Suspected Pipe Bomb Detonated Near Popular Montana Fishing Site

by Shelby Scott

Fishermen are no strangers to unique and interesting finds. Frequently reeled in are things like shoes all the way up to discarded lawn furniture and the like. However, during a training exercise at a popular fishing site along Montana’s Jefferson River, a local search and rescue crew located a suspected pipe bomb.

The explosive device was located Saturday night by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue crew. Following retrieval of the deadly device, Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks closed the Williams’ Bridge Fishing Access site and the nearby Sappington Bridge Access Site. Authorities found the suspected bomb submerged near the Williams’ Bridge location.

However, according to USA Today, thanks to professionals at Malstrom Air Force Base, personnel safely detonated the bomb Sunday morning. Authorities then reopened the two fishing access points.

Fish, Wildlife, & Parks Warden Adam Pankratz stated in a news release, “We’re grateful to Gallatin County and Malstrom Air Force Base personnel for their collaborative response in this situation.”

He continued, “Thanks to these efforts, we were able to safely reopen these sites to the public.”

Thankfully then, the bomb was safely recovered and detonated, avoiding any injuries or casualties. Although, the warden did express that this situation functions as “a good reminder to use caution and carefully inspect items we would normally think of as litter before picking them up.”

The county’s sheriff’s office has since launched an investigation according to USA Today.

California Fishermen Hooked a Live Pipe Bomb Last Year

The submerged pipe bomb located in Montana waters currently continues making headlines. However, it’s not the first time these homemade explosives have been found in fishing holes.

Last year, a California fisherman, Jon Kenyon, reeled in a live pipe bomb while fishing the Sacramento River. Amid the situation last August, Kenyon told KRCR that he had been fishing the same area for 15 years. Subsequently, he had reeled in all kinds of strange finds.

While on the river, he said he caught hold of something pretty heavy, thinking perhaps it was an anchor. However, after reeling it in, his father-in-law identified it as a pipe bomb. He recalled his father-in-law telling everyone aboard to move to the front of the boat. The crew then dragged the dangerous object to shore.

Kenyon stated that he and the other fishermen waited with explosive onshore until county sheriffs came. County authorities stated that while on their way to Kenyon and his find, they received reports of a second device.

In response to the situation, Kenyon said, “I think that they are probably trying to blow up salmon and knocking them out and trying to take them.”

While I myself am no professional fisherman by any means, I am positive that the use of pipe bombs for fishing is a) largely illegal and b) downright dangerous.