In 1989 I decided on a wing and prayer to load up my little Toyota pick-up and move to Montana in hopes of becoming a fly fishing and hunting guide. Prior to starting the truck, I had broken up with Joanne since at the time I felt I wanted to be free from all responsibilities beyond myself and my dreams. The break up lasted until Chicago. I couldn’t find a pay phone fast enough to call Joanne and beg her to join me in Montana.
Serendipitously we ended up in the extreme northwest corner of the state in what was, and actually still remains, one of the more remote areas in the lower forty-eight states. This place called Yaak Valley is not typical big sky country. It’s a place of dense, coniferous stands of timber and a place where the Pacific rainforest ecosystem crashes into the spine of the northern Rocky Mountains.
In 1992, we sold $900 worth of AT&T stock that my grandfather had left me, borrowed $330 each from my brother and three college friends, bought a drift boat, and incorporated Linehan Outfitting. Humble beginnings.
In the early days we lived hand to mouth and immediately realized that a little ambition goes a long way in a place like northwest Montana. There was always work. I guided whenever possible, planted trees for the Forest Service, and did odd jobs whenever I found extra time. Joanne taught at the one room school house, pulled beer at the Red Dog Saloon, and even had a real estate license for a while. Life was simple and we kept our eye on the prize. It has never been our ambition to be the biggest outfitting company in the industry, just one of the best.
We’re proud to have been in business this long and to have built our business, our authentic version of the American dream, one step at a time and the old- fashioned way.
Looking back, we’d have it no other way.