Category Archives: Uncategorized

Take Me to the River

by Corey Hockett

If you haven’t noticed, Montana is home to a unique and dynamic web of water. It’s likely one of the reasons you’re here, to some degree or another. Be it a meandering stream or furious, technical whitewater; a committing excursion deep in the backcountry or a casual float after work; in Bozeman, there are paddling opportunities galore.

Booze Cruise
Come summertime, nothing beats shedding the shirt and floating down a river, relaxed as can be. Maybe you want to cast a fly or lure, or maybe you just want to sit back, have a few laughs, and enjoy a cold one or three. Regardless, the carefree floater enjoys plenty of options.

The Madison is most notably known for its trout fishing or rowdy whitewater in Bear Trap Canyon, but further downstream the river mellows into a meandering channel before meeting up with the Gallatin and Jefferson to form the Missouri. If you’re looking for calm water on the Madison, check out the stretch between I-90 and the Headwaters. Mind you, most of the surrounding land is private, so stay within the high-water mark.

Another peaceful waterway is the Jefferson—you won’t find anything but flat water. There are a number of stretches popular with paddleboards, inner tubes, and rafts. Our favorite is Sappington Bridge to Williams Bridge.

At the top of the list is one of Bozeman’s most famous chill floats: the renowned Bikini Hatch on the Madison. This lies between Warm Springs and Black’s Ford, near the town of Norris. Over July and August, thousands of folks tie together inflatables and caravan to the takeout. Enjoy the water and company, but find yourself a designated driver ahead of time, as with the rest of these floats.

Boogie Water
Whitewater comes at many levels and consistencies, and if you’re learning a new craft, or don’t want to soil your wetsuit, it’s nice to have some boogie water to play in. Lucky for you, there’s no shortage ‘round here. Check out these spots when you’re feeling a little spicy, but want to keep it within reason.

Over in Paradise Valley, the Yellowstone is a lively river with sections ranging from Class I-IV, depending on levels. The Gardiner Town Stretch between downtown and Corwin Springs is an excellent intermediate run. While nothing too serious, the waves are consistent and playful. Further downstream, east of Livingston, you’ll find more of the same, albeit bigger water and less regular. Between Springdale and Greycliff, there are a number of places to put in and take out, and each comes with its own set of intermittent rapids. For surfers and advanced kayakers, the Springdale wave offers supreme surfing at higher flows.

For some smaller water, but just as bumpy of a ride, the Gallatin between Deer Creek and the Lava Lake trailhead is a zone to relish. In this 10-mile section, there are over six Class II/III wave trains. This is a popular stretch among rafters, advanced canoeists, and intermediate kayakers. 

Meat Hungry
If you boat long enough and enjoy provoking your adrenal gland every now and again, big whitewater is sure to scratch your itch. Around Bozeman, there are three fabled runs that are proper Class IV during high water. While each is different in its own way, enter any one of them underprepared and you will come out humbled—or not at all.

The first is Yankee Jim Canyon on the Yellowstone. This four-mile section contains three burly rapids that have flipped rafts, swallowed kayaks, and sent many folks on long, cold swims. At flows over 15,000 cfs, expect big laterals, haystack waves, and swirly eddy lines.

The second is close to home and Bozeman’s most popular after-work run: the Mad Mile. While most folks will link this up with a longer section of river up or downstream, the actual mile starts at the 35mph bridge (Lava Lake trailhead) and ends at the Upper Storm Castle turnout. Smaller and more technical than Yankee Jim, the Mad Mile will have kayakers bracing, rafters high-siding, and the unfit swimming.

Last but not least is perhaps Bozeman’s most treasured. Bear Trap Canyon below Ennis Dam on the Madison offers boaters a one-day Wilderness experience with excellent fishing and some stout whitewater to boot—none of which is more famous than the legendary Kitchen Sink. Put in just below the dam for Double Drop, the other Class IV, and take out at Warm Springs on Hwy. 84. While not the most direct shuttle, the remoteness of the river and quality of the paddling is well worth the longer drive.

Gear
With every activity comes a spread of accessories, some of them necessary, some of them not. Before even asking yourself which type of craft you’ll be using, acquire a life jacket. Even if you don’t plan on using one, Montana law mandates that you have one in possession. A PFD should be number-one on your checklist.

Then figure out how much time you’ll be spending on the water and in what form. If the answer is on a raft, infrequently, you might not need a lot. But if you’re looking to paddle whitewater multiple months of the year, your gear list is going to grow. Along with paddles or oars, helmets and throw bags should be next on the list. For smaller crafts such as kayaks and packrafts, consider getting a drysuit or dry top. It won’t feel good to spend the money, but staying warm in frigid waters is a beautiful thing. If you decide you’re really into it, look into getting some river booties for your feet and pogies (paddle gloves) for your hands.

Etiquette
As with all outdoor activities, there’s an etiquette to river life. One of the biggest things to remain conscious of is clogging up the boat ramp. On popular stretches, we can have dozens of boaters looking to put in at the same place on any given Saturday. If you have a larger craft (raft or driftboat), be efficient with your time on the ramp. Unload your vessel and get out of the way. Putting on sunscreen can wait.

On the water, be mindful of everyone else you may encounter. If you see someone wade-fishing downstream, do your best to stay out of his way. Unless there’s something to be avoided, like a strainer or a big hole, paddle or row to the other side of the river when you pass. As well, be cognizant of other watercraft not in your party, especially in or above rapids. If your group is traveling faster than another group downstream and passing them seems natural, that’s fine. But give a judicious berth or at least communicate, and definitely don’t surprise them in the middle of a rapid.

If something happens between you and another group that rubs you the wrong way, let it be known, but don’t get worked up about it. At the end of the day, we all share at least a little common ground—we all want to be on the water and we’re lucky enough to enjoy that water in Montana. With basic respect and communication, we can all get along just fine.

Events
One of the best ways to get immersed in the world of paddling is to surround yourself with people who know best. Check out some or all of these events to meet, greet, and get out on the water with like-minded folk.

June
Gallatin Whitewater Festival – Bozeman. Head down Hwy. 191 for some of springtime’s finest action. Suit up and race for time over waves and through holes down the renowned Mad Mile. facebook.com.

Wednesdays
Community Paddling Day – Bozeman. Meet like-minded folks of similar skillsets and paddle a section of choice down the Gallatin. wavetrainkayakteam.com.

Mondays & Wednesdays
Intermediate Classes – Bozeman. Join Wave Train Kayak to work on your bracing, edging, and dialing in your roll before amping it up on the big stuff. wavetrainkayakteam.com.

Tuesdays & Thursdays
Advanced Classes – Bozeman. Test your pucker factor with Wave Train Kayak through some of Bozeman’s testiest water. wavetrainkayakteam.com.

Editor’s note: Dates are subject to change based on weather and other factors. For the most updated information, visit outsidebozeman.com/events.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

by David Tucker

Picture this: you and a couple of friends have been touring all morning, leisurely approaching your objective as the sun swings around the southern sky. You checked the report and conditions are moderately dangerous, but the terrain you’ve selected is relatively low-angle, so you and your partners decide the coast is clear, full steam ahead.

Once your team is above the bowl you plan to ski, and ready to drop in, everyone double-checks gear and confirms one final time that the slope is good to go. The gentleman you are, you let a friend drop in first.

And then the slope slides.

Your team is experienced and prepared, so everyone switches quickly into rescue mode. Once you pick up a signal from your buried partner, you hone in on her location. But you got a new beacon for Christmas and haven’t taken the time to learn its ins and outs. You’re now useless. I’ll dig, you think, but your shovel is old and the handle sticks, meaning it’s half as long as it should be and inefficient. As a last resort, you reach into your pack for your probe. But you’re carrying more gear than usual and with gloves on, have trouble removing your probe from your overstuffed pack.

Luckily, the rest of your team was on point. Your partner’s only partially buried, so she’s dug out and safe in a few short minutes—time to debrief. Even though you had all the gear, your lack of pre-trip preparation rendered it useless when the shit hit the fan. Here’s what you should have done.

Practice with New Gear
Or old gear, for that matter. If you upgrade your safety tools, make sure you know how to use them. There are great new options on the market today, but they only work as well as their rescuer. The more you know about your equipment, the better. The Gallatin national Forest Avalanche Center (GNFAC) buries beacons at Beall Park in Bozeman, and Bridger Bowl ski patrol does the same below the South Bowl. These are great resources to take advantage of. The next time you’re up at the hill, take an hour to practice using your equipment in zero-consequence terrain.

This goes for your shovel and probe as well. Even small changes in materials and design can confuse a new user, costing a buried victim precious seconds. New gear might have features your old stuff didn’t, and if you’re unfamiliar with them, you might be exposing partners to unnecessary risk. Practice, practice, practice.

Dial in Your Kit
This is important and usually overlooked. Even if you are familiar and well-versed in your gear, the way it is arranged in your pack might have consequences. For instance, I recently started taking more pictures in the backcountry, meaning I carry a camera and case now. This takes up a lot of space and impedes my ability to efficiently remove items from my pack. I was recently practicing with some new gear and removing my shovel and probe turned into a total junk-show. I got frustrated and lost focus. When you’re packing gear, make sure the rescue tools slide out easily and are at hand, not buried deep. Most packs have tool-specific pockets now, but even so, a tightly packed bag can make retrieval difficult. Run at-home tests before venturing into the backcountry.

Take a Course
Even if you have already. Do yourself a favor and take refreshers every winter. Even if you just stop by a free hour-long presentation, you’ll get new information and learn about current conditions. Protocols change, technology develops, and trends shift—stay up to date. GNFAC runs seminars all over town, and MSU hosts multi-day intro and advanced level courses for cheap. If you’re ready to take the next step, local guides like Montana Alpine Adventures and Beartooth Powder Guides have courses all winter long.

It’s never too early—nor late—to refresh skills, procedures, and education. We’ll be skiing well into May (hopefully), so you have more than enough time to get the experience you need to stay safe.

The Bozeman Code

by Drew Pogge

Hey you!

Howdy. Welcome to town. Now that you’re here, it’s your responsibility to help us keep Bozeman the kind of place that attracted all of us here in the first place. There are plenty of examples of places that have been loved to death—please don’t Boulder-up our town. Here are a few things you should know about living here so it—and we—will survive.

#1: Slow it down. Everything. There’s no need for road rage or impatience at the coffee shop. We’re all headed in the same direction and you’ll get there when you get there. A relaxed Montana mosey is a benefit of living here—don’t be an uptight ass.

#2: Lend a hand. Forget the East Coast “What’s in it for me?” attitude. Here, we look out for one another. Hold that door, let that car into traffic, and if someone looks like they need help, ask. The next time you’re stuck in a ditch, we’ll surely return the favor.

#3: Buy local. For the love of all that is good and sweet and dear, don’t let Bozeman become like Colorado’s Front Range chain-store purgatory. Just because we have an Olive Garden doesn’t mean you should eat there. And shop local—Amazon should be a last resort.

#4: Don’t be a cliché or try to play a role. Just because you live in Montana doesn’t make you a cowboy or a Patagonia fashion model. We like you just the way you are, so have fun and forget the BS Bozeman “image.”

#5: Get yourself some outdoor education. Before you can become a verifiable badass skier, climber, paddler, hunter, or angler, you need to know how to handle yourself in an emergency. Take a Wilderness First Aid class and an avalanche course, hire a guide for a day or two, and apprentice with some experienced friends. Trial and error is for cooking, not outdoor survival.

#6: Don’t become a snob. Yes, Bozeman is incredibly awesome, but the rest of Montana is pretty amazing too. No one likes arrogance or entitlement—least of all people who live in “real” Montana. Step outside the Bozeman bubble when you get the chance.

#7: Learn about the history of this valley and its residents. More genuine badasses have graced these forests and canyons than almost anywhere else, from Jim Bridger and John Colter to Jack Tackle and Alex Lowe. Know who they are and emulate them.

#8: Try something new every season. Hunt, fish, climb, bike, ski, ride—there’s always a new challenge.

#9: Work harder than you play. But play pretty damn hard.

#10: Enjoy every day. This is a place you’ll always remember, even if you decide the winters are too cold and you go back to California. Make the most of your time here, be it five months or 50 years.

Bozeman’s Back Yard

By Phil Knight

It’s finally summer in the Bozone—the perfect time to save up some cash, take a break from schoolwork, and most importantly, enjoy the outdoors and beautiful weather. Where to go when adventure is calling? If time is tight, stay close without compromising fun and adventure. Just 20 minutes from downtown Bozeman lies one of the world’s greatest multisport mountain playgrounds: Hyalite. In this wild canyon and the surrounding peaks, you can pretty much do it all.

CoreyHockett_Hyalite-1

A great way to experience Hyalite Reservoir

This has long been the go-to place for locals seeking their mountain fix. But Hyalite has matured from a place to shoot old televisions, cut firewood, and get your truck stuck to a sophisticated adventure Mecca. Motorized recreation has been scaled back in favor of human-powered pursuits and wildlife conservation. The road up to Hyalite is paved, clean and right next to a stream great for fishing, making the way up to Hyalite an easy drive.

DavidTucker-BlackmoreSaddle_001

Views from the Mount Blackmore trail

Hyalite’s trail system is legendary and offers anything from an easy stroll to weeklong expeditions through the heart of a 500,000-acre roadless area. Throw in heaps of spectacular waterfalls, like Grotto, Palisade, and Horsetail, and it’s hard to find more classic hikes. Epic mountain biking also awaits, with favorite rides including History Rock trail into South Cottonwood Canyon, the East Fork trail to Emerald Lake, and the easier West Shore Trail along Hyalite Reservoir.

CoreyHockett_Hyalite-12

Hyalite Reservoir

Brim-full early in the summer, the reservoir is a paradise for boaters seeking still water. Stand-up paddleboarders look like lost surfers, families putt along in overloaded outboards bristling with fishing poles and dogs, and couples enjoying evening picnics paddle by canoe or kayak. Hardy scuba divers train in the chilly depths of the snowmelt-fed water and boaters jump ship to take a cool swim—just watch the sunken stumps. There’s great fishing year-round, and in winter, ice fishers set up shop on the frozen tabletop. More remote lakes beckon from the backcountry, offering awesome lakeside camping and fishing.

MariaSanderson-Waterfall

Shower Falls up the Hyalite Creek trail

You want wildlife, Hyalite’s got it—even wolves and grizzly bears are making a comeback here in the north end of the Gallatin Range. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep skitter across ridge tops, golden eagles ride the thermals, moose lurk in the deep woods, and coyotes cruise for stray poodles.

Though Hyalite is close enough to Bozeman for great day tripping, you can also pitch your tent or park your camper at Langhor, Hood Creek, or Chisholm campgrounds. Or, if you prefer a fully equipped cabin, reserve the Window Rocks or Maxey cabins—both accessible by car.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-24-at-3.17.41-PM

One of Hyalite’s full-time residents

Hyalite By the Numbers
forest service trailheads
500,000 roadless acres
campgrounds
2 vehicle accessible rental cabins
2 day-use areas, including a pavilion with fireplace and wood-fired grills
2 wheelchair-accessible trails (grotto falls and palisade falls)
1 trout-filled reservoir
1 trout-filled alpine lakes
2 trout-filled creeks
5 daily trout limit
40,000 monthly visitors during the summer

Are you a Bozemanite?

Whether this is your first year in Bozeman or your fifth, the question inevitably arises: are you a true Bozemanite? Take our quiz to find out if Bozeman is really the place for you.
1. Do you plan your MSU class schedule so that you can make it up to the ski hill at least three days a week?
2. In the fall and spring, do you wear shorts underneath snow pants, to be prepared for any kind of weather?
3. Do you know at least three dogs named Bridger or Madison, and maybe one or two people?
4. Do you understand what the Barmuda triangle means?
5. Do you wait until July to remove your snow tires?
6. Do you start ski training in August?
7. Do you eat ramen all year so that you can afford outdoor gear?
8. Are cuts, bruises, and abrasions a source of endless story-telling
rather than intolerable pain?
9. Have you worn Birkenstocks or Chacos with socks?
10. Does a “study day” involve throwing a couple books into your pack and heading up to the hill, whether it be to hike or ski?
11. Have you gone skiing every month of the year?
12. Have you danced the night away at Music on Main?
13. Have you guided your car through a cattle drive on a state
highway?
14. Do you drive a Subaru?
15. Have you gotten up before dawn to go fishing?
16. Have you entered in at least one of Outside Bozeman’s contests in an attempt to score awesome gear?
17. Do you float the Madison or Jefferson every summer?
18. Have you watched live music at Norris Hot Springs while your hair forms icicles?
19. Have you gone extreme sledding down Peets Hill, sans helmet and knee pads?
20. Do you chuckle good-naturedly at the antics of obvious out-of-staters, calling them “tourons”?
———————————————————————-
0 points: What the heck are you doing here? If all you do is study and sleep, might as well be in Kansas or Nebraska.
1-6 points: You’re not a total loser, but you are pretty pathetic. Throw away the Valium, wipe the slobber off your chin, and explore this awesome town we call home.
7-13 points: Not a bad start, but you’ve got plenty of work to do. Keep doing what you’re doing; if you need some guidance, check out the MSU Pocket Guide and Outside Bozeman magazine.

14-20 points: Congratulations, you’re a Bozemanite! Now, the bad news: you’ll never be able to leave this awesome place, and for the rest of your life, envious house guests will take over your living room every summer and winter.

Higher Calling

by the editors

A climbing adventure guide for the rookies and the vets.

Living in Bozeman, you’ve probably noticed that the Rocky Mountains are aptly named. Limestone, sandstone, granite, gneiss—we’ve got rocks galore, and that means tons of climbing opportunities await. Getting vertical is in our DNA here, so whether you’re new to the sport, or a veteran looking to tick off the classics, read on for a primer on where to go, what to bring, and how to learn to climb safer and harder.

 

Photo by Brian Grossenbacher

Flexin’ up the mountain.

Gear

Check out Spire Climbing Center to pick up essential gear locally. A 60-meter rope is sufficient for most Bozeman-area climbs, though longer routes are going up in places like Wolverine Bowl, where a 70-meter rope may become handier. And dust off those tricams—they can be super helpful for protecting pocketed limestone routes, of which there are many.

If you’re just getting started, take a lesson or attend a clinic at Spire—the good folks there will help you select the appropriate shoes, harness, and belay device to get you climbing quickly and safely. Do NOT buy used climbing gear at pawn shops or on Craigslist—it’s beyond sketchy, as you never know what it’s been through. You can also check out the Outdoor Rec Center on campus for gear.

 

A classic summer sight around the Bozone.

A classic summer sight around the Bozone.

Crags/Routes

Right off Hwy. 191 near the 35mph bridge, Gallatin Canyon has dozens of routes and bouldering problems, great history, beautiful scenery, and easy access. The canyon is largely traditional climbing, but there is a smattering of bolted climbs as well. Many of the older routes are appropriately sandbagged, so climb with gusto. Skyline Arete (5.6, six pitches) is a classic crowd-pleaser, and shouldn’t be missed. Step up to the ultra-classic, perfect parallel cracks of Sparerib (5.8, two pitches), Diesel Driver (5.9) or virtually anything on Gallatin Tower (5.8-5.13 options).

Bozeman’s pet crag, Practice Rock, delivers a convenient pump after class or before work. Head up S. 19th, turn on Hyalite Canyon Rd. and continue for 3.1 miles. Park in the pullout on the right, and slog up the talus. Forgot your trad rack? Most of the routes can be top-roped by hiking around to the right; just use caution when doing so. Hundreds, maybe thousands of climbers have experienced their first climb or trad lead on routes like Strawberry Crack (5.7), Jerry’s Route (5.8+), and Rosebush Crack (5.9). Make sure to check out the splitter gear line of Theoretically (5.10c)—it’s a must-send.

If clipping bolts is your jam, head to Bozeman Pass. Limestone routes from 5.6-5.13 are clustered among fins and faces, with relatively quick and easy access off I-90 at Trail Creek Rd. You may also want to check out Bozeman’s coolest—both scenery-wise, and temperature-wise—sport-climbing crag at Wolverine Bowl, in the Bridgers. It’s a longer drive and about an hour-long hike to the base of the climbs, but the steep limestone has some of the best friction around, and route development has been progressing nicely here (though mostly at harder grades). Check out The Beat Connection (5.10b) and Hate Street Dialogue (5.11b) for sure.

 

Photo by Beth Johnson

Live-action cliffhanger.

Events

Want to meet some new partners? Get together and spray with like-minded rock nerds? Drink beer and climb rocks? So do we. There are several events each year in southwest Montana that bring the climbing community together. Here are the highlights.

September 21
Tour de Hyalite – Hyalite Canyon. In September, competitors run 14 miles up to Hyalite Peak and back, then climb the five hardest routes they can at Practice Rock to reduce their time—the harder the routes, the faster your time! Details here.

September  [Exact Dates TBD]
Butte Bouldering Bash – Butte. If cruxing out is more your style, check out the annual Butte Bouldering Bash in October. There’s a competition, raffle, food, and a LOT of awesome granite boulders. Check it out on Facebook here.

November 9
Full Gravity Day – Bozeman. Before getting lost in a sea of finals, solve some boulder problems at Spire. This is the largest bouldering event in the Northern Rockies, so even if you aren’t competing, it’s worth checking out for the scene. Take a look at last year’s finals here.

December 11-15
Bozeman Ice Festival – Bozeman. Trade chalk for ice axes, and shoes for crampons, at the 22nd annual Bozeman Ice Fest. Expect on-ice clinics in Hyalite, gear demos from industry leaders, an adventure film festival, and much more. Details here.

April [Exact Date TBD]
Spring Fling – Finally, kick off the spring climbing season at Spire, with their Spring Fling rope competition. There are adult and youth classes, and spandex is encouraged—it’s that kind of event. Details will be posted here when the date is announced. Meanwhile, get psyched watching 2017′s competition.

For an up-to-date list of events around town check out Outside Bozeman’s event calendar.

 

Locations

Looking to pick up a print copy of the Blue Light Guide? Here’s where you can find us:

On Campus                                         
Admissions/New Student Services
SUB Cafeteria
Office of Student Success
Hannon Hall
Hapner Hall
North and South Hedges
Langford Hall
Outdoor Recreation Center
Roskie Hall
The Renee Library
The Outdoor Rec Center



Off Campus/Around Bozeman
Bozeman Health
Daily
Paulie’s
Bridger Brewing
Taco Montes
Spire Climbing Center
Wild Joes
Cafe M
International Coffee Traders
Town & Country
Bridger Bowl
REI
Bridger Brewing

Streaming Service

by the editors

A fishing guide for the attendees of Trout U.

Ever wonder why Montana State is nicknamed Trout U? Because the Bozeman area’s got some of the best trout water in the world, that’s why. You have the privilege of taking classes less than an hour from three top-notch trout streams, and dozens of other fishing options. From alpine lakes in the backcountry to valley streams near town, MSU truly is an angler’s paradise.

If you’re new to the sport or new to the area, the first thing you’ll want to do is grab a copy of the Cast fishing guide. This local publication is full of everything you need to know about fishing in southwest Montana, from matching the hatch to how to get geared up. Once you have your bearings, you need only head to the river. With a little practice—and patience—you’ll be catching your limit in no time. Here’s some basic information to get you started.

The ultimate getaway.

The ultimate getaway.

Essential Gear

Walk into any outdoor store or fly shop, and the quantity, diversity, and variation—not to mention prices—of fishing gear can be overwhelming. Luckily, it’s not all essential to having fun and catching fish. A good all-around setup will keep you casting and catching all season, without breaking the bank.

For fly fishing, you’ll need a rod, reel, line, leader, and tippet. A good 9-foot, 5-weight, fast-action rod should handle everything from lightweight dry flies to heavier streamers. Match it with a 5-weight reel and a WF5 (weight-forward 5-weight) fly line. A 9-foot 5X leader and a range of tippet material, from 2X-6X, should accommodate most scenarios. Confused yet? Don’t worry; it makes sense once it’s all in your hands.

 

Every summer day is a good day for fly fishing.

Every day is a good day for fishing.

 

Next, get yourself some waders and wading boots, especially if you plan to fish in late fall, winter, and/or early spring. Be sure to use a wading belt so your waders don’t fill with water in the event of a plunge. Polarized sunglasses are great for spotting fish, although they can be expensive and are certainly not required.

Organize your flies in a fly box or sleeve; bring nippers for trimming line, floatant to keep your dry flies on top of the water, and pliers or forceps to removing hooks. Pack it all into a small chest-pack, butt-pack, or vest to keep it organized.

 

Brown trout, Yellowstone River

Brown trout, Yellowstone River

Where to Go

Hyalite Creek
The road to Hyalite Reservoir follows this creek and there are plenty of pullouts. Small rainbow trout are plentiful, and a well-presented dry fly will almost certainly entice a strike. For slightly larger fish, head up to the reservoir.

Gallatin River
The valley’s namesake waterway is a great option, thanks to its abundant public access, proximity to town, and high numbers of fish. Whether you fish the upper river in Gallatin Canyon or the lower section out in the valley, taking the time to walk a little ways from your car provides solitude and better fishing. The lower stretch holds larger fish and can provide good dry-fly fishing, especially on cloudy days. Cameron Bridge, Axtell Bridge, and Williams Bridge are all great starting points. Further south, Hwy. 191 follows the river through the canyon on the way to Big Sky and numerous pullouts access the river.

Beartrap Canyon.

Bear Trap Canyon.

 

Lower Madison River / Bear Trap Canyon
Head west and reach the picturesque Bear Trap in less than 30 minutes. From the trailhead, hike along the east side of the river to access nearly eight miles of pocket-water, deep holes, and weedbeds. Generally speaking, this section of river is not known as a dry-fly haven, and it’s not the easiest place to learn how to properly drift an artificial fly. But if you’re after a big brown, the Madison’s your spot. Strip big, ugly streamers like a zonker, double bunny, or wool-head sculpin.

Events

The fishing calendar is full January through December, but certain events stand out. From film festivals to fly-tying clinics, there’s always something for the trout enthusiast. Below are a few highlights; for more, check out Outside Bozeman’s event calendar.

Wednesdays
Fly-tying – Big Sky. Every Wednesday evening, all year long, the pros at Gallatin River Guides teach a fly-tying class. The atmosphere is informal, so whether you’ve tied flies before or not, it’s a great opportunity to work on your skills. Details here.

August 29
Upper Gallatin River Cleanup – Big Sky. Before you get too bogged down in schoolwork, lend a helping hand to the good folks at the Gallatin River Task Force. Clean rivers mean healthy fish, and healthy fish mean good fishing. Details here.

August 30 – August 31
Fly Fishing & Outdoor Festival – Ennis. If you fish, odds are you’ll be spending lots of time in Ennis, a drinking town with a fishing problem about an hour west of Bozeman. Celebrate the end of summer with vendors from throughout the industry and activities including fly-tying demos, casting clinics, and more. Details here.

September 13-14
Trout Spey Days – West Yellowstone. Whether you’ve heard of spey casting or not, this event is sure to be intriguing. The legendary fly shop Big Sky Anglers hosts a weekend of classroom seminars and on-water clinics, all in the fishing hamlet of West Yellowstone, just outside the Park. Details here.

November 3
All waters close to fishing – Yellowstone National Park. After a long summer and a productive fall, it’s time to give the Park’s trout a break for the long winter ahead. They’ll be well-rested and hungry come spring. 

February 23
TroutFest Banquet – Bozeman. The Madison-Gallatin chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) hosts its annual fundraiser every February. The local TU chapter is instrumental in fighting for access, keeping rivers clean, and keeping trout healthy. Details here.

The Spirit of Summer

Music on Main defines the summer season in Bozeman.

by Tyler Gobin

Music reverberated off the buildings as the smell of wood-fired pizza drifted through the crowd. The sun sunk behind the brick buildings of Main Street, casting a shadow to cool down the street. People young and old filled the air with a steady hum of chatter as we made our way through the crowd. In front of the stage at Main and Bozeman, everybody was energized and dancing as the Young Dubliners  projected their Irish sound through the crowd.  Another quintessential Music on Main — not to be missed and an iconic element of summertime in Bozeman.

Starting in late June, when the weather becomes (somewhat) more predictable, locals crowd into three blocks of downtown Bozeman, where bands entertain, food vendors satisfy, and sponsors showcase their swag.

The 2019 lineup does not disappoint, and the crowds have only grown as the summer progresses. So far, each week has seen a tremendous turnout, with Mother Nature’s surprising cooperation. And the night the Young Dubliners played was no exception.

Jamming to the Young Dubliners at Music on Main

Jamming to the Young Dubliners

It began with me urging my reluctant roommate to get up and head downtown. Grabbing our bikes, we pedaled toward the sound of music.  As we drew near, we could feel the energy building. It seemed as though the entire town was migrating by car, bike, or foot toward the pulsing musical vortex.

Is everybody in town here?

Is the entire town here?

The crowd was a melting pot of ages, incomes, and attitudes; the smell of noodles and pizza permeated the air. Walking among the masses, an irrepressible smile overtook my face. It seemed the whole crowd had a little snap in their step, a thrill to their voices, and a glow to their smiles.

Another fun summer evening

Much of this euphoria, I found, was people’s appreciation of a fun social culmination to a great summer day spent outdoors. Among other anecdotes, I overheard a couple guys describe their adventure to Ross Peak  it included a bike ride to the saddle where they dismounted and set out on foot toward the summit. They climbed up, struggled down, and loved every moment of it. Now they were here, dancing and laughing and raising beer cups to an incredible day in the Bozone.

For my part, I ran into people from both work and school, and also made completely new friends. Before I knew it, my roommate’s reluctance had changed to boundless enthusiasm, and I could barely keep up with him as he mingled and danced around the street.

Dancing to the music

Caught up in the music

There’s an unspoken agreement among Bozemanites that everyone must go to Music on Main at least once — the idea being, it’s the people who make it great, so it’s one’s civic duty to attend. Now in its second decade, the event has become a summer staple for locals and visitors alike. Kudos to the Downtown Bozeman Association, which organizes the event, and to you — the people of Bozeman — for making Music on Main such a success.

For more information, visit downtownbozeman.org

Poke the Bear

A Griz and a Bobcat walk into a bar… 

by the editors

Cat-Griz-Helmets_LR

The Cat-Griz rivalry is a nasty one, and we’re here to throw some salt on the wound. At this year’s annual gridiron get-together, keep one or two of these up your sleeve.

  • Why do Griz grads put their diplomas on the dashboards of their cars?
    To qualify for handicapped parking.
  • What do you call a Grizzly with a Big Sky Conference championship ring?
    A thief.
  • What’s the difference between the Griz and a dollar bill?
    You can still get four quarters out of a dollar.
  • What does the average UM player get on his SATs?
    Drool.
  • How do you get a UM grad off your porch?
    Pay him for the pizza.
  • What are the longest three years of a UM football player’s life?
    Freshman year.
  • How many UM freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
    Not sure—that’s a sophomore course at UM.
  • Do you know why the Griz were considering changing their team name to “the Possums”?
    Because they play dead at home and get killed on the road.
  • What’s the difference between a Griz fan and a carp?
    One is a bottom-feeding scum-sucker—the other is a fish.