Guiding hunters and fisherman is a tough business. It takes a unique individual to handle the pressures of making sure their clients have a successful trip.
Carl Mann, of Stevensville, has been doing just that for quite a while. In fact, when I first arrived in Missoula in 1982, Mann was teamed up with another local guy named Doug Brewer.
For those who were around Missoula at that time, you probably remember seeing a Big Fish hanging about where the Hastings record store is located now on Brooks. That is where their store, the Montana Fishermanm was located.
I first got to know Mann by doing a local Friday morning fishing program with him – the same local radio show I still do every Friday on KGVO-1290AM.
Mann eventually started his own guide service, called Carl Mann Outdoor Experience. Through the 1990’s, Mann started to guide mule deer hunts in the fall over at the Missouri Breaks by Fort Peck Reservoir as well and also kept busy in the summer taking clients down area rivers as well as lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake.
His successful outdoor connections led Mann to meet and guide for national TV outdoor shows when they would come to the area. Shows Like Babe Winklemans Outdoors, Larry Shoenborn’s Fishing the West were among them.
One of those contacts was a guy named Bob Asbury, from Liberty Lake, Washington. Asbury and Mann hit it off and even though they worked together on a few hunting videos, Mann always thought they could do a TV show on fishing.
It turns out that Mann was right. Asbury came to Mann last year and told him he was ready to start the Columbia Country TV fishing show. Asbury would handle the business end of things, like getting enough capital together to buy the necessary equipment to do the show, get the clearance on TV stations across the Northwest and sell the advertising so they could pay the bills, including Manns salary.
Mann’s job would be to have a professional from the area being featured do the show with him and take him on the river or the lake they would be fishing.
So far, Columbia Country has been all over the Northwest taping shows from places like the Olympic Peninsula to the Clearwater River fishing steelhead and king salmon to Clark Canyon Reservoir trout fishing.
Columbia Country has also featured trout fishing on Montana Rivers like the Jefferson, Clark Fork, Blackfoot and the Ruby.
The future looks bright for the show, according to Mann. Some of the larger TV markets they have just cleared are Seattle, Washington and Reno, Nev.
In between shoots, Mann still finds time to take clients down area rivers and fish for lake trout on Flathead Lake. His guiding company is called Carl Mann Montana Experience Outfitters.
Mann invites all phone calls when the subject is fishing — who knows you might just end up a TV star. Mann can be reached at 406-777-1687. Columbia Country airs locally on KPAX channel 8 Sundays at 4:30 p.m.