Updated 6/16/2020

Big Sky Anglers is currently open for business in both the fly shop and our outfitting service, and looking forward to seeing you! Our lodging facility, the Golden Stone Inn, is now open and fully operational with updated cleaning standards. Please refer to this blog post for current updates as this situation progresses during the fishing season.

Current Status

Idaho: We are currently running guide trips on the Henry’s Fork in Idaho, visiting anglers can now purchase non-resident and resident fishing licenses at this time.

Montana: Guiding is legal in Montana at this time, and the governor has lifted the 14 day quarantine requirement as of June 1. 

Yellowstone National Park: As of June 1, YNP is open and all gates are operational.  Fishing is open per the YNP fishing regulations.

Operating Procedures

The following plan outlines Big Sky Anglers’ current operating procedures in both our fly shop and our guide service. It is our focus to implement procedures that ensure the safety, health, and well-being of both our employees and our customers. This is a fluid situation requiring an adaptable plan, and we will be updating these procedures as the season and situation unfolds. This blog post will have the latest updates.

Goals

-Ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers
-Implement procedures that prevent and minimize the transmission of Covid-19
-Comply with federal, state, and various government agency mandates

Big Sky Anglers Outfitting Operations

The safety of our customers and employees is paramount to us, we acknowledge that in order to ensure this safety active participation must take place on both the guide’s and the customers’ part. We thank you for acting responsibly and for taking the following precautions.

These operating protocols are mandatory for all guided fishing trips with Big Sky Anglers. We are allowing 1-2 anglers per float trip, and up to 3 on a walk/wade trip. Social distancing standards are strongly recommended, when at all possible.

Pre-Trip

-Guides will discuss the night before where clients are coming from and try to understand what their level of exposure is. Any symptomatic conditions on the part of guide or client serve as basis for cancellation of trip at no penalty to customer or guide.

-Guide will discuss fishing options, needed gear, and advise customer which license to purchase for the fishing day. License sales will not occur in the fly shop and must be organized externally.

MT licenses online: app.mt.gov
ID licenses online: idfg.huntfishidaho.net

-Guide trips will meet outside the fly shop or at the destination. Please no hand shaking or hugs; smiles, fist bumps, and toe touches are all good form and are encouraged.

Transportation

-We are recommending that customers drive their own vehicle to the accesses and have their own shuttles run.

-Fishing customers are welcome to ride in guides’ vehicles if preferred or necessary. Face masks must be worn by both customers and guides if in a shared vehicle. Guides will have face masks available for customer use. Windows cracked to ventilate.

-Guides are required to wipe down all “hot spots” in their vehicles after parking and before locking at boat ramps to ensure safety of shuttle drivers. Also, we are asking that you leave one set of both hand sanitizer and wipes in your vehicle and available to the shuttle driver should they need them.

-We have corresponded with shuttle companies and all companies we use will be implementing sanitary measures into their workflow. Shuttle drivers will wear face masks, gloves, and wipe down contact spots in vehicle prior to and after running shuttles.

During Trip

-We highly recommend that guides and clients cover their noses and mouths when 6’ of distance cannot be maintained, the use of buffs or face masks is encouraged. Guides should ask customers at the beginning of trip if the customer prefers a face mask be worn by the guide and be prepared to do so. We understand that our customers have a range of feelings about Covid-19 and it is our goal to ensure that everyone is comfortable on our guided fishing trips.

-Guide vehicles will be sanitized before and after each trip, wiping all “hot spot” zones such as: seats, armrests, door handles, window cranks/buttons, steering wheel, gear shifts, seat belts and buckles, etc.

-Guides must make available a set of sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer within reach of each customer at all times as well as have their own set within their own reach. These are not to be shared, rather each person must have access within reach of their own supply.

-Boats must be wiped with sanitizing wipes between each guide trip and prior to clients entering the boat for the day’s fishing.

-Terminal tackle will be handled by the guide alone. There is no way to avoid guides handling this tackle during the course of the day, so the responsibility to maintain terminal tackle falls into the guide’s care exclusively.

-Lunches will be prepared by a subcontractor and guides will never touch the interior contents of the sack lunch. Exterior of sacks will be wiped with a sanitizing cloth prior to entering guide’s lunch cooler/storage. Guides will have a separate cooler for lunches and will be required to sanitize hands and put on nitrile/latex gloves prior to serving customers their lunches.

-Beverages will be sanitized by wiping before handing to guests from guides’ cooler. Guides’ coolers are to be sanitized after each trip with a bleach solution or sanitizing wipes. Please keep your reusable water bottles out of your cooler, this will be a good year to invest in good quality, insulated bottles that can stay out.

Big Sky Anglers Fly Shop

-We have established a maximum combined number of 10 customers allowed in the shop at any one time, and will be assigning an employee per shift to operate in the front of the store, managing the flow of traffic, welcoming guests, and assisting in any way possible serve our customers’ needs.

-“Fly Tackle Takeout” or curbside service is available for those customers who prefer not to enter our fly shop. Orders can be called in ahead of time and we’ll have them ready for you to pickup at your convenience. Call the shop at 406.646.7801 to get started.

-We are designing an education plan for customers to purchase fishing licenses ahead of time on their mobile devices for both MT and ID to reduce the bottleneck of license traffic in the store.

-We have signage posted asking our customers to respect social distancing norms

-We have installed plexiglass sneeze guards at registers

-We have made “sanitizing stations” available to customers upon entry and upon checkout.

-We are requiring that face masks be worn by all staff while in the fly shop.

-We have introduced cleaning/sterilization practices that take place throughout the day:

  1. Counter wiped and sterilized in front of each customer.
  2. Credit Card terminal wiped prior to each customer use.
  3. Customer offered hand sanitizer after checkout.
  4. Signage posted indicating to customers that browsing and selecting of flies be executed with tweezers from a marked “sterile” container and another “non-sterile” container present for used tweezers to be placed in.
  5. Bathroom is closed to the public and will be cleaned/sanitized at beginning and end of each shift.
  6. All employees are prohibited from coming to work if they are showing symptoms of being ill.
  7. All employees are required to have their temperature taken at the beginning of their shift. Anyone registering a fever will be required to return home.