West Yellowstone, Montana

I was recently sent over to West Yellowstone on assignment for a couple of days. West has 7 fly shops and is centrally located near many great Western streams including the Madison River. It's a funky tourist town that has a core population of guides and outdoor professionals. Two Chinese restaurants were just cited for selling illegal wild game. Smoke from four western states filled the air like a fog bank off the coast of California with a surreal yellow light that cast its glow on the neon motel signs that have prevailed from the 60's. Before the roads were paved in the late 1970's, there was a crazy 4th of July party that spilled to the streets, and biker gangs and young guides and college kids, took to the streets and Craig Matthews, the original owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, was the sheriff in town. He told me of the time he arrested such a big dude during the 4th of July craziness he had to have another deputy stand on the big guy's wrists to get him cuffed as the cuffs were way too small for the dude's wrists. Matthews couldn't bring someone in without being cuffed... Below are just a few shots of West. 

Craig Matthews at the fly tying bench. Blue Ribbon Flies. West Yellowstone, MT.

Dude Motel

Free Heel & Wheel. Justin Spence and his daughter get in a little time on a rare guide's day off for Justin. Justin is a fly fishing guide in West and owns West Yellowstone Fly Shop. The Free Heel & Wheel sells arguably the best espresso in town and has created a relaxed community vibe where people are welcome to sit and hang out.