For many avid fly fishermen, owning a fly shop is a dream. For Gary Wood, that dream has become reality.
Wood has always admired some of the local legends in the fly fishing world, like Craig Matthews who owns Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone.
“This is just a golden opportunity to follow in their footsteps,” he said from behind the counter of Ennis’ Tackle Shop.
Wood was a builder in Indianapolis, Ind., but has been coming to Ennis to fish for years. Heart problems led him to give up the construction business, so he started managing an Orvis shop in Carmel, Ind.
But fly fishing was already in Wood’s blood.
“I grew up in northern Utah,” he said. “We had a ranch on the Weber River so I’ve been fly fishing since I was 8 years old.”
When the opportunity came to buy the Tackle Shop, he couldn’t pass it up. He officially took over April 1.
And this summer Wood is partnering with Trout Unlimited and Orvis to provide a unique opportunity to both new and seasoned fly fisherman.
Every Saturday in July, Wood will be offering half hour casting lessons and half hour knot tying lessons for free. The program is called Orvis Fly-Fishing 101. It will run from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday in July.
The free classes will also earn students a free membership to Trout Unlimited as well as $15 toward gear at the Tackle Shop.
Wood will bring in his guides to help with the classes and interested students need to call ahead for a spot, he said.
Beyond fly fishing, Wood is planning to work with local outfitters for hunting and horseback riding opportunities this fall.
He would also like to continue to find ways to get people involved in fly fishing, Wood said. He’s particularly interested in getting involved with school children and teaching them fly fishing.
“It’s a blast to teach people to fish,” Wood said.
Wood and his wife Michele are looking forward to being part of the community. And though he may be new on the block, he’s carrying on the Tackle Shop tradition of providing great fishing insight, quality Orvis gear and the great local guides.
For more information to check on fishing reports, call Wood at 682-4263.