BOZEMAN — Known as Trout U for its proximity to premier angling and its leadership in fisheries research and education, Montana State University has now teamed up with fly fishing industry leader Simms to offer a new line of apparel.

Under a licensing agreement for the Trout U brand, which MSU trademarked in 2007 to represent the multifaceted ways the native fish is integrated into university life, Bozeman-based Simms will begin making Trout U hats and shirts, including products made of the company's performance Bugstopper and Solarflex fabrics.

Under a licensing agreement for the Montana State University Trout U brand, Simms will begin making Trout U hats and shirts, to be sold at the MSU Bookstore. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham)

"Students come from all around the country to fish our Blue Ribbon rivers and conduct hands-on fisheries research," said Julie Kipfer, MSU's director of marketing. "This partnership with Simms is one more way that MSU students and their families can connect with that experience while showing their Montana State pride."

In recent years, MSU students with majors ranging from ecology to engineering have worked with faculty to study fish behaviormap streambeds and design fish-passage structures, all with an aim of improving native fish habitat on iconic rivers such as the Big Hole and Yellowstone. MSU has a history of working with agencies such as Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on fisheries issues such as whirling disease management. And the MSU Library is home to the Trout and Salmonid Collection, part of an MSU effort to create the world’s largest and most comprehensive research center for trout-related information.

Simms, which relocated to the Bozeman area in 1993, developed a reputation for high-quality, innovative products after developing the first-ever breathable waders, which it still makes at its Bozeman facility. The company designs and manufactures a variety of fly fishing products and has more than 180 employees.

"Simms is very excited about our partnership with MSU on Trout U. This partnership gives us an opportunity to deepen our roots with MSU community members who are passionate about angling and our home waters," said Trevor Walz, sales manager at Simms. "Our local waters are vital, not only to our business and the local economy but also to the health and well-being of thousands upon thousands who utilize the incredible resources we are so fortunate to have in our own backyard."

The Simms Trout U products will be sold at the MSU Bookstore. Like other MSU-branded merchandise, sales of these products generate royalties for MSU. According to Kipfer, MSU hopes to expand distribution to other retail outlets in the future.

“We're always looking for ways to strategically partner with local manufacturers to bring in products whose sales can help lower the cost of course materials for MSU students," said Chad Schreier, MSU Bookstore CEO. "This is a core component of our mission, and we are excited to expand the already popular line of Simms products to include the new Trout U line for all members of the MSU community."

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- By MSU News Service -