Written by: John McKinnie, Lone Mountain Ranch
Last weekend, the U.S. Youth Fly Fishing Team held a clinic at Lone Mountain Ranch. Heading into the event, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, since this is my first exposure to competitive fly fishing. I just knew that we would have a group of energetic, fishy, kids. There were varying skill levels: some kids who are currently on the traveling USA team and some kids who just love to fish and are interested in pursuing competition angling.
The clinic was focused on Loch-style fishing, and we spent two days on Hyalite Reservoir just outside of Bozeman, Montana. Hyalite is known for its healthy populations of cutthroat trout, brook trout and arctic grayling. Regardless of the skill level among the anglers, everyone caught fish, but more importantly, everyone learned some new tricks and skills.
For me, the overriding theme was that these kids just love having fun on the water! I am sure that they put on their “game faces” when in a true competition, but they were a great reminder that fishing is about having fun and spending time on the water with friends. It was awesome to see all the sharing of information, exchanging fly patterns, helping with techniques and supporting of each other. I think all of us adult, veteran anglers should take a few notes.
We were very happy to host the team, coaches, and board members, and it sounds like there is the potential for this to be an annual event at Lone Mountain Ranch.
John McKinnie is the Fly-Fishing Manager at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana.