The first time Joe Sowerby fished the Smith River—at age 18—he remembers saying he’d work for free if it meant going down the Smith again. Now Sowerby is 23 years into his career as a professional Montana fly-fishing guide, and his company, Montana Flyfishing Connection, leads trips on most of the state’s premier rivers, including the Missouri and the South Fork of the Flathead.
Through those years, he’s never lost sight of what makes fishing so appealing. “People can take themselves way too seriously in this sport,” Sowerby says, and he encourages his clients to go the other way, to have fun and take in the wonder of their surroundings. It was, after all, a river that once convinced this first-time Best of Missoula winner to swear off paychecks. “Although I’ve changed my mind about the value of my time,” he says, “I still have the same emotional tie to the Smith.” Joe Sowerby, Montana Flyfishing Connection
: 370-2868 • montanaflyfishingconnection.com
Finalists, Best Fishing Guide
2. Stacy Jennings, Stacy Jennings' Flyfishing School
3. Drew Miller, Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop
• 215 W Front St • 721-8996 • grizzlyhackle.com