Our Story

The Trout Shop

The original Trout Shop was in the back of what is now Eagles Store, at the corner of Yellowstone Avenue and Canyon Street. The shop moved to its well-known spot at Madison and Canyon, currently occupied by Big Sky Anglers, in 1967. Bud and his family ran the shop proudly until 1982. A series of owners, including our friends Jim and Anne Criner, Dick Greene, and Barbara Klesel, continued the tradition until Big Sky Anglers purchased the business in 2016.

Bud Lilly

Bud Lilly founded the modern Trout Shop in 1950 when he purchased the inventory of a small tackle shop originally founded by Don Martinez (perhaps West Yellowstone’s original fly fishing expert) from Charles Borberg. Much has been written about Bud, a World War II veteran and one of the pioneers of guided fishing in Yellowstone Country. Bud casts a long shadow across the fly fishing world, having mentored many of the next generations of angling legends. His efforts and personality, along with others, paved the way for all of us who have made lives through fly fishing. For that, we will forever be grateful.

The Legacy Continues

The legacy of Bud Lilly lives on here at Big Sky Anglers. Bud was a legendary angler and advocate for the conservation and protection of wild trout and their habitat in southwest Montana, Yellowstone Park, and beyond. His message to fellow anglers rings as true today as it did when he started all of this over 65 years ago. We believe that the most profound of Bud’s ideals was that of being a well-rounded angler and participating in fishing for what he called “The Total Experience”.

Our Story

A passion for fish, wild places, and adventure under the Big Sky

A passion for fish, wild places, and adventure under the Big Sky has drawn together the Big Sky Anglers family. We are an eclectic, dedicated, knowledgeable, hard-working, fun-loving, band of passionate anglers who on any given day would rather have a rod in our hand than absolutely anything else, anywhere. 

It’s not only catching fish that unites Big Sky Anglers, it’s the love of the sport and the places it takes us. Enjoying our natural surroundings and unique geology, experiencing the local birds and wildlife, participating in local culture, and doing it all in chosen solitude or in the company of friends and loved ones; that’s what completes the angling experience and keeps our passion strong.

Mastering our craft, and sharing our passion, knowledge, and experience with others; that’s what drives us. From Big Sky Country to Patagonia and beyond, the relationships that we build, the memories that we make, and the adventures that we share are the fruits of our labor. 

meet the owners & managers

Justin Spence

Meet Justino

Jonathan Heames

meet jonathan

Steve Hoovler

meet hoovie

Marco Ross

meet marco

Matt Klara

meet matt

Patrick Johnson

meet patrick


The Guide Staff

At Big Sky Anglers, we’re more than just fishing guides. We are stewards, outdoorsmen, naturalists and conservationists who do what we do because fishing is who we are and what we love. Fly fishing holds a special spot in our lives and we want to help visiting anglers discover that same extraordinary place for themselves.

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