Montana Wounded Warriors were invited to the Riverstone Ranch, just south of Big Timber in McLeod, MT, for a fly fishing trip of a lifetime. Three wounded warriors and their wives, Luke and Tamara Thomasson, Johnny and Ginger Byers and Reo and Michelle Phillips, enjoyed 5 days of absolutely awesome accommodations and hospitality.
After settling in on Monday, the 14th, the ranch manager, Craig Greenlee, took everyone on a tour of the ranch, showing us their different fishing holes. This was just a small taste of the adventure that was ahead.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we met up with George Anderson of Big Timber Fly Fishing. The Yellowstone and Boulder Rivers were running really high from snow melt after the long winter, so George suggested we go to a couple of smaller lakes and try our luck fly fishing for rainbows and browns. The weather was spectacular with bright sunshine and beautiful views of the Crazy Mountains. Each couple was in their own boat with their guide, who helped those not experienced at fly fishing. After a few pointers from the guides everyone hit the water. The fishing was incredible. There was constant action from the fish hitting our flies and many large fish were netted. These lakes were catch and release, so after photo ops of our vets and their wives with their fish, they went back in the water. Both days were very successful with everybody catching their largest fish ever on a fly line. This truly was a once in a lifetime fishing experience.
On Thursday, we headed up to Big Timber to take a tour of the Shiloh Sharps gun manufacturing facility. We were shown how Shiloh Sharps reproduces the Buffalo Guns of the late 1800’s. These rifles, chambered in the older cartridges including the famous 45-70, are beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. Seeing how these guns are made was just a bonus to the already awesome trip.
Then we headed down to the Natural Bridge where the winter runoff of the Boulder River comes down through a rock tunnel, and when the water is high enough, flows over the tunnel as well as through it. We hiked around and explored many angles of this incredible rock formation created by the force of water. Then we headed back to the Riverstone Lodge. After lunch, we headed out to shoot sporting clays on the lodge’s course. Everyone enjoyed the challenge in the amazing setting.
Thank you to the lodge managers, Craig and Deb Greenlee, as well as their staff for their incredible hospitality. Thank you also to George and all the guides at Big Timber Fly Fishing for the great couple of days they showed our vets on the water.