Parks' Fly Shop's Guides, Shop Staff, and Fly Tyers

Our Staff

Parks' Fly Shop is a small shop with a small staff. In fact, we have only five full-time staff members in the summer (only two in the winter!) and use only three contract guides and outfitters regularly. With the exception of first-year employees, if we happen to have any, all of us guide and all of us work in the shop, to one degree or another, so you can be sure when visiting the shop that the clerk who is selling you flies has been on the water recently and knows exactly where and what the fish are eating.

Looking to book a guided trip and hoping to book somebody in particular? This is no problem, whether you've fished with one of our guides before and would like to do so again or because you think you'd be a good fit. Please contact the shop directly rather than contacting the guide. You can use our Guided Trip Information Form, give us a call, or e-mail Walter to start the booking process. You can request a specific guide when you book.

Staff photos and bios are below, beginning with full-timers, continuing with independent guides/outfitters who do a lot of work for us, and finishing with our fly tiers who neither work in the shop nor guide. Within these categories, staff are listed in order of seniority, most to least.


Core Guides and Shop Staff

The following guys all work in the shop at least part of the time and guide exclusively or almost exclusively for Parks' Fly Shop during the core season, from Memorial Day through early October. If you call the shop, odds are one of these guys will answer. They also take a majority of the guided trips and are the only folks you'll find working in the shop.

Richard Parks

Richard Parks about to land a brown trout

Richard Parks landing a fall-run brown trout.

Richard Parks is the owner and shop manager at Parks' Fly Shop, and still runs a few guide trips as well. Richard was born in northern Minnesota, and his first exposure to fly fishing was on the streams that flow into the north shore of Lake Superior. Family vacations to Yellowstone in 1947 and 1950 were followed by the move to Gardiner when his father opened the Parks' Fly Shop in 1953. His father built him a fly rod when he was six but it took a few years for Richard to grow into the rod. By age twelve Richard was fishing dry flies as well as tying for the shop and working part-time as a clerk. During his teens this gradually shifted into a full-time summer job.

During this time, Richard continued to develop his skills both by himself and with his father. Richard began guiding in 1961 and continued to guide and work in the shop through his college years. After graduating with a History degree, Richard served a three year hitch in the US Army, including a tour in Vietnam. When his father died in the spring of 1970 he took over active management of the shop with the help of his mother. He co-authored his first book, Tying and Fishing the West’s Best Dry Flies in 1978 and published his second, Fishing Yellowstone National Park, published in 1998. Two subsequent editions of the latter book have followed.

Following the lead of his father (who had been a founding member of Trout Unlimited in Montana), Richard expanded his involvement as a conservation activist throughout the 1970s and 80s. During the early 1990s he served as Chairman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, one of Montana's leading conservation organizations, and served twice as Chairman of the Western Organization of Resource Councils. He was also a founding member of the Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana and has served as President of that organization.

In 2003 Richard met Nancy Rourke. In 2004 he bought a house in Gardiner which he and Nancy, soon to be his wife, converted to a bed & breakfast, the Gardiner Guesthouse, which opened in 2005.

Walter Wiese

Walter with an Alaska rainbow. Photo by the guide.

Walter with an Alaska rainbow.

Walter Wiese is the shop's head guide, #2 outfitter, and guided trip coordinator. He is also assistant shop manager and is in charge of building and maintaining the shop website. He ties many of the shop's custom and local fly patterns and generally coordinates all wholesale fly purchases and production. Walter has been working for Parks' Fly Shop since 2001 and head guide since 2004.

Walter grew up in Missouri, where he began fly fishing at age six or seven, in the mid-1980s. Most of his early experience was spent on the spring creeks and tailwaters in the Ozarks. He began fishing the Yellowstone area on a family trip to the area in 1993. He has been tying flies since 1992 and is now a contract fly designer for Montana Fly Company. He started writing about fishing professionally in 1999 and has sold stories to American Angler, Fly Tyer, Fly Rod & Reel, and numerous other magazines. He has written three books about fly fishing, Yellowstone Country Flies: The Fly Patterns of Parks' Fly Shop, River Characters: Deep Thoughts and Shallow Stories About Fly Fishing, and Fly Fishing Yellowstone Country: A Basic Guide to Fly Fishing Yellowstone Park and Southern Montana, and made contributions to several other books.

Walter runs float, wade, and power boat trips. His favorite walk/wade locations include the Black and Grand Canyons of the Yellowstone, the Gardner River, and rugged portions of Slough Creek and the Lamar River. His favorite stretch of the Yellowstone to drift is the Yankee Jim Canyon reach. He is the only guide in the region to regularly run this stretch of the river in a drift boat rather than a raft, though like all our guides he loves the entire Yellowstone. He also does most of our (few) Madison River trips. In the spring, he runs power boat trips both for the shop and through his side business, Yellowstone Country Fly Fishing, on the Missouri River, in addition to trips for the shop on area private lakes.

Ben Jewell

Ben with an Idaho king salmon.

Ben with an Idaho king salmon.

Ben Jewell is Parks' Fly Shop's #2 guide and longest-serving employee besides Richard and Walter. He has been working in the shop and guiding Yellowstone Park trips since 2007 and running Yellowstone River and other Montana trips since 2008. He works full-time from late May through September and guides as much as possible in early spring and late fall, as well as tying many of the shop's custom and local flies.

Ben Jewell grew up and learned to fly fish in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He mostly pursued brook trout and rainbows, but got to fish streamers for landlocked salmon once in a while. He fly fished lakes and rivers for trout exclusively in New Hampshire for eight years and then moved to Montana when he was 19 with dreams of making his passion a lifestyle. Since 2002 he has been fishing 150+ days a year, even while juggling 3 kids for the past few years.

He has been guiding for Parks' Fly Shop since 2007, and tying flies commercially for nearly as long. During the winter time he is a stay at home dad who ties flies and goes fishing as much as he can, testing flies and perfecting his fishing and guiding.

In addition to guiding, Ben has also been involved with a nonprofit called Will's Hope since 2014, for which he donates as many as three days a season helping teach challenged young adults to fly fish and helping to develop their confidence.

Ben's favorite trips to run are late summer and fall walk/float combo trips, combining a Yellowstone Park walk/wade early in the morning with a dry fly float on the Yellowstone River in the afternoon. The opportunity to both hunt big browns with subsurface flies and catch a boatload of rising trout on small dries on the same day is one that can be found few places but our neck of the woods.

Trevor Robbins

Trevor Robbins with a nice cutthroat

Trevor with a Yellowstone River cutthroat.

Trevor joined Parks' Fly Shop as a shop clerk in 2017. In addition to working in the shop, he's now also a junior guide. Trevor grew up in southwest Montana, where he primarily fished hardware on Georgetown Lake. He was bit by the fly fishing bug about the time he finished high school. Since moving to Gardiner at 19, he has been fly fishing local waters almost every day from spring through fall. He has also spent a lot of time in Grand Teton National Park, and is definitely our staff expert on fishing down there. Trevor spends his winters working at ski resorts, whether building terrain parks for tricksters or just working as a lift operator. When the snow melts, he fishes, and he's spent a great deal of time fishing top-tier waters near many famous ski resorts in California, Nevada, and Colorado in addition to the Yellowstone and Grand Teton region.

Trevor's favorite waters are the rough and tumble sections of the Gardner River, the Lamar, the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone, and a small tributary creek to one of the above that shall remain nameless on the Internet. Of all our staff, Trevor is definitely the streamer junkie. He's a big fan of swinging big, articulated, contemporary streamers on the Yellowstone, both in Yankee Jim Canyon and down in Paradise Valley.

Kody Marr

Kody with a Colorado Rainbow.

Kody with a Colorado rainbow.

Kody Marr joined Parks' Fly Shop for the 2018 season as a shop clerk and trainee guide.

Kody was born in Colorado but grew up mainly fishing southern California chasing largemouth bass on Pyramid Lake and Santee Lakes, and yellowfin tuna and dorado doing multi-day deep sea trips out of Dana Point. Once finished with college he moved back to the Colorado high country and immediately turned to trout where he fell in love with the diverse headwater streams and tailwater options on the South Platte, Blue, and Arkansas Rivers.

Since he began fly fishing in 2015, he has spent 100+ days on the water each year in all four seasons trying to make up for lost time. Since beginning fly fishing Kody has made annual multi-week trips to the Teton-Yellowstone area to enjoy salmonfly season as well as some of the more technical fisheries in the area. Kody also enjoys the art of fly tying. He began tying in 2016 and has been consistently progressing since. You can watch this progression by stopping by the shop this season as Kody will be minding the fort most days.

When Kody doesn’t have a rod and reel in his hand you may see him whitewater kayaking and whitewater rafting during the peak of runoff on some of the local class-III whitewater stretches in the area.


Independent Contractor Guides & Outfitters

The following guides and outfitters work for other businesses besides Parks' Fly Shop, including for themselves. All are full-time fly fishing guides/outfitters during the summer season; we don't use any "weekends-only" guides. The guys with their own entries work for us more than for any other outfitter, at least several days per week from July-September. Both have been running trips for us for more than ten years, and guiding the Yellowstone area since the early 2000s.

Rob Olson

Rob with a huge Burns' Lake brookie

Rob with a monster Burns' Lake brook trout.

Rob Olson grew up in the Midwest with the majority of his early fishing time spent in the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan chasing bass, pike, and panfish. Once exposed to the wilds of the Greater Yellowstone region and steep slopes in the surrounding mountain ranges, Rob arduously focused on an education, cramming a four year degree into six years of classes with daily trips to the rivers and peaks. Rob began guiding anglers with a couple seasons based out of West Yellowstone, followed by several years working as an independent guide and outfitter in the Madison and Yellowstone drainages.

Now based in Livingston, Montana, Rob primarily focuses on the Yellowstone watershed, both inside and outside Yellowstone National Park. He also does an occasional Madison River trip for PFS. He began guiding for us in 2006. In addition to his work in the Yellowstone area, Rob is working to expand his guiding to the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan during the Montana offseason, where he pursues Great Lakes steelhead and legendary 'coaster' brook trout along with pike, muskie, bass and salmon.

In the winter, Rob is involved in professional rescue and avalanche mitigation work with the Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol and the associated Gallatin County high-angle search & rescue team.

Don McCue

Don with a last-cast Yellowstone River brown.

Don with a last-cast Yellowstone River brown.

Don grew up in Pennsylvania and was introduced to fly fishing at a very young age through “The Brother Hood of the Jungle Cock”. The BOJC is a fly fishing organization that was created by Joe Brooks and others to introduce kids to fly fishing and conservation. By the time Don graduated high school he was teaching fly tying and fishing. Don’s college years were spent in central PA., surrounded by some of the best trout fishing in the east. This is where his love of wild trout that live in beautiful places really ignited.

During college Don earned gas money to go fishing from selling his flies in a tiny general store along Pennsylvania's famed Penn's creek. This is where he developed some productive golden stone nymphs and his streamer addiction infected him. His first days as a fly fishing guide were also on Penn's when a local fly shop recognized Don's knowledge and love of fly fishing. "This is where it clicked for me. When you reach the point where teaching and helping someone else to learn to fly fish is every bit (even more) as rewarding as fishing yourself."

His first time to the Yellowstone area was on an extended trip right out of high school. This trip lasted about nine months. During this time Don fished throughout Yellowstone Park and Montana. Leaving Montana to go back east for college was tough, but a career in aviation was calling. He vowed to live in Montana again one day and in 1998 he made that dream come true. Don has been guiding in this area since 2002. When he is not knee deep in a mountain stream or floating down a river you can find him by looking up. When he is not on or in the water he loves to float high in the Montana sky in his hang glider.

Other Guides & Outfitters

MYSTERY GUIDE!

In addition to our in-house staff and the contractors we turn to the most, we also use three or four other local independent guides for a few trips per season. As with all of our guides, anyone we pair you with will be a full-time professional guide who has been fly fishing the Yellowstone River and Yellowstone National Park for many years. Since many of our "a few trips for Parks' per year" guides live in Bozeman or Livingston, Montana, if you happen to be staying in one of these cities, we may pair you with one of these guys and just have you meet them there. Likewise, for multi-guide trips on the Missouri River, one of your guides will be based out of Bozeman, Helena, or Craig and will meet us up there.


Fly Tyers

The gentlemen below both guided for us at one time. Now they only tie flies. That isn't to say they aren't an active part of the business: they're often in and out of the shop often enough that many customers still think they're on the clock.

Matt Minch

Matt Minch on Trout Lake in the early 1990s

Matt with a Trout Lake cutthroat caught in the early 1990s.

Matt has been fly fishing since his boyhood in Pennsylvania in the early 1940s, but didn't begin tying until the late 1960s, when he lived in Ten Sleep, Wyoming. He has the notable distinction of having caught a fish on his first cast with a fly he tied. Perhaps unsurprising given this immediate success, he started tying commercially in 1970.

Matt primarily fishes nymphs, and prefers highly impressionistic flies that can suggest multiple food items at once. His nymphs are strongly influenced by the flies common around his former winter home on New Zealand's South Island, and all rank among Parks' Fly Shop's most effective and best-selling flies. Many of Matt's nymphs have been featured in publications including Fly Fishing & Tying Journal and Flyfisher, and the book Trout Country Flies: From Greater Yellowstone Masters. He is a contract fly designer for Montana Fly Company.

Doug Korn

Doug Korn

Doug with an "east of town" brown from the lower Yellowstone. Photo by Ben Jewell.

The great outdoors and fishing have always been driving forces in Doug's life. As a child he went panfishing and bullhead fishing at night with his dad and grandfather. In later years he spent all spring, summer, and fall on Lake Ontario, trolling for trout and salmon, and then ice fished all winter. One day he stumbled into fly fishing by going to a fly tying demonstration and being totally captivated by it. He became a fly tier that day and it wasn’t long before he was casting and presenting his own flies to the local brown trout.

Today Doug enjoys fly fishing the inland trout streams and tributaries in his home state of New York and in Yellowstone country. Doug worked full time for Parks' Fly Shop in 2008 and 2009, then filled in a bit during July 2010. Since then he has graduated to just tying flies for the shop, which gives him more fishing time. Doug ties and designs flies year round, but in the summer you will find him field testing these flies all over Yellowstone Country. Doug strives to design flies that catch fish and are easy to tie as-well-as being beautifully effective, “guide flies” really. Doug is inspired by the great fly tiers of the Catskills and the Rocky Mountains, both past and present. He enjoys both the artistic skills of fly tying and the technical challenges in bringing the fish to hand.


Parks' Fly Shop

PO Box 192 or 202 Second Street South

Gardiner, MT 59030

Phone: (406) 848-7314

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