above: Whitney Gould offers some tips to one of the casting competition competitors.
WHAT A CRAZY WEEK!
Somehow, we managed to set up for, hold, and clean up after a 3+ day event at the shop and get to Denver to attend the International Fly Tackle Dealer show. We’re back in Craig, and processing everything we’ve seen and done in the last 10 days.
Our first ever Trout Spey Camp was held October 10-12 right here in Craiglandia. Right before the event, a large winter storm hammered much of the region causing travel issues for campers. A last minute tent heater rental and a night of pushing snow off the roof kept the tent standing and warm. In the morning, a shocking number of campers arrived for breakfast. We had 90 folks signed up, and 80 picked up their badges and T-shirts. A phenomenal effort on the part of our guests in the face of difficulty travel conditions and temperatures bottoming out in the single digits!
Fresh snow, clear skies and hot breakfast burritos greeted campers on morning one. The food was provided by Kelli Wilson at Mo River Eats, and all enjoyed those world famous breakfast burritos along with homemade chili and cornbread, pulled pork sliders and baked Spey”ziti”. Our friends at Ten Mile Creek Brewery in Helena also provided some much appreciated brew on tap.
Our clinics rolled on without a hitch, though we had a few too many folks at our “Intro to Spey” clinic. Something we’ve gotten used to. But thanks to our staff and manufacturers reps, we had more than a enough gear and instructors for the big crowd. I think everyone got the basics and maybe a little fine tuning if they had experience. In the afternoon, Whitney Gould, Curt Reynolds and myself held a smaller Intro clinic for late arrivals due to the weather.
Mike McCune’s “Sustained Anchor” clinic and Whitney Gould’s “Touch-n-Go” clinic we’re very well attended and provided attendees with some detailed expert instruction. Our Q&A Clinic was moderated by Mike McCune and we had a couple of dozen great questions that were submitted. Mike used his rod and the river to answer via demonstration.
We held a few “competitions”, not to promote competition in fly fishing, but to give away all the sweet prizes provided by our manufacturers and representatives. It was all in good fun, and we apologize to those who think we ran a junk-show casting competition. Having never done it before, we did. But lots of campers stepped up to the plate and took their best swing. And while it could of been done a little smoother, I don’t think anyone can say they’ve ever seen anything like it! Thanks again to all the campers who entered, competed and cheered on the rest!
We also held a fly tying contest, with prizes awarded by our top-secret staff of Trout Spey fly experts, and a “People’s Choice” award voted on by the campers themselves. We let the “people” award Chase Walker with an incredible Hatch 5+ fly reel!
Gold Treg Owings, Moscow, ID – G Loomis IMX PRO 4 rod
Silver Kevin Dodge, Driggs, ID – Echo Trout Spey rod
Bronze Travis Bradford, Missoula, MT – Scientific Anglers Complete Spey Line System
Gold Amory Harris, Bozeman MT – Orvis Womens PRO Wader
Casting Style Points
Gold Steve Hahn, Whitehorse YT – Rising Travel Net
Fly Tying Competition
Peoples Choice “Fancy Boy” Chase Walker, Missoula, MT – Hatch 5+ reel
Best Fly (judges) “Anti Social” Tom Latourelle, unknown – Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack
WORD OF HONOR PHOTOS
Fishing was really tough during the Trout Spey Camp, as blanket Pseudo hatches had the fish keyed up on the little things. But there were some great fish and great photos submitted to our “Word of Honor” Fishing Photo Contest.
SAGE HD Trout Spey Giveaway
But you didn’t need to compete to win! We also gave away other prizes on the final night, including the most valuable prize available. Don Hincks of Livingston, MT, won a brand new Sage HD Trout Spey 3 weight, a $900 rod and winner of “Best Two-handed Rod” award at last weeks IFTD Show in Denver. Congratulations Don!
Kurt Kruger from Sage presents a Sage HD Trout Spey to winner Don Hincks from Livingston, MT.
Whew, that was Nuts!
But what a fantastic time had by all, including the campers, manufacturer representatives, our guides and staff. It was a lot of work, but everything worthwhile is. Thanks again to all who attended, and special thanks to:
Instructors Mike McCune and Whitney Gould
Manufacturer Reps Kurt Kruger (Sage/RIO/Redington), Eric Neufeld (Simms), Brandon Prince (Echo/Airflo/Hatch), Jamie Lyle (Scientific Anglers/Orvis), Dan Short (Douglas Outdoors/Nautilus), and Russell Schmidt & Jacob Zirkle (G Loomis)
Kelli Wilson, Mo River Eats
Ethan and Ten Mile Creek Brewing
and for letting us use their property for casting demonstrations and clinics: Bob & Ande Maricich, Bill Robinette
The Headhunters Shop Crew, who worked non-stop for 5 days setting up, breaking down, doing security, checking folks in, organizing prizes, events, etc., and taking care of business in general.
TROUT SPEY CAMP 2020?
Right now it’s a tentative “yes”, and the tentative dates are October 22-24. We will finalize it sometime in the near future.
We’re always learning, and this event is no exception. Expect a few tweaks in the program for next year. Stay tuned.