Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Little Montana Town with a Big Fishing Habit

To say that Fly fishing is big in Montana is a gross understatement!  But nowhere is that more evident than in Ennis, a small river town that proclaims itself “the fly fishing capital of the world.”  Ennis sits on the fabled Madison River which is regarded for its highest trout-per-mile populations in Montana, thus creating a fishing mecca.  It has been called a “working cowboy town with a serious fishing habit!”  Don't know how to fly fish?  Don't worry there are plenty of outfitters and guides that will teach you.  And for you non-RV'ers there are plenty of hotels and lodges that are ready to invite you in.
Flies come in all sizes, shapes, color patterns, materials, and are really fun to look at.  We stopped in at The Tackle Shop and got the low down on what was what.

"Streamers" which are made to resemble minnows
and fish below the surface.
"Fat Albert" flies

We like the names too.

A downtown statue celebrating fly fishing.
The Madison begins its nearly 140-mile journey in Yellowstone National Park and meanders through scenic valleys on its way to the Missouri River.  Considered by some as the premier fly fishing river as it regularly produces ample rewards for novice and experienced anglers.  Back in the 1930's and 1940's, anglers would frequently catch their limit of 25 fish per day and five pounders were not an exception.  Limits slowly decreased over the years in order to protect the resource.  Fisheries management and regulations require that a portion of the river is set aside for sport fishing only, mandating catch-and-release techniques.  These conservation efforts ensure a natural diversity and abundance that will continue to support the sport.

When the fish aren’t biting, the delightful downtown caters to tourists with an eclectic mix of western art galleries, antique shops, clothing boutiques, outdoor stores, restaurants, and yes, fly shops.  We arrived early afternoon and made a bee-line for the Yesterdays Soda Fountain and Restaurant and their milkshakes.  Our friends Janna and Mike told us about them and the recommendation did not disappoint.  Don’t worry about the calories, it is more important to support local businesses!

Downtown Ennis looking at the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains.
In two days, we visited the soda fountain twice.
A mocha milkshake.....Betsy already ate the cherry!
The town is very proud of their fishing reputation.  "Fish Out of Water" was a community project designed to bring added value to the Madison County, raise money for local charities and bring an appreciation and awareness of art to the community.  In 2009, the sculptures were auctioned off and now adorn some of the towns businesses.  The highest price fish sold for $10,500.

      "Montana Water Dreams"                                             

"Madison Memories"                    
"Aurora Fishyalis"                                   

                                 "Montana Petroglyphs"                       

More downtown sculptures reflecting the cowboy heritage.
And the towns wildlife.
You would think two girls that have lived in the hurricane zone would be used to some strong winds, but this is definitely some of the worst winds we have experienced in the motorhome.  Both nights we pulled all our slides in and hunkered down.  Winds were sustained at 20 mph but gusted up to 49 mph and flapping our slide topper awnings.  We wondered at what point do motorhomes roll over?  Seems everybody else in the RV park is not worried because they seem to be going about business as usual.  The locals call these winds "valley winds" and shrug their shoulders when we ask if they are normal.  Guess they are!

Ennis sits in the Madison Valley
Upper Bear Trap Canyon adjacent to Ennis Lake where we hiked a
horse trail to the top of that wall.
Great place for a hike - with a name like "bear trap" and a sign like this, maybe we should have gotten back in the car.  We made Spirit go first on the trail.
Ennis Lake
Our campground with a beautiful back drop, Ennis RV Village Campground.
Where to go next?

1 comment:

  1. Knew you guys would love Ennis but I don't see any photos of the quilt store???


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