Marty Anderson’s life revolves around two passions — music and fly fishing.
Classically trained on guitar growing up, the Whitefish High School senior recalls a household full of music since he can remember.
“I had a guitar in my hand at 4-years-old,” he said. “Ever since it’s been almost daily.”
Once he got his hands on his first electric guitar at 9 and started playing some of the music he was listening to, like blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, the obsession began to take hold.
“As soon as I really started playing what I enjoyed listening to, it was totally different. It went from something where I had to practice every day for 20 minutes to where I’m practicing for hours every day and playing on my own terms,” he said.
Anderson’s playing could be heard most often during Bulldog sporting events, where he and the rest of the high school pep band would rock out before and during games.
Led by Jill Shepard, Anderson and the other musicians in the band reveled in the chance to fill the gymnasium with sound and energy.
“I don’t know how many other opportunities you really get to stand in front of people and just play as loud and as fast as you possibly can,” he said.
Around the same time he first plugged in his electric guitar, a friend also introduced Anderson to what would become a staple of who he is.
“A buddy of mine tied flies, because his dad was really into fly fishing,” he recalled. “He tied me a bunch of little tiny foam beetles, just really rudimentary things. And I was up at Link Lake, standing on a rock above the water, and I couldn’t catch all these fish I saw swimming around. So I tied on that because it was the last thing I had. Threw it in, caught like four,” he said. “I got really excited by that and it really triggered something inside me.”
He was hooked. He got a fly rod and some lessons from his dad, and soon after he found himself tying his own flies.
“I think that was the real tipping point in the addiction process,” he said. “Because once you start tying your own flies then you’ve got to understand every aspect of the ecosystem and the rivers and everything. I think it really combines the whole thing to make it really a worthwhile pastime for me, and a real passion.”
After graduation on June 3, Anderson will head to Montana State University in the fall to pursue a degree in business and get as much fishing time in as possible.
Noting Bozeman’s reputation as a major hub in the fly fishing industry, Anderson hopes to develop his business knowledge while gaining some experience as a fly fishing guide. The dream is to guide as a career and someday own his own guiding business or lodge.
He’s also interested in the science side of things, hydrology and biology, namely, but thinks his calling is out on the water rather than in a lab.
“I think I would struggle sitting behind a desk as a biologist, which I know that’s a large part of the job,” he said. “You don’t get much desk time as a guide.”
As his time at Whitefish High School comes to a close, Anderson reflected on a few memorable parts of his time as a student. His involvement in music, including pep band, jazz band and solo ensemble events, is up there, as is joining the Fly Fishing Club.
However, the one that stands out — grabbing a big win as the goalkeeper for the Bulldogs soccer team in his final season.
“Winning the Polson game on their homecoming this year, I had probably the best game of my life. It was under their lights, their home field, and they beat us two weeks earlier on our home field, our homecoming,” he said. “Beating them in a really good game was really awesome.”
He’ll be around town over the summer, he said, though it’s most likely he’s out fishing any chance he gets. A trip to visit family in Massachusetts and a possible attempt on Mount Rainier with his cousins are in the works, but Anderson said his big hope is to get out on the road and explore the scenery of Montana.
“I’m trying to get a week and a half or so where I can just drive around the state and really explore a lot of the waters that this state has to offer,” he said. “And fish, a lot.”