Simms Fishing Products

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Simms Fishing Products
Industry Fishing
Founded Jackson, Wyoming, (1980))
Founder John Simms
Headquarters Bozeman, Montana, United States
Area served
Key people
  • K.C. Walsh (President)
  • Robert Gibson Director of Manufacturing & Operations
  • Diane Bristol Director of Marketing & Brand Management
  • Andy Wunsch Director of Sales & Service
Products Fishing equipment, accessories and apparel

Simms Fishing Products is a high end fishing equipment, accessories and apparel manufacturer in Bozeman, Montana.


Simms was founded in 1980 by John Simms, a Jackson, Wyoming fishing guide and outfitter. John Simms established the company to manufacture a higher quality of waders and wading equipment than was available at the time. In the mid-1980s, John Simms introduced high quality neoprene waders to the U.S. market.[1] Shortly after that, John Simms sold Simms Fishing Products to another Jackson sporting goods manufacturer, Life-Link International. Life-Link still operates out of Jackson and manufacturers eyewear accessories such as Croakies in Bozeman, Montana.

In 1992, a Los Angeles-based management consultant, K.C. Walsh moved his family to Bozeman to fly fish and start a new business.[1] In 1993, he acquired Simms Fishing Products from Life-Link and moved the business to Bozeman, Montana. Simms employs 115 people and consolidated its manufacturing facilities into a new single 62,000 square feet (5,800 m2) facility in October 2013.[1]

In December 2011, U.S. Senator Max Baucus honored Simms as a Montana Jobs Economic Engine stating:

Simms Fishing Products is the kind of Montana business that can inspire others to weather the storm through hard work and innovation. This company truly is an economic engine for our state. It also shares Montana's outdoor heritage with the world by selling the kinds of products that remind folks everywhere that Montana is a great place to do business, live, work and enjoy our rivers and lakes.

— Max Baucus, December 2011, Washington D.C.[2]


Simms Fishing Products are known for innovation in both products and manufacturing techniques. Shortly after K.C. Walsh acquired the company and moved it to Bozeman, Simms introduced a line of breathable waders using Gore-Tex.[1] Simms is the only U.S. and one of only three wader manufacturers in the world to have a license from W.L. Gore and Associates to use Gore-Tex in waders.[3] Simms was one of the first wader manufacturers to produce waders specifically tailored to women fly fishers.[4] In 2006, Simms introduced a high-end zippered wader, using waterproof zippers from the YKK Group in Tokyo. Although not the first ever zippered waders on the market, the Simms G4Z wader set a new standard for zippered waders.[5]

Environmental stewardship[edit]

In 2008 Trout Unlimited asked wader and boot manufacturers and anglers to eliminate the use of felt soled waders and boots to help combat the spread of invasive aquatic species. Shortly after, Simms announced that it would eliminate felt-soled waders and boots in its 2010 product line.[6] Even though many states have banned the use of felt soled wading boots, Simms announced in July 2011 that they would reintroduce felt soled wading boots because of high consumer demand.[7]


Simms is an active contributor to the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation non-profit project in Bozeman that introduces wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to fly fishing.[8]


Simms manufactures a wide range of men's and women's waders, boots, outerware, apparel and travel accessories for fishers and outdoors enthusiasts. It retails its products through a worldwide network of independent fly fishing shops, large sporting goods retailers and online retailers. In 2012, 30 percent of its sales were international and Simms maintains warehouses in Europe, Japan and New Zealand.[1] Simms Fishing Products have won Field & Stream Magazine's Best of the Best award eight times since 1998 including awards for waders, wading boots, jackets and travel bags.[9] In 2016, Simms was awarded the President's "E" Award in recognition of its export business.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Greg Thomas (2012). "Wading into the Future-From a fledgling wader manufacturer to a western fly fishing institution, Simms took a direct path to success". Big Sky Journal. Bozeman, MT: J.D. Publishing LLC. Arts Issue: 62–66. 
  2. ^ "Baucus Montana Jobs Economic Engine: Bozeman-Based Simms Fishing Products". Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  3. ^ "Make it in America Manufacturer of the Week-Simms Fishing Products". National Institute of Science and Technology. September 26, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  4. ^ "Fly Fishing Women Wade In". Chicago Sun Times. July 20, 1999. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  5. ^ Ed Dentry (September 6, 2006). "Anglers wade in heaven with waterproof zippers". Rocky Mountain News. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  6. ^ "What Anglers Can Do". Trout Unlimited. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  7. ^ Kirk Deeter (July 1, 2011). "Simms Is Back in Felt". Field and Stream. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  8. ^ "Giving Back To Those Who Give The Most". Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  9. ^ Tim Romano (April 7, 2012). "Simms Nabs "Field & Stream" Magazine’s Best of the Best Award". Midcurrent. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  10. ^ "Bozeman company receives national award". May 16, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016.