This Is Dan Bailey

This is Dan Bailey. 

A local legend, Bailey was instrumental in helping preserve Paradise Valley, establish and support fisheries conservation, and bring the enjoyment of the outdoors and fly fishing to thousands. Born in 1904, Dan taught physics in New York before falling in love with Montana during his honeymoon in 1936. Shortly after his return to New York, he announced his intention to move west and open a fly shop. Thus, Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop was born in 1938. 


While many remember Dan Bailey most for his legendary shop and mail order catalog, some of his most important contributions came from his conservation efforts. He was a tireless proponent of public access on Montana’s rivers. One of his most notable conservation achievements was in helping to stop the Allenspur Dam, which would have been constructed at today’s Carter’s Bridge. This dam, combined with two other both above and below on the Yellowstone River would have flooded a large portion of Paradise Valley. He was heavily involved with conservation organizations such as the Federation of Fly Fishers (today’s Fly Fishers International), Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Wild and Scenic Rivers and others. 

His fly shop was at one point the largest producer of hand tied flies in the world. Bailey’s mail order catalog provided fishing gear, flies, and equipment to anglers the world over. He is directly responsible for teaching and instilling a love of fly fishing to thousands of anglers worldwide until his death in 1982.

The legacy of the Dan Bailey’s name is one of education, conservation, and a deep love and appreciation of the outdoors. 

In the spring of 2020, our owners Dale Sexton and Mark Gurley, bought the business from Dan’s son, John, and we became Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co. We are devoted to honoring Dan Bailey’s legacy and history and carrying on his important work. We are fortunate to be on the front lines of educating the next generation of anglers and conservationists.  Current efforts that have a direct effect on local conservation and education are $50 from every guide trip we host is donated to multiple conservation organizations that help to preserve and protect the Yellowstone River. Also, 1% of every Dan Bailey’s Wall of Fame Red Ale sold are being donated to conservation and education.

Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Co is actively working on expanding our conservation efforts to directly benefit our town, area environments, and local community.