There it went, like that big brown that broke you off on the Blackfoot. The Orvis Guide Rendezvous 2015 hit Missoula this past week, bringing with it more fishy dudes than a Widespread Panic concert parking lot. Three days of great guest lecturers, fish stories from all corners, and some fly dunking in between, all culminating in the near infamous “Down the Hatch” festival at Caras Park and the Wilma Theater. As always, Orvis put on a great show and a great spread.
|The fishing may have slowed down a bit during the Orvis Guide Rendezvous. But just a little bit. Brown trout on the Bitterroot don’t care about guide conferences. Jayme Erickson with fine specimen from the first day’s float.|
While the conferences and networking were excellent, the fishing was tough out there for some of the visitors. But no one was complaining too loud about getting on the water in western Montana in spring. With new floating product on display from Adipose Boatworks, NRS, Watermaster, Clackacraft, StreamTech, Sotar and Montana Raft Frames, guides and outfitters had a lot of beautiful boat choices to drool over – when they weren’t too busy checking out the awesome new rods and other products from Orvis.
Those who think that Orvis only makes great dog beds and madras shorts need to get the new Recon rod in their hands and give it a shot. What a great rod for a mid-range price! If you’re a trout bum on a budget, this rod is one you can feel confident forking the funds over for. I have a feeling there will be some shuttle bums on the Blackfoot tossing one of these in the back of the rig this summer. Slick packaging, a super durable rod tube and a stick that can get it done when the trucks are moved and the caddis are coming off. The rest of the lineup this year from the Helios 2 through the Superfine Glass all were impressive sticks, and if you are in the market for a new rod you’ve got to get down to your local shop and give one a few test rips.
Conservation-minded fly anglers know that Trout Unlimited are doing all they can to keep cold water fisheries from disappearing, but they might not realize just how much Orvis is involved in protecting our rivers. And TU and Orvis aren’t alone in the fight. There are some lesser known organizations that need our help. Some great work is being done out there, and some important local and national issues were addressed- whether it be the Smith River here in Montana, or the wild steelhead runs of the pacific Northwest, it’s time for all of us to get involved. I’ll highlight some of the organizations that are fighting the good fight in separate articles as the week goes on, and how you can get involved from right where you’re sitting.
As the week came to a close at the Wilma Theater with some killer film offerings, the inimitable Hank Patterson was on hand to let all the guides in the room know that our way of life is the best way of life, and coming from an expert like him it sure carries weight. Thanks to Orvis, all the presenters and all the sponsors for great event, and safe travels to all the friends making their way back home today. We hope to see you all back here in Missoula again next year! Have a safe and successful season on your home waters, and we’ll keep the barstools at Charlie B’s warm for you while you’re gone.