Clark Fork River Montana

First Annual Skwala Fest

What are we celebrating? Why take the time? Is it a reason to hop in a boat and go fishing? Is it an excuse to go snag good beer and awesome food for a party? Have we gathered a pile of amazing prizes for the joy of selling raffle tickets? All this is true, but it’s much more then that.

This event is a celebration of the Clark Fork River, as well as a recognition of how much trouble the upper Clark Fork is having. Fish counts have fallen drastically above Drummond, and Trout Unlimited’s Clark Fork River Project is diligently working and studying the situation. They haven’t cracked it yet, but given enough time, they will. But keeping MT TU on task above Drummond isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap, which is why we’re launching the first annual Skwala Fest.

This event is a fundraiser, with proceeds going to Trout Unlmited’s Clark Fork River Project to continue their study and rehabilitation of the upper Clark Fork. This is a chance to give back to a river that gives Missoula so much. Kettle House is on board. They’re sponsoring a pint night in March, with a donation for every beer poured that night, as well as providing beer for the April 4th party. Simms, Douglas, Winston, Outcast and so many other manufacturers are on board, donating products to spice up the day with the chance of taking home an amazing prize or two. The goal is to raise as much money as we can, funding the continuing efforts to raise fish counts to their historic levels. We owe it to the fly fishers who come after us to leave the rivers in as good shape as we’ve found and enjoyed them.

There are so many ways you can participate. On April 4th, 12 local guides have donated their time and skills, in prime Skwala season, to float donors down the river. The cost per seat is $275.00. It’s a full guided day on the river, with some one else rowing and supplying the flies! It’s a chance to learn what people who spend 150 days a year on the water have found out. And of course, it’s a boatload of fun!! If floating isn’t your bag, think about this.

We have received three large donations from our suppliers. They understand the value of river rehabilitation, and have put their money where their mouth is. Simms has donated one of any item in their entire catalog as a prize. Sure, you could get new laces for your boots, or a pair of fleece gloves, but we might recommend shooting a bit higher! Douglas has donated a Sky 9′ 5wt rod, which has won George Anderson’s shootout multiple times. And Outcast has donated a one man pontoon boat, opening up vast stretches of river that are inaccessible to a wading fisherman. We are raffling these items off as single items, and you can buy tickets at the shop, or Pint Night. You can buy tickets over the phone, or you can stop by the shop and get your chance at one of these great prizes.

And of course, we’re throwing a party! Kettle House has donated the beer, and Fresh Market has donated the food! On April 4th, the Missoulian Angler will be rocking, with beverage, chow and a purpose. It’s the last chance to buy tickets for Simms gear, the Douglas Sky and the Outcast pontoon boat. Additionally, there will be many raffle prizes donated by local businesses and conservation minded customers. This is the chance to come to the shop for dinner, camaraderie and beverage, with conservation on your mind. We’re looking to raise $10,000.00 to keep these projects going, and we can’t do it without you. So while you’re floating, eating and drinking, be mindfuil that the real purpose of this event is to help bring fish counts in the upper Clark Fork River back to where they should be. We hope to see you floating, we hope to see you on Pint Night, and on April 4th at the shop to celebrate the chance to do a lot of good for the Upper Clark Fork.

Click below to the event home page for additional info, list of prizes and fundraiser progress.