For four days in July, five anglers gathered in Dillon, Montana to drift the state’s legendary Big Hole River watersheds and target world-class trout on the fly. Sound like your standard fishing getaway? Not exactly. This was Access Unlimited and High Fives Foundation’s first-ever adaptive fly fishing camp, a week-long program designed to give disabled and seriously injured athletes the opportunity to rediscover the joys of fishing. For all five athletes, the week marked their first time on the water since suffering their injuries.
Founded in 2014, Access Unlimited is a non-profit organization that helps make fly fishing accessible for everyone. Throughout the year they host guided, handicap-accessible fly fishing trips in Southwest Montana. The success and growth of their trips over recent years led to the development of the first-ever adaptive fly fishing camp, held in July. For the event, they teamed up with Cheeky Fishing and High Fives Foundation, a non-profit organization also committed to providing resources and opportunities to mountain sport athletes suffering from life-altering injuries.
"I was an adventure seeker before my accident," said adaptive athlete Jason Abraham to High Fives Foundation. "Fly-fishing is a sport that I’ve never tried before, so I was excited for this new experience. It presented an opportunity that I could share with my wife, son, & other adaptive athletes."
There were plenty of fish to go around over the course of the four-day camp, as the adaptive athletes floated and fished under the guidance of the area’s top fly guides. The biggest fish of the week measured out at 18”, but all the fish caught and released were trophies in their own right. Cheeky Fishing is proud to have sponsored the event.
To learn more about Access Unlimited and their adaptive fly fishing trips, visit their website.