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"Best Sport in the World" - Montana Fly Fishing 100 Years Ago - 1914

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Promoting Piscatorial Sports - 1914

A week ago today an extra coach was added to the equipment of the Northern Pacific’s local afternoon passenger train to Butte. This coach left Missoula empty but before it reached Butte it and other cars of the train were crowded even to standing room. The coach came back here smelling like a fish car. This told the story of the success of more than a hundred fishermen who had taken advantage of the holiday and the special rates for fishermen and come to western Montana’s various fishing streams to enjoy a few hours of the best sport in the world.

There is no significance in this incident except as it tends to show the tremendous interest there is in fly fishing in Montana and how important a factor trout fishing has become to the happiness and prosperity of the state’s people. A week ago the fishing season had scarcely opened. High water season was at its peak. Streams were bank full and the water was muddy. Yet the anglers were so keen to make an early beginning and so sure that they would be rewarded for their pains, even under these unfavorable conditions, that they ventured forth in great numbers. The Butte crowd is just an example. There were hundreds of other crowds from cities and towns within reach of the best fishing streams, which helped make up the stream-whipping army that day.

The above is an excerpt from a Missoulian article on June 7, 1914. It may be hard to believe that Montana’s fly fishing frenzy is well over 100 years old, and preceded the tome, “A River Runs Through It” by approximately ¾ of a century. But, rest easy Montanians, your prize fishing secrets were well known before any of us sank a line, and will no doubt still be cherished long after you have drowned your last fly.

Below is a link to the article referenced above. It covered an entire page.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025316/1914-06-07/ed-1/seq-17/