Our History

Serving Ennis For Over 84 Years

  • The Tackle Shop has a rich history of Ennis, Montana, the Madison River and fly fishing dating back to Elwood Combs in 1937. The identifying fly on the building first appeared in the ’60s and has become a landmark on Main Street ever since. The shop was awarded the Orvis Endorsed Outfitter of the Year award in 2001 and again in 2017. Today, the expansive outfitting expertise of owner John Way has allowed The Tackle Shop to venture across Montana and include guided fly fishing on the best waters Montana has to offer.

01

Love of Fly Fishing

Elwood Combs was a mechanic with a love of fly fishing the Madison River. In 1937, Elwood gave into his love and began tying and selling flies at the current location of The Tackle Shop. Elwood was one of the first outfitters to bring the “Mackenzie River” style drift boat to the Madison River Valley and manufactured boats modeled after the McKenzie River drift boats produced by Keith Steele of Oregon.

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02

All in the Family

The Morgan family moved from Hollywood, California, to Ennis to run the El Western Motel and Fishing Resort in 1945. In 1958, Jerry purchased The Tackle Shop from Elwood Combs and sold it to his brother, Tom, in 1961. Three years later, Tom had an opportunity to follow his passion and today he continues to craft the finest custom fly rods available with his new company, Tom Morgan Rodsmiths.

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03

Down the Line

In 1964, Tom Williams followed Tom Morgan in ownership. Since that time, the ownership progression has consisted of Ed Curnow (1973-83), Ray and Laurie Killian (1983-91), the Combs family (1991-2006, no relation to Elwood Combs), Jeff Borsuk (2006-10) and Gary Wood (2010-11). Current owner John Way has owned The Tackle Shop since 2011 and carries on the traditions that started long ago.

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