FISHING EXPERIENCE (FX)WQW’s Core Therapeutic Recreational Experience
The Fishing Experience (FX) is WQW’s core recreational activity and therapeutic program.
Each FX brings qualified participants to southwest Montana for a week-long program of fly fishing and relaxation in the peaceful landscape characteristic of the Rocky Mountains. WQW works strategically with partner organizations in order to identify potential participants who meet placement criteria and are committed to positive change. Such partnerships have included Wounded Warrior Battalions and Warrior Transition Units. Warriors come from across the United States and all branches of military service, limited to those who have been combat-wounded and/or are currently struggling socially or professionally due to mental health conditions or traumatic brain injuries acquired during combat operations post-9/11. Click here to learn about WQW’s current suggested criteria.
At no cost to the participant, WQW provides:
- ground and air transportation
- comfortable lodging and home-cooked meals
- professional instruction and fly fishing equipment, including fly rod and reel, SIMMS waders, SIMMS boots, a Mystery Ranch pack, wading staff, fly fishing tools, tippet, leader, and an assortment of flies. It is our hope that by returning home equipped with gear, warriors are able to continue the sport independently and with confidence.
Monday: Arrival Day
Warriors arrive at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and are met by WQW staff and volunteers. The warriors are then transported to Quiet Waters Ranch for lunch and downtime. Once all warriors have arrived, volunteers drive warriors to the SIMMS Fishing Products headquarters to be outfitted with waders, boots, shirts, jackets and other gear necessary for Montana’s unpredictable weather conditions. Once outfitted, the warriors load up their gear and retire to Quiet Waters Ranch for a relaxing evening and delicious home-cooked meal provided by the volunteer cooks.
Tuesday: Fly Fishing 101
The first full day of fishing takes place on a private pond. Each warrior 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 – casting, knot tying, fly selection. The warriors then enjoy an outdoor lunch prepared by the volunteer cooks before setting out to hone their skills and catch some fish. In the evening, warriors head back to the lodge to enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by volunteer cooks. Then, the group is introduced to fly-tying by local experts. Warriors can learn how to tie that special fly for the next day’s fishing adventure.
Wednesday: Fishing Day
This is the warriors’ first introduction to some of Montana’s premier Blue Ribbon trout streams. Each warrior spends the day either floating or walking/wading with their guide and companion on one of the many public or private waters around. Adaptive equipment is available as needed. Back at Quiet Waters Ranch, the warriors have time to clean up before joining companions, guides, and volunteers for a BBQ and a chance to tell “fish tales” from the day’s adventures.
Thursday: Fishing and Relaxation Day
On a six-day program, Thursdays are typically reserved for more informal fly fishing instruction at Quiet Waters Ranch. It’s an opportunity to ask guides and seasoned volunteers more specific questions after two days of fishing on varied waters.
Friday: Fishing Day
The warriors once again head out with their guides and companions for a full day of fishing. One objective of WQW is to introduce warriors to different types of fly fishing. Therefore, if the warriors floated on Wednesday, then they would most likely walk/wade this day, and vice versa. This is wholly dependent upon the time of year and where the fishing is best. At day’s end, everyone involved in the week – warriors, guides, volunteers, and a couple staff members – meet at Quiet Waters Ranch for a farewell dinner.