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For Explore Big Sky, the BACK 40 is a resource: a place where we can delve into subjects and ask experts to share their knowledge.

LIVE WATER PROPERTIES

Every year passionate anglers from around the world seek out Montana’s legendary waters. The state offers fishing quality and diversity that is unequaled anywhere on the planet. If you love big rivers, small mountain streams, lakes, ponds or spring creeks, they’re all here to explore and enjoy.

Craig Janssen, broker for ranch real estate company Live Water Properties, says the No. 1 reason his phone rings is “trout,” or calls from those searching for a fishing ranch to call their own. As a passionate angler with 12 years of real estate experience, Janssen helps clients “land” the property of their dreams.

Janssen says the hardest thing about finding a ranch is that everyone has a different image in his or her mind of what the ideal property is. His best tip for finding the perfect ranch is to understand and list out what you want in a property. Here are the questions Janssen recommends asking yourself:

What type of fishing are you looking for?

Did you get hooked on fishing in Montana during a trip down the Yellowstone River, or was it the Gallatin? Do you prefer technical spring creek fishing, or are mountain streams your passion? Are ponds what you seek, or do you dream of land with river frontage? Whatever is in your mind’s eye, be specific so your broker can search for the right property.

Gallatin River Meadows offers both a spring-fed pond and one-quarter mile of Gallatin River frontage.

Gallatin River Meadows offers both a spring-fed pond and one-quarter mile of Gallatin River frontage.

Are private waters a priority?

Certain properties may offer incredible river access but may also be located near a boat ramp. You may see several boats in a day and for some buyers that’s alright. You also may prefer the privacy of spring creeks or a mountain stream.

Where do you want to be?

How far from a town and modern conveniences do you want your ranch to be located? If this is a second home, or you plan to fly in and out, consider the distance to the nearest airport.

For example, Bozeman is a thriving town with great air access. Jackson Hole, Wyoming, offers direct flights from 13 major cities. Both towns can get you to rural areas in less than an hour. If you’re seeking complete seclusion, a farther drive from town may pass your test.

What do you want to see?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Think about what you determine makes a stunning view. For some, large open fields and big skies are ideal, others would never consider sacrificing views of mountains and trees.

Tillinghast Creek is a classic Montana mountain stream flowing through the Tillinghast Creek Ranch in Belt, Montana.

Tillinghast Creek is a classic Montana mountain stream flowing through the Tillinghast Creek Ranch in Belt, Montana.

Understanding your goals is key, and your real estate broker can meet these needs with clear communication. Experienced brokers and anglers such as Janssen and the team at Live Water Properties speak the angler lingo and can help you pinpoint what you want.

Make your list, share your favorite fish tales and describe your ideal property to a broker, so they can best help you find the ranch of your dreams.

Live Water Properties is a ranch real estate company specializing in premier fly-fishing, hunting, ranching and conservation properties. Founded in 2001, they’re headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming, with additional offices in Idaho and Montana, and are represented by brokers throughout the western U.S.

For more information, visit livewaterproperties.com, call (406) 205-0360, or stop in the Bozeman office at 1165 North 14th Avenue, Suite 2A.