DIVIDE — The long pandemic is giving people cabin fever and those in Montana’s fly fishing and guiding business expect to benefit from it this summer.
“It’s going to be a strong summer. Hopefully we have enough water, that’s always the hope, and I know we’ll all work together and there’s no doubt we’re going to be all busy,” said Craig Jones, owner of Great Divide Outfitters.
Web traffic analysts report increased searches for flights to recreation destinations like Montana.
“You know, recreation and flyfishing is something that you can do and do fairly safe and going on a guided trip is a safe option as well,” said The Stonefly Fly Shop co-owner Mike Marcum.
Fly shops in the Butte and the Big Hole River area are seeing increased business and more people booking guided trips this summer.
“Our outfitter and guide friends are booking lots of trips early and even booking through 2021 and in to 2022 already,” said Marcum.
Jones added, “We’re booked as much as we ever have been in the past and it’s great.”
And when the floaters begin to launch into the Big Hole River this summer, it’s going to be not only good for the guiding industry, but it’s going to be good for the local economy and the towns all around here.
“They’re renting from the folks up the valley and they’re eating down at the Hitchin’ Post down in Melrose, it does spread around really well. This business in particular has a way of kind of infiltrating all the businesses all around us,” said Jones.
According to Similarweb, Southwest Airlines leads the online search race with 25 million monthly visits to its webpage followed by American Airlines at 21 million with Montana among the top destinations.