This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Chuck Stranahan’s Black Ant.

Stranahan's Black Ant | www.johnkreft.com

I returned to Chuck Stranahan’s Flies & Guides a couple of weeks ago. I was fortunate he wasn’t too busy and I caught him behind the vise.

We caught up a bit and he talked more about his original Stranahan’s Brindle Chute I presented back in November 2019.

Then he decided to tie up his Black Ant. It’s tied with thread and black hair. How simple!

As I wrote in earlier TBT posts, I was impressed at the quality of flies I found in his bins. Most of the flies are tied by a group of local fly tyers. I picked up a few for my own box while I was there.

The following is from my original post, which provides information about Chuck.

This sign caught my eye when I first walked in his shop a couple of years ago.

Chuck Stranahan's Flies Sign | www.johnkreft.com

Chuck bought an existing shop 34 years ago named the Frustrated Fisherman. He changed the name to Riverbend, but had problems with other types of businesses using the same name. In addition, he would go to trade shows under the Riverbend name and told people his name. People would drive through Hamilton specifically looking for him, but couldn’t find a shop with his name in the title. That’s when he decided to change the name of his shop to – Chuck Stranahan’s Flies & Guides.

He stated his fly shop is the longest running shop under continuous management west of the Continental Divide in Montana, a fact he’s proud of. Other fly shops might have been around longer, but have been sold several times. His shop has been in four different locations, but has stayed in it’s current location for the last 12 or 14 years.

Chuck Stranahan's Flies & Guides | www.johnkreft.com

Here is a portion of Chuck’s bio from his WEBSITE:

He began fly tying at eight, and was tying flies commercially at age twelve. He fly-tied his way through college as an Orvis commercial fly tyer and through a ten-year career in education, before opening a full-time fly shop in 1979.

He learned the fly tying craft from masters such as Cal Bird, Polly Rosborough, Darwin Atkins, and Andre Puyans. His style blends their techniques with his own innovations. His fly patterns are becoming standards throughout the West, and are featured in books by Jack Dennis, Gary LaFontaine, Greg Thomas, John Holt, and Randall Kaufmann.

He learned flycasting and fly rod design and manufacture from some of the masters who shaped the sport, beginning as a college student in San Francisco on the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club ponds. Over the years he fished with many of these same mentors, honing his own skills as an angler.”

Chuck Stranahan July 2021 | www.johnkreft.com

If you are planning to fish the Bitterroot River around Hamilton, MT, I highly recommend stopping by the shop and checking out his quality flies. I hope you’ll be as impressed as I am!

Enjoy…go fish!

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