(BOZEMAN, MONTANA) Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures – a Bozeman-based travel company specializing in flyfishing vacation packages and worldwide travel, has announced the acquisition of local fly shop, Fins & Feathers. Yellow Dog will assume ownership on November 1, with retail operations and fly shop offerings continuing at the current location in Four Corners, eight miles west of Bozeman.
Founded in 2000, Yellow Dog is a specialty booking company focused on providing the best flyfishing and travel experiences in the world. With both freshwater and saltwater destinations, Yellow Dog sends anglers to more than 240 different lodge and outfitting destinations in 36 countries. The decision to expand company services and diversify offerings into retail sales was largely driven by a desire to better serve and prepare traveling clients.
“Yellow Dog has always put our customers first,” said company founder and CEO Jim Klug. “The one gap in our service offerings has been the ability to ensure customers have the proper flies, equipment, and apparel for every destination we offer – be it close to home – or halfway around the world. By acquiring Fins & Feathers, we can now pair specific gear and equipment with the most relevant information for our entire line-up of locations. We believe this acquisition will complete the circle for the overall Yellow Dog customer experience.” Klug adds that the expansion and diversification will better protect Yellow Dog customers, staff, and the overall business from future uncontrollable disruptions, like those the company experienced during the recent pandemic.
Toby Swank, owner and founder of Fins and Feathers of Bozeman says, “We are excited to be joining the team at Yellow Dog and helping them with continuing to evolve as one of the premier brands in fly fishing. Our Bozeman-based businesses have worked closely over the years to engage the local flyfishing community while finding creative ways to add value to our shared customer’s flyfishing experiences. This is the next step in that process, and we are thrilled to be a part of the Yellow Dog family. Like Fins & Feathers, Yellow Dog was founded and created in Bozeman, and they have been a part of the local scene for more than two decades. This is the perfect fit, and one which will benefit our customers, employees, and the flyfishing industry as a whole.”
Fins & Feathers first opened their doors in late 2000, with the simple mission of sharing their expertise and passion for fly fishing with local and traveling anglers alike. The Orvis Company was the first major manufacturer to partner with Fins & Feathers and provided the opportunity to differentiate the emerging shop brand from the other, well-established Bozeman fly shops at the time. Since first opening, Fins & Feathers has been under the same leadership and ownership – longer than any other fly-fishing retailer in Bozeman. The shop currently carries Bozeman’s largest and most complete selection of flies, fly rods, fly reels, fly lines, waders, wading boots, and fly tying supplies. Product lines available in the shop include Simms, Sage, Scott, Skwala, Hardy, Orvis, Patagonia, Scientific Anglers, Umpqua, Hatch, Ross, G. Loomis, Waterworks-Lamson, Fishpond, Abel, and Thomas and Thomas, among many others.
In early November, Fins & Feathers fly shop will be re-branded as Yellow Dog Outfitters. Klug notes that while a new look, new name, and new signage will be in place by mid-November, the shop will continue to focus on servicing the Bozeman market while gradually introducing expanded online solutions. The initial and primary goal is to maintain the authentic, friendly service and the professionalism Fins & Feathers has been known for over the past 23 years.
On whether Yellow Dog Outfitters will offer in-house guide and outfitting services on area waters, Yellow Dog co-owner Ian Davis is quick to clarify that the shop will focus solely on providing retail solutions and information. “We have no desire to push more commercial boats onto area rivers,” Davis said. “Instead, we will refer guide business and area booking inquiries to several existing Montana outfitters and guides we have known, worked with, and supported for years.” Swank will maintain his outfitting licenses and regional guide operations, and upon closing, Fins and Feathers Guide Service will continue to operate as a separate entity.
Moving forward, the staff at Fins & Feathers will remain in place, and the brick-and-mortar location at Four Corners will maintain operations as before. By combining the two businesses, Yellow Dog will employ between 40 to 50 people between the Four Corners retail location and the downtown Bozeman travel office.
About Yellow Dog
Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures is a hands-on, specialty travel and destination-angling company owned and operated by an experienced team of anglers. Their mission is to arrange and provide the best fishing and travel experiences worldwide. Founded in 2000 by Jim Klug, Ian Davis joined as co-owner in 2005 after selling his fly shop in Breckenridge, Colorado. Initially offering packages to saltwater destinations across Central America, the company has expanded offerings over the years to now include more than 240 destinations across 36 countries. In 2022, longtime customer and associate Ralph Nacey joined Klug and Davis on the ownership team at Yellow Dog. Founded and based in Bozeman, Montana, Yellow Dog today is the largest fishing travel provider in the industry.