Four veteran participants of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) visited Montana June 20-24, 2017 to sample the outstanding trout fishing in the greater Bozeman area.  They fished a variety of water, including small spring creeks, spring fed ponds, the famous Madison River, and a rushing tailwater in a rugged badlands canyon.  Of course, the scenery was spectacular, making it sometimes hard to pay attention to the fishing.

“This was an AWESOME trip.  The fishing was phenomenal and the scenery was breathtaking.” 

Attending this special destination trip were SgtMaj (ret) Tim Sansbury, USMC and TSGT (ret) Jeff Story, USAF (both from our Tennessee Valley Region) and Mike Hauser, U.S. Army and SSG (ret) Marco Garcia, U.S. Army (both from our South Central Region)

Trip Lead Bob Frey, and his wife Pat, have usually hosted this group in their home in years past.  However, due to circumstances beyond everyone’s control, we had to seek alternative arrangements at the last minute.  And the community stepped right up — providing a spacious condo for accommodations and several local restaurants donated fine meals for the veterans!  We’re honored by the continued support of the Frey’s and thankful for the tremendous generosity of the greater Bozeman community.

The fishing at times was challenging, but each of the participants were up to it.  The volunteer guides, all expert anglers, went “above and beyond” to get them into fish at every opportunity.  During the trip it was notable that everyone’s casting and line control improved during their time in Montana.

Jeff Story, USAF (ret) with a nice Odell Creek rainbow trout

A special treat was the opportunity to wet a line in Willow Creek, a tailwater fishery, where everyone caught dozens of gorgeous, hard fighting rainbows and browns.

“I cannot tell you how many fish we caught but 20 plus each would not be an over estimation. We missed or lost as many fish as we caught the action was very fast all day!” – SGTMAJ (ret) Timothy Sansbury, USMC

Tim Sansbury with a nice Willow Creek brown trout

The weather was absolutely spectacular, with brilliant sunshine, temps in the 80’s, and (except for one afternoon) only moderate winds.  Wet wading was the order of the day for most.

Project Healing Waters thanks all the volunteers and vendors that so generously contributed their time, expertise, equipment, lodging, and meals to make this trip possible.  The four participants raved about the experience, and all vowed to return to Montana, “The Last Best Place,” to again fish its spectacular waters.

Mike Hauser, Jeff Story, Tim Sansbury, Bob Frey and Marco Garcia