About two and a half years ago while in grad school I met a trio of native students through the small native community on my school’s campus. They were from Montana. They were the kind of natives who listened to country music, frequented rodeos, hunted and fished. Having grown up in the heart of Seattle with sirens singing, traffic in a constant waltz and twinkling city lights this lifestyle was all too fascinating to me.

Once, while a group of us were hanging out I noticed a row of threads on a shelf next to a variety of tiny tools. I thought to myself, ‘hmmm… he must sew, how interesting.’ Being an avid quilter and dressmaker, mainly as a pastime hobby, I was allured by this set up of his. I asked, “Hey Cody, do you sew or something?” He told me, “No, I tie flies.” Intrigued, I asked “What do you mean flies?” With eyes a little more alert he began to bring out boxes and boxes of flies, explaining their every purpose and ideal environment. I asked if I could try making one and he proceeded to explain how difficult they were to tie. With one eyebrow slightly raised and a ‘try me’ look on my face he was reluctant but allowed me to use his tools and materials to tie my first fly. When I was done he took it from me, glanced at it from all angles and said “wow, I can’t believe that’s your first fly. That’s incredible.”

You see, I’m the kind of person that looks at something and knows whether or not I am up for the challenge. Through my years of sewing and level of comfort using thread I knew I could do it and that I would enjoy it. Before ever casting a rod or really even understanding what fly fishing was I had already tied a half box worth of flies- some from existing patterns but many of my own creation from things I had found around the house. That August I went to Montana and ended up fly fishing for the first time with Cody and his dad on the Jocko River of the Flathead Indian Reservation. I ended up catching my first fish on the fly using the first fly I had tied. At that moment the fishing gene that was passed down from my grandfather to my father to me had been summoned and I was instantly and absolutely in love with fly fishing.

Story by Ruth Sims
Photography by Megan Taylor

LINK (via: Filson Life)


  1. Only Montana Wild (the doucebags) have spent more time hashtagging and blasting this little streams name out into the web. Please stop! The Tribe has spent a lot of money and resources trying to turn it into a place bull trout can spawn. It is now seeing way more pressure than it can handle and is being over fished.

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