Guides - Bighorn Trout Shop


Now that you’ve chosen a trophy class river, you need an outstanding guide service.

The Bighorn Trout Shop’s guides are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Our years of experience are at your service. We are here to teach you how to catch our wild trout, and whether you are a beginner or an expert, our stream-savvy guides can get the job done.

The Bighorn River flows through the Crow Indian Reservation and wade-fishing is legal only up to the high-water mark. As a result, drift boats provide the most convenient access to the greatest variety of productive water. Experienced guides are invaluable in putting you within casting distance of trophy trout.

Merritt Harris

Birthplace: Denver
Favorite Fishing: Trout, Redfish, Carp. Merritt has his name on the prestigious “Fort Smith ‘Big Lips Carp’ Tournament” trophy multiple times.

Merritt has been with the Bighorn Trout Shop almost from its inception, and has a reputation as one of the top guides in the Bighorn Valley. Merritt spent his formative years on the southern end of the Crow Indian Reservation. People still talk of his basketball exploits as a Wyola Wildcat, and rumor has it that he left school early to declare for the NBA draft. While that didn’t work out, as a fishing guide, Merritt knows most of the Bighorn River trout by name and is highly requested. Merritt’s boat, the “Mother Ship,” painted like a giant brown trout, is a common sight on the river. Maybe you’ve seen him in the “Simms Fishing Products” advertisements.

Steve Anderson

Birthplace: Sheridan, Wyoming
Favorite Fishing: Trophy trout in some of his secret spots, some on the Bighorn, others… he’s not telling, but he has pictures to prove it.

Steve Anderson has been rowing people down the river for 25 years now, and people appreciate his knowledge, easy-going demeanor, and big laugh. It’s impossible not to have fun with Steve. He will put you on fish. Steve is a former Little League baseball legend in the Sheridan, Wyoming area. When he’s not rowing a boat, you might find him pursuing a trophy mule deer in Custer National Forest.

Steve Lynn

Birthplace: Rapid City, South Dakota

Definitely one of the “stars” of our guide staff, Steve has plenty of experience rowing Trout Shop clients down the river and he’s outstanding in every respect. If he’s not the hardest-working guide on the river, we’re not sure who is. Steve has received rave reviews from beginners and experts alike. He’s such a nice guy that he makes the rest of us feel like jerks.

Kip Dean

Birthplace: Black Hills, South Dakota

Kip Dean is another Trout Shop veteran of many years. He’s been rowing the river since the 90s and has a long list of satisfied customers. Kip is known for his all-around, guiding excellence and his highly-developed, albeit unconventional sense of humor. Kip is also a protege of “the Ice Man”, Wim Hof, so if he decides to take an icy dip in the river during lunch, don’t let it unnerve you. Kip knows how to catch fish and keep people laughing. He’ll work hard to show you a great time.

Dante Bonanini

Birthplace: Boulder, Colorado

Dante grew up in Colorado and Montana and studied Civil Engineering at Montana State University in Bozeman. Dante is another up-and-comer who will go out of his way to catch you fish. In the winter, you can sometimes find Dante catching some “sick air” on his snowboard. Let’s hope he doesn’t hurt himself. He has a family.

Dave Palumbo

A native of upstate New York, Dave has a degree in History & Environmental Studies from Ithaca College. Dave has lived in Montana since 1991, and has been guiding and outfitting on the Bighorn since 1993. For some reason, Dave roots for Syracuse University in college basketball, so please don’t tease him about the Orangemen’s NCAA problems. Dave is a cagey veteran, and we’re proud to have him on our staff.

Enoch Walker

Birthplace: Cottonwood, Arizona

Enoch grew up as a cowboy in the western U.S., primarily here in Montana. As a cowboy he had big shoes to fill, since his dad was the PRCA World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider in 1961. Enoch tried to follow in his father’s footsteps (or stirrups) but things didn’t work out. He became a pilot for Southwest Airlines where the ride was a lot smoother. Enoch now pilots a drift boat on the Bighorn and his clients are thankful for his new career.

Jim Wilkins

Jim grew up fishing and hunting in Wyoming and has been a successful big game hunting outfitter for many years. He’s just as accomplished as a fly fishing guide. He is respected far and wide in the outfitting business, and we’re proud to have him on our staff.

Lacy Flanagan

Lacy grew up working as a Montana hunting guide. For many years, her father, Jim Wilkins, ran a successful outfitting operation for big game hunters in Otter, Montana. Lacy and her husband now own the business. Lacy can field dress and pack out a mule deer with the best of them. She can also catch you a lot of fish. She grew up fly fishing the Bighorn River.

F.J. Freenor

F.J. has been fishing the Bighorn since he was a kid. A native Californian, his father used to bring him here every summer for guided float trips. F.J. had a real job for many years before he finally decided to move to Montana and become a fishing guide. Known for his mellow demeanor and patient teaching skills, F.J. has become a popular member of our guide staff.

Scott Brown

Scott has been on the Trout Shop team for several years now and has a loyal following. Born and raised in northern Wyoming, Scott is the quintessential “fishy guide”, meaning he’ll figure it out even when conditions are tough. A family man with a dry sense of humor, Scott is a lot of fun to fish with.

Jim Arthur

Jim hails from northern California where he cut his teeth on the trout and steelhead of the Golden State. Formerly a successful businessman in the field of vertical aviation, Jim has been guiding in Montana for several years now and has proven to be outstanding in all respects. Soft spoken and professional, you will enjoy fishing the Bighorn with him.