Some of our new clients ask us how many we are allowed to keep when fishing, or how many coolers should they bring to take home their catch. This is always a touchy subject but many people do not understand how valuable our trout are to us and our local economy. I do not think that you would be able to find a guide, outfitter or fly shop in the state that would allow this.
First of all, they are our business partners. Without them I wouldn't have had an income in this industry for the past 20 years.
Second, many people do not realize that all our rivers in Montana are all wild trout. There hasn’t been any stocking of planted trout in our rivers since 1974. Forty two years later, the trout population has tripled, and we have hard fighting, wild, trout that are held in high regard by anglers all over the world.
People also ask if they can just keep one, for dinner. Unfortunately, we do not make any exceptions on our policy of catch and release. There are over 300 guides and outfitters in our area, and many work at least 100 days a year. If we just kept one trout a day we would deplete our trout populations and decimate our livelihood in a very short time.
Many people just want to take their trophy fish home to have it put on the wall. This is totally understandable. We want you to treasure that moment you had and remember who you were with, but hardly any taxidermist these days do the old style skin mounts. Most are just replicas of your trophy and the trout ends up in the dumpster behind the shop. We are all for getting a great picture of your trout, taping it out for the dimensions and then letting you pick your own taxidermist to keep that memory forever.
We hold our trout in very high regard and want to share them with you but also want them to be a memory for as many people as possible. This is why we practice catch and release here in Montana.