bass billboard bitterroot
The botched Bitterroot billboard. The Missoulian

One of the bad things about being a billboard designer is that your mistakes are blown up… well… as big as a billboard.

Some tourism promoters and a billboard designer are eating crow in western Montana’s trout-crazy Bitterroot Valley for misrepresenting the local fishing amenities. It started out simple enough: The Ravalli County Tourism Business Improvement District wanted to celebrate the world-class Bitterroot River, an international draw for fly casters pursuing rainbow and cutthroat trout.

The trouble, according to an article in the Missoulian newspaper, was that neither the promoters nor the billboard designers were anglers. So the billboard went up featuring a largemouth bass leaping for a plug, instead of a rainbow leaping for a Royal Coachman.

The billboard was greeted with the sound of local fishermen slapping their foreheads. “It’s beyond comprehension that someone would make that kind of mistake,” Dale Burk, a longtime Bitterroot fisherman told a local reporter. “If we were in Arkansas, it would have been fine.”

The people behind the billboard say they’ll fix it as soon as possible.

Truth be told, there are a few largemouth bass eking out a living in the cold, rushing waters of the Bitterroot. But in western Montana, cold-water fisheries are king.

You can find a photo of the billboard over at __the Missoulian.