Fishing and lodging: Grizzly Hackle offers clients a suite of Missoula experiences

Brendan Bannigan, owner for Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop.

Just in time for summer, Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in downtown Missoula is now offering a unique experience for fly fishers from out of town.

After purchasing the building at 215 W. Front St. last year, shop owner Brendan Bannigan decided to remodel the apartments upstairs and start another business.

“I always thought the business model was to capture our clients that come in from out of state and fish with us, and to allow them to have an experience of staying above the shop and experience downtown Missoula,” Bannigan said. “So it’s sort of an urban lodging experience.”

The apartments, called Dry Fly Apartments, provide different packages that offer opportunities to fly fish with a guide on the Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Bitterroot rivers.

Five units are available for guests to rent out for three or four days and include two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and bathroom. Just out back, guests can see Caras Park, the Carousel for Missoula, and the Clark Fork River.

“Personally, I think our visitors come to Missoula not only because we have great fishing, but because we have such a unique downtown,” Bannigan said. “So I really wanted to highlight our downtown but also create a really unique environment for our guests to stay in.”

Right now, Bannigan said that about 200 nights have already been booked. While the shop has already offered guided fishing trips, Bannigan can now offer fishermen and women a place to stay. The apartments are available to everyone.

“When people call the shop and book a fishing trip, one of the first questions they ask is, ‘Well, where can we stay?’” Bannigan said. “So instead of pushing them to a hotel down the street or to a house down in the Bitterroot, we decided to make packages where people can stay a couple nights and fish.”

If the apartments are full, the shop can also help direct fishermen to other short-term rentals in Missoula. Prices for nightly stays and packages can be found on the website.

The Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop started in 1988 at Rock Creek and moved to its current location in 1990. Bannigan bought the business in 2016.

“There are some other fly shops that offer some lodging but none of them are really based in an urban environment like we are here,” Bannigan said. “I hope it’ll be successful and the feedback we’ve been getting and the bookings we’ve been receiving is a really positive response.”

Contact reporter Mari Hall via email at mari.hall@missoulacurrent.com.