Sports rivalries between universities can change as teams get better or worse, but fly fishing rivalries last as the rivers and streams around these college towns change slowly. Since the fly fishing in Montana is world class, I think it’s time to clarify who has the better fishing. Thankfully for the Cats, Bozeman has much better fishing than Missoula, which is one rivalry win that will stay with us for decades to come. This is one of the many reasons we have earned the nickname Trout U.
A popular fly fishing magazine Flylords ranked MSU as the best school for fly fishing in the United States. “With world-renowned water, a stone’s throw from campus, and Bozeman’s intoxicating fly fishing culture, Montana State University’s number one power ranking is surely well deserved.” They cite the Gallatin, Beaverhead, Henry’s Fork, Jefferson, Yellowstone and Big Hole rivers as some of the reasons we are number one. These are only the beginning of what the area has to offer. The article goes on to rank the University of Montana as the second-best fly fishing university in America. Missoula is a worthy opponent, but our rivers and streams are unbeatable. When looking around the web at the ratings of best fly fishing areas, Bozeman is almost always listed. MSU also has a very popular fly fishing club, the Bozo Trout Bums (see our Oct. 14 feature), with over 30 members.
Our superior fishing is not the only reason we have earned the name Trout U. MSU also conducts a large amount of research on the nearby rivers and streams. In fact, The Renne Library is home to the most extensive Trout and Salmonid Collection in the world. The collection includes a print collection with over 12,000 titles on the habitat, fishing, food sources, predators, art and fiction of Trout and Salmonids from all over the world. Another part of the collection, The Angling Oral History Project, consists of over 100 interviews with fishermen, scientists and authors on various topics concerning fish. This was made in an effort to help researchers as well as to preserve history. There are also many works of artwork, paintings and photographs included in the collection. The physical parts of the collection can be seen on campus on the second floor of the library and Trout U merchandise can be purchased at the MSU Bookstore.