Fly-fishing getaways in Montana

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 10-16, 1997
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Fly-fishing getaways in Montana

Fly-fishing getaways in Montana
Question: My wife and I are going to Sun Valley for a family vacation the week of August 9-16. We plan to stay an extra week and travel a bit, just the two of us. We are thinking about Montana, but I only want to spend about four hours driving to our new destination. We are young and like to hike and fly-fish. Any suggestions as to a cool place to hang our hat the second week?

Bo Boulenger
Homestead, FL
[email protected]

Breathtaking Montana rivers
offer world-class fly-fishing

Adventure Adviser: If you’re willing to spend a bit more than four hours in the car, the Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana, is the quintessential Western experience.

Twenty miles north of the northwest corner of Yellowstone, the 160-acre ranch offers meticulously kept streamside cabins with stone-hearth fireplaces and pine furniture. Horses are plentiful, but because fly-fishing is a priority, you may want to opt for the week-long fly-fishing package that includes an Orvis-trained guide, and four days of instruction on various rivers, including the Gallatin, where A River Runs Through It was filmed.

When you’re not fishing, you can hike to Beehive Basin in the Gallatin National Forest, a 9,000-foot cirque where you may be lucky enough to run into a moose. When you come back starved from your eight-hour hike, you can look forward to ultra-gourmet meals from the Dutch chef. Unfortunately, luxury like this doesn’t come cheap. Packages start at approximately $2,500. Call 406-995-4644 for more details.

Closer to Sun Valley — and minus the hefty price tag — is the small community of Stanley at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains and the White Cloud Peaks — an area with more than 300 lakes in a 20-mile radius. Approximately an hour’s drive northwest of Sun Valley, Stanley is the rustic outdoorperson’s haven. Because of frigid winter temperatures, the town hasn’t broken the 100-person population mark. But in summer, the place bustles with rafters, fisherman, campers, and backpackers. There are plenty of local motor inns in Stanley, but you may want to try the Salmon River Lodge (208-774-3422), in Lower Stanley, across the river from Highway 75. The cabins face the Sawtooths and you could practically drop a line in the river from the front door. Prices range from $55-$60 per night.

Another option is the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, 9 miles south of Stanley off Highway 75. Lodging, breakfast, and dinner is included in the price, and you have your choice of cabins, deluxe cabins, or a room in the 1930s-era log lodge. There is 1 mile of footage on the Salmon River for fly-fishing, and you have your choice of hiking on the 1,000-acre property at the foot of the Cloud Peaks or driving 15 minutes to trailheads in the Sawtooths. Cabin rates are $100 per person for 1-2 nights, $87 per person for three to six nights, and $80 per person for seven or more nights. Call 208-774-3544 for more information.

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