest of stonefly here in Montana mean big food for all the fish in the river.  The hatch exists across the Western part of our state and in many areas across the Western half of the US.  It’s something anglers wait for and anticipate.  My first good taste of this hatch was in 2013 when good friend Dan “Rooster” Leavens, owner of the The Stonefly Inn, called me and said it was on.  I grabbed my camera and showed up for two great days of fishing.  Those days proved to be enough for a short film and Bareback Rider was created (watch below).

Since then we’ve fished the hatch in many places and had many memorable days.  This year we wanted to return to some of the areas that were quite renowned for their salmonfly fishing and take the camera out for a few days.  Fishing a massive dry fly is something I enjoy and love to capture.  This year we were able to get out ahead of the hatch and try to watch it progress and learn more of the intricacies of this impressive bug.

salmonfly fishing, montana, montanawild, film

Where they at?

Early on the fish didn’t key in on the dry.  As a few adults would begin to hatch you’d think it would be popping off at any second.  An hour later and you hadn’t had one fish rise to the big bug.  Nymphing, streamers and other small dries were the ticket to getting fish in the boat those first few days out.  As to be expected when the fish started looking up for the salmonfly the word got out.  It wasn’t unusual to see 10-20 trailers at all the main fishing access sites along the river.  Fish were to be had but catch a few and pull over for a quick photo and you just might get passed by a handful of boats.

salmonfly hatch, montana, fishing, brown trout

Travis kicking the morning off with a slab of butter.

Some days I didn’t know which was better, be out in front and be the first bug the fish see or sit back and let the other boats create the hatch.  We had big fish eat both ways and regardless of pressure you’ll always have those fish sitting in the spot that only 10% of anglers can either cast to or get a good drift through.

salmonfly hatch, bug, tula hats, babe, fishing

Sunny, warm days, salmonflies and pretty women in the front of the boat. Life is good.

brown trout, huge, big, massive, montana, salmonfly hatch, film, video

The “if you’re real lucky” salmonfly eater

At the end of the year we’d gotten enough shots to piece together a short film.  Monday the 9th we’ll release our latest fishing film, BIG GULPS, here on the website!

Zack Boughton

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Summer Fishing is Tight!

summer, fishing, montana

We’re now in the midst of summer and it’s a great time to be outside for most of the country.  Here in Montana its been a great summer so far.  Even though it’s not technically summer we think of June as summer anyways.  That’s when we start getting back out on the water in full force.  It’s a time for salmonflies, early mornings, brown trout, big dries, streamer eats, laughs, roadtrips, sunscreen and lots of great scenery.  This year we got to explore some new water in Southwest Montana and it didn’t fail to impress.  Did we mention summer fishing is tight!?

salmonfly, hatch, montana, bug

June is all about stoneflies!

salmonfly, hatch, montana, bighole, river, maddie, sieler

Maddie with an early morning brown trout caught on a salmonfly.

The salmonfly hatch is one that is no secret here in Montana.  It happens in most of the Western half of the state but at different times.  Trying to chase the hatch and learn what makes the bugs hatch and what makes the fish eat is something that you could spend a lifetime learning.  Whether you know what your doing or not it’s damn fun to watch a fish rise to a bug the size of your pinky!

salmonfly, bugs, hatch, montana, flies

The days menu.

madison, river, montana, fly fishing, salmonfly, sunrise

Early morning on the Madison. Sometimes it pays to be out early and other times it doesn’t.

fly fishing, montana, salmonfly, hatch, wild, madison, river

Travis striking gold on one of the first few days where the fish were looking up.

Once you’ve started throwing the salmonfly around it’s sure hard to put anything else on the end of your line.  Jumping from river to river though means you might be ahead or behind the hatch.  Sometimes you’re early or the fish are just too full to look up that day and things slow down considerably.  When you’ve had enough you tie on a streamer and see what happens, it usually works out to your advantage.

montana, wild, brown trout, streamers, summer

Who says you can’t fish streamers mid-day under the sun?

fishing, montana, salmonfly, hatch

Back to running banks with the salmonfly

fly fishing, montana, take-out, driftboats, summer

Don’t expect to have the rivers to yourself this time of year. Still plenty of fish and fun times to be had!

With summer comes our love for the smaller water tucked away in the backcountry of Montana.  It’s where we first developed our love for fly fishing and it seems we always carve out a little time to get back and throw dries to hungry trout.  The scenery isn’t bad either.

fishing, montana, backcountry, wild, trout

A little work is necessary to navigate some of these waters.

montana, fishing, summer, backcountry, cutthroat, trout

Enjoying the appetite of these native fish and the great places they live!

Even though we had a pretty solid winter, it seems our snowpack has burned off quickly.  Rivers are getting low and Hoot Owl is out on quite a few rivers now.  We generally shift our mindset over to hunting and scouting this time of year, but if you do get to spend some time on the rivers be sure to remember the fish are already worn down with the warming water and low flows.  Be looking for a new film to be dropping here next week!! Also, thanks to all who read and support our content. As a small thank you we will be offering free USA shipping to you through the remainder of July. Just use coupon code: FREESUMMER at checkout!

-Written by Zack Boughton

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The Spring Fish Window

big, brown, trout, montana

May is one weird month for fishing here in Montana.  The weather is warming up and the rivers tend to be all over the place.  Some years your only real option is the Missouri.  Other years you can fish in town the entire month of May with exceptional fishing.  It’s a month where staying local with the ability to hit the river at a moments notice can really pay off big.  This spring we had a big push of water come through for a few weeks.  Rivers were up with okay fishing if you knew all the right spots to target.  The Missouri was the obvious choice for many anglers.  It was crazy busy at times, but exceptional dry fly fishing could be had when the conditions lined up.  This past week though, all the local Missoula rivers dropped hard over the course of a few days.  Cold temps up high shut down runoff momentarily and the fish took note.  When Josh called saying I needed to fish tomorrow I listened.  Over time I’ve learned that when Josh says we need to fish he’s almost always right.  We met up early the next morning and took the raft out for a rip.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring

The brown trout were on the prowl.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring

More aggressive browns.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, wild

Montana Shark

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, wild

Chunky dude. Going into summer strong.

brown trout, bucknasty, montana, missoula, fishing, streamers, spring, big

Patience with the fly allowed Josh to hook this beast and a wild rodeo ensued. Fortunately he found the net.

We made an extra long float and I’m glad we did.  The action wasn’t consistent throughout the day.  The morning was hot and then things tapered off.  Sticking to the gameplan and fishing hard through the cold water kept us in the game and at the end of the day we’d definitely caught a healthy number of big brown trout.  Life is good!

Written by Zack Boughton

Images by Josh Rokosch and Zack Boughton

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Spring Is King

fly fishing, montana, rainbow trout

A lot of people ask us when our favorite time to fish is and while summer may provide warmer weather and more options to fish, spring is king in our book.

river, fly fishing, montana, spring, bitteroot, river

We simply mark spring as the time when the rivers lose their ice and temperatures start hitting the low 40s. The fish take note and if you can handle cold feet and hands, you’ll most likely land some of your biggest fish of the year.

brown, trout, fly, fishing, montana, spring, wild

Spring fishing is a tough bet if you’re not a local considering weather patterns this time of year can vary a ton! Those weather patterns also have a big impact on flows and river temps. If you live here though you’re in luck. Watching the weather will pay off and many beautiful days can be found in February, March and April. Having a flexible work schedule helps a lot as well.

fly, fishing, montana, spring, casting, back lit

Nymphing is going to be your big producer from February through mid March. If you’re not a purist throw on a worm and another nymph matching a local food source and you’ll be in business. It’s not flashy but it plain works. If you’re feeling a bit bolder, a streamer will pay off big time if you can push through the slow days that exist this early in the year.

brown, trout, fly, fishing, montana, streamer, spring, sitka gear

Anytime of day, any water type and any retrieve can and will pick up fish but a slow twitch or swing through slow 3-6’ of water tend to pick up the most fish this time of year. As the river temperature starts to tick upward the streamer bite can be off the charts and other than fall this is our favorite time to streamer fish.

streamer, brown trout, montana, spring, wild

Once we get into the last couple weeks of March we start to see the skwala stonefly emerge. This hatch brings the big boys out of hiding and fishing big dries this early in the year is very hard to beat. Expect crowds once the word is out, but if you know where to look you can still have some banner days under the Big Sky tossing a dry and getting some vicious eats.

spring, fishing, montana, sunny, trout, missoula

As we move into April we see some absolutely great fishing across the board and the weather is typically much nicer between spring storms.

rainbow, trout, fly fishing, montana, spring, simms, skwala

Typically runoff starts showing up in late April and early May and from then on we wait until things shape up in June. This spring has already shaped up to be one that we won’t quickly forget and we’re only half way through it. Expect to see more from this spring in the future!

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brown trout, fly fishing, montana, spring

-Zack

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FLOOD WATERS | New Film Release

flood, waters, high, water, fly fishing, montana, wild, brown, trout, film, video

Last spring we had a small window to fish a dry section of river that can only be fished during high water. With runoff in full force and cloudy conditions in the the forecast, we set out searching the flood waters for streamer chasing trout. Here is our latest short film FLOOD WATERS.

 

Our signature series of Elk Ridge Snapback hats from the film can be purchased here: http://montana-wild.com/store

-Travis

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The Gear Behind BUCKNASTY BROWNS

When planning a to shoot a multiple day film in a territory you are unfamiliar with, you need to plan ahead of time for every detail of the trip. The success of such a film/fishing project is no easy task, and one forgotten piece of gear could put the outcome of the film in jeopordy. The planning started back in January 2014. A night of tying flies for an upcoming steelhead trip, soon turned into a business meeting, accompanied by talk of searching the unknown waters of Oregon.

fly tying, montana, bully streamer

After picking our location and deciding on what dates would best fit our schedule, the plans were made. What gear to bring? What flies to fill our boxes? Food? Beer? Cameras? The list of unanswered questions seemed ominously long. First on our list was fly selection. After plenty of online research and phone calls, we found a man by the name of Nate, who owns Dry Fly Innovations. Nate runs an Idaho based fly tying company that produces some of the most detailed handcrafted flies we had ever seen. The word that kept pulsing the air was ‘small’. The bugs for success would be size 18-22 dry flies. After rummaging through a small selection of microscopic bugs that Nate had sent us, we knew this caliber of bugs were out of our fly tying league. I was used to tying large streamers and fluffy mouse imitations.

size 18, size 20, size 22, bugs, fly tying, midges

The location we were headed was full of mean, thuggish browns. With our dry fly stock planned, we also spent time filling our streamer boxes full of our own hand tied Lord of the Rings inspired streamers. We are firm believers in mouse patterns as well, and stocked a large quantity of foam mouse patterns.

fly tying, mouse patterns, brown trout, streamersNext was fly rods. With the notion of catching 20″+ browns, we made sure to load our rod case with a couple Orvis Helios2 7wts 9′ tip flex rods. Our dry fly presentations would be slung by Orvis Helios2 5wts 9′ tip flex rods and an Orvis Superfine Glass 4wt (the ultimate miniscule bug slinger). The fly rods would be accompanied with an assortment of Bozeman Reel Co RS Series reels and Orvis Mirage reels. Using some of the best rods, fly lines, and reels on the market, we had no excuses other than angler performance for bad casts.

orvis, helios2, bozeman reel co, rs series, 5wt, tip flex, 7wt

sceintific anlgers, fly line, sharkwave, vpt, mastery series, best, shooting

We had recently visited with some fellow anglers about the new Scientific Angler Sharkwave fly lines, and the talk was impressive. After numerous calls and emails, we were stoked to have Scientific Anglers on board for our project, and even more hyped to put some of their new lines to the the test. The Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Ultimate Trout lines would be our go to on 5wt and their Mastery Series VPT 4wt line on the Superfine glass. For our deep running 7wt lines we chose to spool up the Streamer Express WF-200-S, which is still the best sinking line I have ever casted.

scientific anglers, sharkwave, mastery, series, fly line, best

Tippet and leaders were full on SA fluorocarbon, keeping the end of our lines hidden from even the spookiest brown trout.

scientific anglers, fluorocarbon, leaders, tippet

Our trip would occur during Montana’s runoff. This time of year has weather that can change daily, so waders were a mandatory item on our trip. The Simms G4 & G3 waders were packed, alongside the new easy on/off G4 Boa Boot. We beat the crap out of our boots and waders, being predominantly wade fisherman. Nothing ruins a fishing trip like leaky waders, and knowing we were backed by the best waders in the business had our minds at ease.

smms, g4, guide, wader, stockingfoot, fly fishing

simms, g4, boa, boot, fly fishingGlasses. Our #1 tactic for hooking fish and filming it at a top notch level during this trip was to spot fish from high overlooks and then plan an attack. We needed our sunglasses to cut through surface glare and the Polarized ChromaPop Smith Optics were the perfect lens for the job.

smith optics, chromapop, fly fishing, fishing, montana wild, f3t, bucknasty browns, simms g4Most of our filming shots took lots of time to plan in order to be executed correctly. Pulling double angles without interference required us to first, spot a bucknasty brown trout, and then setup the cameras appropriately. Without knowing where the fish was going to feed on a size 20 bug made the chance of capturing the shot very difficult. Fortunately, we had great success finding fish from above and capturing some amazing fish eats during the trip.

fly fishing, sunglasses, polarized, chromapop, smith optics, montana wild, f3t, bucknasty browns

Once our main fly fishing gear was dialed, we planned food, camp locations, and beverages. Doing multiple days, we needed our food to stay cold without spoiling and chose to bring both the Yeti Tundra 75 and Yeti Tundra 50 for beverages.

food cooler, hunting, yeti coolers, tundra

We loaded the Yeti 50 with an assortment of our favorite Big Sky Brewery beers and energy drinks.

Yeti Coolers, tundra, big sky breweryWith our Decked truckbed unit, we were able to organize and pack all our cameras, fly fishing gear, food, coolers, and other misc items for three people to live comfortably for numerous days.

decked, truck, bed, organizerIf it weren’t for the extra layer of storage in the DECKED drawers, I don’t think the trip would have been possible in one vehicle. After grabbing our last odd and ends at the Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop, we were set and ready for adventure.

 

Make sure to check out our film Bucknasty Browns at the 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour.

 

 

-Travis

 

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BUCKNASTY BROWNS TEASER

Here is the teaser for our 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour film submission BUCKNASTY BROWNS. Be looking for the full-length feature this January.

 

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Instagram: @bucknastybrowns #bucknastybrowns