They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we need every villager we can find at this point. No one is less prepared to handle the rigors of this pandemic than children, and few are being hit harder. Uprooted from their routine, hearing disturbing news they barely understand, adjusting to new home situations without the safety net of their friends. It’s a testament to children and parents that the kids are still sane. It feels like every day, one more thing is taken from kids’ covid-tinged lives. The county fairs. Summer camps. Little League and Soccer. And as always, because kids don’t pay taxes, they get the short end of the stick.
The Missoulian Angler is part of the village. We see what’s happening, and we said we need to do something about it. Instead of taking, we’re going to add something. We’re working with a handful of Missoula’s most eager and professional guides to offer kids between the ages of 9 and 18 a day on the water for $260, done and dusted. Flies, tackle, the whole nine is provided. The price of $260 is for 1 or 2 kids.
How can we offer this for $260? First, the Missoulian Angler doesn’t take a dime for these services. That’s the easy part. Then we’re looking to the future with our Missoula fly fishing guides. It’s a tough business, guiding. A great job with lots of perks, but a tough business. 2020, and this will shock you, is not looking all that rosy for guiding and tourism. If we can get some deserving guides a few extra days on the water, that may well mean the difference between staying a guide or heading off to find new employment. This pandemic is going to end, and we’re going to need guides down the road. If they’ve all sought greener pastures, then what do we do when we need them again? We’re not trying to hide anything. This will help us in the long run, and bring some much needed days on the water to some of our guides in the short run.
It’s also a chance to introduce some kids to the joys of fly fishing, and get others back on the water, with a guide who can sharpen their burgeoning skills. Let’s be frank. It gets kids out of the house, out of the yard, out of the Covid routine. It’s a bit of an adventure, its new, its different, it’s a chance to be excited, not bored. Struggling for a learning tool for outside the classroom education? Our guides don’t just row boats and say “10 to 2!” They point out wildlife. They talk about biology and how trout interact with their environment. They talk about ecology and our place in this crowded, polluted world, and why its important to protect the environment. It’s not one dimensional. It’s a full-on experience, a common denominator for so many who live in Montana.
There are a couple of other caveats to the deal. We’re sorry, but this is open to Montana residents only. We don’t know what the response will be, but if it goes country wide, we might not have enough Montana fly fishing guides in the state! And Montana is a giant village, huge but interconnected. We’re staying in our village. To minimize any chance of contagion, we ask that kids meet the guides at the river, and they’re picked up at the river take out at the end of the day. We will keep the trip close to town to limit driving distance for parents. Trips will run from about 9am-2pm. We will also be disinfecting gear and any other frequently touch surfaces before each trip.
For so many, Montana fly fishing is an important piece of their lives. The Missoulian Angler fly shop wants to help pass that along, as well as help some of most afflicted and least represented covid-affected people in the state. It’s a chance to say, “Let’s pull together right now, provide a way we can help, and do it.” If you’re reading this and want to help but don’t have kids, talk to your neighbors that do. Or get in touch with us and donate a trip. We’ll find deserving young anglers to fill your generously provided seats.
Because we’re a village. It’s the children who are going to inherit this covid-scarred world. They can either do it having had a miserable, awful time, or they can do it knowing a ray of sunshine appears even on the darkest days. It’s up to all of us to find ways to bring that sunshine into these times for our kids. We think we’ve found a way.
Rivers probably won’t fish for another few weeks, so keep that in mind when asking for a float date. But after that, we want to take kids on the water all summer. If you have questions, call us at the shop at 728-7766. No, we’re not going to cure covid with a few float trips. But we are going to provide a bright spot for kids that have been cooped up and bored for the last 3 months. It’s our way of doing our part to shine some light in these darker times. We hope to hear from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and get some kids on the water. It’s a Montana tradition to help your neighbors. It’s a Montana tradition to recreate and fish in our amazing state. Every little bit helps. We’re so excited to see how many we can help.
What if you are an adult, but want to float with your child, or niece, or grandchild? We get it! So we’re also offering a one adult, one child float for $395.OO. Still a huge savings, and you’ll be on the water sharing the same experience. Since you’ll be bringing the child, the trip can range a bit further from town. We understand you might want to be a part of the day! This is how to make it happen!
Trips are limited to guides availability.