Top 5 Winter Fly Shop Activities

Top 5 Fly Shop Winter Activities

I always thought that fly shop employees in the winter just watched YouTube. Lots of YouTube. Or Vimeo, we like Vimeo! The Top 5 Fly Shop Winter Activities will follow below. So what do those fly shop employees do all winter long?

And texting, lots of texting.

Actually, the winter activities of a fly shopper is not as mundane as you would think. As I once thought too.

We are so fortunate to live and fish on this 12 month resource. There are very few days that there is not one angler on the Missouri River, there are a few. For the rest, a fly shop must be open. And that fly shop is us, Headhunters Fly Shop and Guide Service. So we never stop thinking and talking about the Missouri River. We never stop fishing it either. We are in it for the full 12. All 12 of them.

While many trout shops close for the winter season, we keep on keepin’ on.

We gotta. We gotta do it for you, the Missouri River angler.

So most days are filled with more action than many would think. I do have to tell you, there are a few days when you wonder if anybody will drive through the tiney trout ‘burb of Craig. And some days they don’t. At all. But those are few and far between.

A normal winter day goes something like this…

  • Coffee brings in the first fellers of the day, then fly sales, spin a new fly line up for somebody, clean a line, discuss tapered leader design.
  • Summer bookings on the phone keep you busy the balance of the morning, then emails about summer, best times to come, hatch cycles, when do the Treeeco’s come, and so forth.
  • A few shuttles in the winter maybe numbering 5ish.
  • Then some afternoon anglers returning with either horror stories, or hero stories. About six of one, half a dozen of the other.
  • Then prep the coffee maker for the morning, vacuum, and get the hell out!
  • Joe’s is calling!


See, not as boring as you may have thought. Staring at the computer is a big part of fly shop work. Ninch and Sara and Julie are checking on orders, pre-season planning, hoping that all the products make it in the door, making sure that all the stuff has actually been ordered, answering the 4 phone lines at Headhunters…and staring at spreadsheets. Excel is now part of any great fly shop employees repertoire. Tying a Bimini Twist is a an important skill too. Thankfully.


Top 5 Fly Shop Winter Activities


  1. YouTube. We like Vimeo better.
  2. Fly Dusting and organizing.
  3. Casting the Echo Micro Practice Rod inside the shop. Without mittens.
  4. Casting, albeit quickly, at the Craig Casting Club. Testing, trying, and figuring out new fly lines, rods, leaders…It’s cold out, casting in mittens is a skill you may learn as a fly shop employee.
  5. Predicting if random cars meandering around Craig will ask to use the bathroom.


We are so happy to provide 12 months of service. Headhunters will be open 362 1/2 days this year. We were closed one day in the summer for an employee fish and party day. We are closed Thanksgiving afternoon and Christmas Day. You’ll just have to go elsewhere for those 2 1/2 days this year…

Good fly shops are open and are actively working towards the coming year. Finding the right flies for the next season, the hot new product, predicting water levels and weather patterns, reworking some merchandising, tweaking some fixtures, updating websites, blogging, writing fishing reports, dusting flies…and engaging in education whether it be Wednesday night fly tying get-togethers, Saturday Spey Days, technique discussions.

The bottom line is just this: We love, live, and fish the Missouri River for all 4 seasons.

We would all like to take the winter off, and that was John, Julie, and Marks’ original plan. To spend the winter months in sunny Florida. But then, then this happened. The Missouri River pulled us back in. You pulled us back in. And we have loved every minute of it.

We are completing our 6th spring, summer, fall here @ Headhunters. What a fantastic ride. We are still having a ball operating and owning a fly shop in Craig Montana. The people, you folks, are what makes it possible. The river is a nice addition too. The best resource in the state is a nice plus. The best customers along with the best river? A perfect scenario.

Thanks a ton to you readers and anglers. John, Julie, Ninch, Sara, and Mark would like to thank all of you for your strong support and we will continue to provide the best customer service, the best guides, the best selection of flies, for the unbelievable Missouri River.

Again, thanks to you.

If you need anything, feel free to call. We will pause the YouTube video and book you a Guide for May….

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  • Keep up the good work. You are the #1 source(website) I go to for ‘Mo river reports. 

  • And for those of us who only get to see you, and the river, a few times a year for a week or so, thanks for letting us be there vicariously through your photos and reports during the rest of the time. Reading the regular writings and seeing the familiar views are the next best thing to being there. We all know where to go when we do get to Craig!

  • Ah, number 5.  I remember a few summer shop days making bets on ice v bathroom query v food  / drink query.  Good times.

    Hope all is well in mighty Craig, guys!  Miss you!

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