Our July AFFTA Member of the Month is Steve Galletta, the owner / outfitter of Bighorn Angler. The Montana shop is a favorite of anglers around the country; here’s what Steve had to say:
Let’s talk about Bighorn Angler and your role there — the who, what, why. What makes you tick?
My business partner and I purchased the Bighorn Angler in 2012. I had been guiding on the river since 2006. When we took the business over just about everything needed to be overhauled. We renovated the fly shop, renovated the existing lodging and built additional accommodations. Today, we have a full service fly shop, boat rentals, guiding, lodging to sleep over 60 people and a full service dining room.
Bighorn Angler is true destination fly shop in every sense. Our closest local base of customers is 85 miles away. We market heavily all over the country to support our business throughout the year. Our competitive advantage in the fly fishing marketplace is our All-Inclusive Packages. An angler or group of anglers can make one phone call and book their entire trip – lodging, guides and meals Plus, we can handle groups of any size and any budget.
How did you get your start in guiding? And what led you to Bighorn Angler.
I went to a guide school here in Montana when I was 20 years old and started guiding in my summers during college. I was guiding in Alaska in 2005 and one of my fellow guides moved to the Bighorn the next year. He helped me get my foot in the door with a shop on the Bighorn and the rest is history. When the previous owner of the Bighorn Angler, let me know the business was up for sale I was ready for the next step. Ready to get more involved with the business side and off the oars everyday. In this business – once you become a business owner you are no longer a fishing guide you are an entrepreneur and need to act as such.
How has AFFTA membership benefitted you?
AFFTA provides for a great base to network with fellow members and share ideas. They also do a great job of facilitating the connection between dealers and brands. The AFFTA dealer summit is incredibly valuable for all who attend. I treat it as continuing education for fly shop and lodge owners and the summit provides value each year.
What’s one thing you wish AFFTA members knew about your business?
We enjoy hosting others from the industry at our lodge. it is a great way to keep in touch with other shops and network. If you give us a shout we will provide you with lodging and you only have to pay the cleaning fee for the room and you can use one of our rental boats for the day as well. If you are looking to sneak away give us a shout.
When you’re not on the water, what are you most likely to be found doing?
When I am not on the water I can be found mountain biking during the summer and skiing during the winter. Both are physical activities that allow me to escape into the mountains and put the daily grind of the fly shop in the rearview mirror.