Pat & Sig Barnes

(Pat Barnes 1907 to 1997)

Pat & Sigrid Barnes owned and operated one of the premier fly shops and guide services in West Yellowstone, Montana for almost 40 years.

Growing up in Montana, Pat learned to fish with grasshoppers from his mother and caught his first fish on the Madison in Yellowstone Park at age six. Given this early success, Pat always had a fondness for hopper patterns. In his retirement Pat put together an impressive collection of Hopper patterns from the preeminent fly tyers in America (see collection and contributors in slideshow.) Pat taught school in the Helena MT school system during the winter and tied flies and guided for Don Martinez and Dan Bailey during the summers. Pat opened his own full time shop in 1946 at age 37.

Pat was a practical fly tyer-flies designed to catch fish. He developed patterns such as the Sofa Pillow and Jug Head that became Yellowstone area staples during the early summer salmon fly hatches from the Big Hole in June to the Yellowstone river in August. he is also responsible for the evolution and broad commercialization of famous western patterns such as the Goofus Bug (Jack Honer's Deer Hair) and the House & Lot Variant that was originally introduced in Colorado and named by Dwight Eisenhower. Pat was also the first western fishing guide to use the McKenzie Drift Boat for fishing in Montana, which has now become the staple of big water fly fishing.

While Pat was both the consummate western big river guide and fly innovator, the prolific tyer in the family was his wife Sig. With a converted foot pedal sewing machine attached to her vise (see photo at top of page), she stocked 100's of fly bins through out their shop. When asked how many flies she had tied for their shop her answer was simple "too many." The Pat Barnes' fly shop in West Yellowstone was sold to Bob Jacklin and is still in operation today as Jacklin's Fly Shop on the corner of Yellowstone Avenue and Canyon Street.

The Barnes' flies were sold under their trademark designation of "Waterborn Flies." This label graced the box tops of flies sold from their shop.

All historical photos courtesy of Charles Barnes (Pat & Sig's son).

Pat driving an early White Auto Co. touring coach in
Pat working in Don Martinez Shop
His first Fly Shop in West Yellowstone
Pat in front of his first fly shop
Barnes' fly shop after Relocation-big snow year
Pat with two of his early guides-and two nice
Pat guiding clients on the Madison
Pat Barnes Steelhead
On the river...
Pat fly-fishing in his later years
Pat & Sig Barnes Fly Patterns
Patterns Index Notes A
Patterns Index Notes B
Pat's prized Hopper Collection
Contributing Tyers (The best)
Early Sofa Pillow
Improved Sofa Pillow
Goofus Bug Dark
Goofus Bug Grizzly Hackle
Red Goofus Bug
Green Goofus Bug
Pat's Hopper
H & L Varian (House & Lot)
Black Wolf Variant
Martinez Nymph
Jug Head
Western Irresistible Adams style

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