above: Whitney Gould started off the morning instructional sessions.
I headed over to the Clearwater River last weekend for the annual Red Shed Spey Gathering (aka Speyclave), a celebration of spey casting and Steelhead fly fishing that incuded product demo’s and spey casting instruction from many of the West’s best spey casting instructors. This is Poppy’s 12th event, and he puts on a great one. A guesstimate that about 400 people were in attendance, along with numerous instructors, tackle company reps, and 1 Montana fly shop owner.
The night I arrived Tracy Allen from Adipose Boatworks took me out for a quick evening fish in his sled.
The event is comprised of both product demonstration in the parking lot with manufacturer reps there to show you the latest goods, as well as provide demo rods and lines to go cast in the grass or on the river.
The hillside above the river is transformed into an “amphitheater” for instructional sessions. The instructors all wear microphones and a big sound system allows everyone to easily hear them. Each session is 30-60 minutes long, and the subjects are very detailed. Macro topics.
Lee Davison from Snake River Outfitters using some Karate Kid “wax on” to help teach the Snake Roll.
Demo Casters included Whitney Gould, Bruce Kruk, Al Buhr, Greg Bencivenga, Lee Davison, Zach Williams, Tom Larimer, Brian Styskal, Britta Fordice, Mark Huber, and Mia & Tegan Sheppard. If you just learned 1 important thing from this group, it would be worth the trip. I suspect that most folks took away at least that from each presentation.
But you probably want to know the fishing report. Pretty sucky. Not many fish caught that I heard of, but I was only there for 2 days. The Clearwater is extremely low right now, and the region needs a good rain to raise the river and get some fish moving. The weather and camaraderie were excellent however.
above: Whitney Gould and Al Buhr put on a free casting clinic for Kids in the afternoon. Awesome. Tom Larimer demonstrating some anchor tips.
The Red Shed is without a doubt one of the coolest fly shops around. The incredible Spey and fly tying selections are worth a long drive. Plus, it’s one of the few fly shops around smaller than ours. Seems like the little ones are good?