First-Time Programs

Reconnect with your military community while learning to fly fish on the waters of Montana.

Our first-time Fishing Experiences (FX) are the beginning of a better future for many post-9/11 combat veterans and their caregivers. FXs are free to participants and include travel to Quiet Waters Ranch in Montana and gifted equipment for participants to take home with them. Participants join a group of up to 6 veterans or caregivers who are ready to reflect on their service, find community in the WQW family, and discover a sense of purpose.

Our applications to participate in upcoming programs are currently closed and will open in the winter of 2022. Join our list and we will notify you when our applications open for 2023 programs.


Our programs are progressive, encouraging participants to return to take part in alumni programs. These programs allow Warriors and caregivers to further develop their skills, invite their loved ones, and deepen their relationships with the WQW community.

Solo FX

Women’s Solo FX

Military Caregiver FX

Solo FX

A Solo FX brings six Warriors together for a week of camaraderie and world-class fly fishing. WQW serves Warriors who are in all stages of transition and strives to create a setting for positive growth and connection. Outcomes often include a reduction in feelings of isolation, better mental health, improved relationships, and improved fly fishing skills.


  • Learn a new skill that will provide peace and hope for life.

  • Make meaning of your service and your life going forward as a Veteran.

  • Discover nature as a source of relaxation and clarity.

  • Build trust and find social connections for life.

Women’s Solo FX

Like the Solo FX, the Women's FX brings six female Warriors who are in all different states of transition as we strive to foster an environment for positive growth. Women have been an underserved population from recent conflicts and WQW hopes to address the need through these FXs.


  • Learn a new skill that will provide peace and hope for life.

  • Make meaning of your service and your life going forward as a Veteran.

  • Discover nature as a source of relaxation and clarity.

  • Build trust and find social connections for life.

Military Caregiver FX

The Caregiver FX is specifically for primary caregivers of post-9/11 combat veterans. WQW realized the impact our FXs have on Warriors could have an equal or greater effect on their caregivers. We value the caretaker's role in a Warrior's life and the unique challenges you face as a caregiver. We feel it is critical to serve this population and facilitate self-care for these hidden heroes.


  • Build a support network with other caregivers

  • Build confidence by learning a new skill

  • Learn ways to practice self-care back at home

What to Expect at Your First FX

Every FX is different, and we tailor each one to provide the best experience for the group. Outlined below are some of the activities a participant can expect to see on most FXs.

Participants arrive in Bozeman, Montana and are met by WQW staff and volunteers. Participants are then transported to Quiet Waters Ranch for lunch and downtime. Lunch is followed by a visit from Simms Fishing staff to be outfitted with top-of-the-line gear that you'll get to take home with you at the end of the FX. Once outfitted, the participants retire to Quiet Waters Ranch. Each evening, participants can expect time to relax and delicious home-cooked meals provided by the volunteer “Mom” crew.

The first full day of fishing takes place on a private pond. Each participant is paired with a volunteer companion and a professional, licensed fly fishing guide. The morning is full of instruction focused on the fundamentals of fly fishing. WQW’s volunteer support crew serves an outdoor lunch before participants head to the pond to finish their instruction for the day.

This is participants’ first introduction to some of Montana’s premier Blue Ribbon trout streams. Each participant spends the day either floating or walking/wading with their guide and companion on one of the many public or private waters around Southwest Montana. Adaptive equipment is available as needed for the various conditions of our participants.

Participants once again head out with their guides and companions for a full day of fishing. At day’s end, everyone involved in the week – Warriors, guides, volunteers, and a few staff members – meet at Quiet Waters Ranch for a “Sayonara” dinner.

Participants are transported to the airport. By now, participants have become a part of the WQW family. They also have the basic skills and equipment necessary to continue the healing craft of fly fishing independently.

Quiet Waters Ranch

Quiet Waters Ranch

Home Base

View the Ranch

Participant FAQs

Yes, Quiet Waters Ranch is accessible for people with disabilities. We work to accommodate all disabilities to the fullest extent possible. Our staff, guides, and volunteers are well-versed at accommodating various types of disabilities and conditions (including those who are visually and audibly impaired) to ensure a positive and rewarding experience.

Applications to apply for one of these programs will be available winter of 2022. Historically, Warrior Alumni have been able to email our program team, and we ask that you use this application for all future programs.

Yes. WQW has a service dog acknowledgment and agreement that allows service dogs to go fishing with participants.

Yes! Everything from clothing to equipment is yours to keep. Our goal is to set you up with everything you need so you can continue to tap into your new skills independently without gear as a barrier.

No, you DO NOT have to be a Purple Heart recipient to qualify for our programs.

Although volunteers for the 2022 cohort of Hunt for Purpose have already been selected, there are lots of others ways to empower post-9/11 combat veterans and their loved ones to thrive. Get started by submitting a volunteer application. Once we receive your application, we’ll connect with you one-on-one to best match your interests and skills with a volunteer opportunity.

The five applicants were chosen based on their ability to clearly communicate the need they have for participating in this program and their ability and willingness to commit to the requirements of the program.

WQW has an active zero alcohol policy on all experiences.

Absolutely. WQW strives to build long-term relationships with our participants and we are always looking to have you return for more experiences or as a volunteer. However, Warriors who attend their first experience are not guaranteed an invitation to return for future programs.

Yes, there is wifi and cell phone service at the ranch so that participants can connect with their loved ones as needed while they’re away. However, the ranch is an ideal place to take a break from your devices and reconnect with yourself and your community. We highly recommend being fully present as much as possible for this one-of-a-kind experience.

WQW programs are at no cost to the participant including paid-for air travel to Montana, comfortable lodging and home-cooked meals, professional instruction, and gear for trip’s activities.

For this proof-of-concept run of Hunt for Purpose, WQW opened applications to WQW program alumni in January 2022. Five participants were selected for the first cohort of Hunt for Purpose. Applications will open again in winter of 2022 for the second cohort of this new program.

All applications and service documents are thoroughly reviewed for qualifying criteria by our Chief Program Officer and Program Director.

Selection for a WQW program is NOT GUARANTEED even if all program criteria are met. Selection is at WQW’s discretion and we appreciate your understanding.

Our experiences are for post-9/11 combat veterans and their loved ones who are looking for a new way to connect, grow, explore purpose, and thrive.

While our application is open to all post-9/11 combat veterans, our selection process strives to select and place applicants with the greatest need. Even if all selection criteria are met, selection for our programs (first-time and Alumni programs) is solely at the discretion of Warriors & Quiet Waters. Requirements for selection include:

  • Must be a Post-9/11 Combat Veteran

  • Must provide a DD214 Member-4 copy and current photos

  • If active duty, current service record will be requested

  • If you are a caregiver, we require the above information on your care recipient

  • Must be committed to positive growth

  • Must be willing to engage in a supportive group environment