Sometimes bucket lists require actual buckets.
Jimmy Kimmel got to live his ultimate bucket list fantasy: Wading mid-thigh in Big Sky, Montana’s Gallatin River amongst onyx rocks and the imposing, pine-covered Levinski Ridge. The late-night host was joined by friends Chris Bianco and Adam Perry Lang, two acclaimed chefs, for a fly-fishing adventure in a setting worthy of a snow globe.
“No reasonable person would think to do this,” Kimmel told Robb Report, which organized the December excursion. “In fact, it wouldn’t even occur to me to fish for trout in the mountains with fresh snow on the ground.”
The frigid waters of Montana are ideal for fly-fishing because they’re teaming with wild fish, like rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout, and the Gallatin, in particular holds special allure for Kimmel because it’s where Robert Redford shot several fishing scenes in A River Runs Through It.
“Most people think fly-fishing is very complicated, and it’s not something that they want to try,” Kimmel said in the story. “It’s not particularly complicated, and you can become proficient at it pretty quickly if you’re interested in it.”
He continues: “When you do get an idea that you might want to go out in a river and put on this unusual costume and try out this rod and reel that is not the one that your grandpa taught you to use, you watch a movie called A River Runs Through It; and when you see it, you’re entranced. To fish in the river where that movie was shot is a very special thing.”
After a very “buckety” day at the river (they caught over a dozen trout), they headed back to cook to the Yellowstone Club to cook a sumptuous, produce-heavy meal that screams “Montana”: wild mushrooms with toasted hazelnuts, pasta with bay leaves and dried-heirloom-tomato pesto, a citrus salad and more … all paired with a significant amount of Cabernet Sauvignon.
“This is how I want to spend the last part of my life: Coming out to a river. Standing in the river. Listening to the river. Seeing the birds in the trees. And seeing these beautiful fish that present themselves to you. You have a little moment with them where you catch them, you see them, you say good-bye to them, and you send them on their way.”
Where To Stay:
The Yellowstone Club: 3,600 acre private residential community surrounded by the Rocky Mountains with world-class ski trails, golf courses, as well as restaurants, lodges, and cafés serving regional cuisine.
What To Do:
Fly fish in the Gallatin River
Hike at Yellowstone National Park
Cross-country ski at the Lone Mountain
Rock Climb in the Gallatin Canyon
Where to Eat:
Warren Miller Dining Room (Yellowstone Club)
Caribiner Lounge (Big Sky Resort)
— Maria Yagoda, @mariayagoda