Bitterroot Nets are handcrafted fishing nets made in the northwest. Owner and craftsman Denny Carson made his first net in 2007 when his family woodworking business hosted a class taught by David Marks. The woodworking class wasn’t full so Carson signed up with the intention of making a fishing net. After making his first net he said, “A buddy saw that one and things started to take off.”
Located near Spokane, Washington, Bitterroot Nets now makes about 280 nets a year. “About three years ago I struggled with the decision to fully dedicate myself to the net business and back away from my family woodworking business completely,” Carson said. He said it was his calling because the nets not only show his craftsmanship, but also captures the different beautiful things you can do with wood. “Strong, solid craftsmanship and bringing out Mother Nature’s creations, wood is beautiful and I really want to show that.”
Each one of Carson’s stream nets are made with wood like Birdseye maple and Curly koa. Each net is unique and Carson accents that with gemstone inlays and other customizable options. They can even inlay hand-tied flies into the handle of the net. After the nets are shaped and sanded they are soaked in a special waterproofing oil for two days among other techniques to completely lock out moisture from each net.
Bitterroot Nets takes such care in this process that they offer a lifetime workmanship and finish guarantee. I bought my first Bitterroot Net from the Missoulian Angler in February 2015, and I broke it in a few months. I called the Missoulian Angler and they passed me along to Carson. After a quick phone call, my new net was on its way. Carson really stands behind his craftsmanship and his products.
After I exchanged the broken net for a new one that Carson let me pick from his website, I have netted hundreds of fish. It’s light and easy to carry on the streams. It has a magnetic-locking mechanism attached to a lanyard that you can clip to the back of your vest or to your hip with the small carabiner it comes with. If you jerk your body during the hike the magnetic lock may release and the net will fall to the ground and get scratched or dinged. I recommend carrying it to and from the water. After all, I consider my Bitterroot Net a work of art that helps me make more pieces of art through my photographs. I have never had a problem landing trout in the rivers around Missoula with my Stream Net from Bitterroot Nets. I will be investing in a larger landing net from Carson very soon to land larger species on the Missouri and out of state for steelhead and salmon.
People ask Carson why he calls them Bitterroot Nets when they are made in Washington. Carson got the idea to name his nets after the Bitterroot Mountains. He can see the west side of the range from his shop window.
The customization, beauty, strength and durability in the nets that Denny Carson makes at Bitterroot Nets is something unique and functional. He stands behind his work and you can see his craftmanship in the art he creates. “My nets are my passion, it’s hard to quantify that into words. I have a passion for perfection and I’m moved by the different wood I work with,” Carson said.
IFlyFishMontana has teamed up with Bitterroot Nets to bring our readers a limited time 10 percent discount online, just enter the code: IFLYFISHMT Just click any of the Bitterroot Nets links in the story to visit their site.
Tight lines, everyone!