The Ranch History
THE HISTORY OF A FLY-FISHING PARADISE ON THE SMITH RIVER
Bar Z Riverside Ranch is situated on a 10,000 acre family owned, working cattle ranch in Southwestern Montana. The land was settled in 1881 by patriarch Sylvester Hanson who ventured west out of Civil War-torn North Carolina in search of a better life. Bound for the wide open spaces of the western frontier, he chose wisely and settled in Montana upon a pristine chunk of land crisscrossed by the Smith River. And so, the Bar Z Ranch & Cattle Company was established as was the Hanson family legacy.
Today, the ranch headquarters sits just west of White Sulphur Springs, a small town located about 1.5 hours north of Bozeman. The Hanson family continues to run cattle and farm alfalfa just as Sylvester did in the 1800s. Elmer Hanson, grandson of Sylvester, expanded the operation considerably in the 70s and 80s purchasing neighboring land and increasing his acreage to nearly 50,000.
In 2002, just prior to Elmer’s passing, the ranch was divided amongst his three children who each own and operate their piece of Elmer’s legacy. John’s ranch, which you’ll be fishing on, includes more than 10,000 of the prettiest acres in Meagher County. John acquired the Bar Z Cattle Company name in 2002 and continues to run a full-time cattle operation consisting of 500 cows and 100 yearling heifers.
John’s son Dave works under his father to help operate Bar Z Riverside Ranch Fishing Lodge. In addition to outstanding fly-fishing, the ranch boasts a tremendous variety of wild animals. Spending your days on the Bar Z is an experience that’s as rare as it is relaxing; as special as it is spectacular. There aren’t many places like this left. Anywhere. Bar Z Riverside Ranch is operated by John Hanson Outfitting/Mountain Tech Industies. 5320