Trout Spey Camp Roundup

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.

Morning meetup in the tent for warm breakfast burritos, hot coffee and trout spey talk.

Vendor tents representing Sage, RIO, Redington, Simms, Echo, Airflo, Orvis, Scientific Anglers, G Loomis, Douglas and Nautlius full of free demo gear to try.

CLINICS

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.

Eric Neufeld from Simms Fishing explains the basics to a group of new Trout Spey Anglers at our Intro to Spey Clinic.

Mike McCune answering questions submitted during the event on the final day at our Q&A Clinic.

COMPETITIONS

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!

Mens Casting

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

Women’s Casting

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

Russell Schmidt of G Loomis presents Treg Owings with an IMX PRO Shortspey 4 weight.

Brandon Prince of Echo presents Kevin Dodge with an Echo Trout Spey 4 weight.

Rainbow Unicorn presents Amory Harris with a pair of Orvis Womens PRO Waders.

Peoples Choice Winner “Fancy Boy” by Chase Walker.

Judges Best Fly “Anti Social” by Tom Latourelle.

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.

PHOTO 1st Mark Gildinhaur, Lakewood, WA – Clearwater 11’4 #3, Battenkill Disc Reel, SA Complete Line System.

PHOTO 2nd Finn McNichel, Cambridge, ID – Simms Dry Creek Z hip pack.

NON-FISH Craig Carns, Great Falls, MT – 12 Thin Mint Streamers and Stripn “Swing” Hoody.

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.

-JA

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • FlyFinaticLou
    October 21, 2019 2:06 pm

    Debating wether to go to the fly show in Lynnwood, WA. come Feb.? Weather Dependent (across the PASS!), as was my arrival at Spey Camp on time from Helena . . . whew! Trying to (still!) figure out how to send along MY fish-porn from day 3 with Mike M. & Terry, whom I shared the 3/4 day – Thanks Mike, your guidance was Greatly Welcomed. As a former “Yorker” would say, “your the shits!” – that’s a compliment, by the way. When I replace my current corrupted computer I’ll have a new email that “works” so I’ll send a few pics via that email. That 20-something inch Brown is my personal best (so far), and that’s saying a lot, over 40 years or so! Having to take the photos By MySelf, was no easy task . . . “points” should be awarded (in hindsight) for the most difficultly taken self photo(s) – for future reference, ha ha ! Suggestion . . . being as how the Saturday floats saw Numerous “other” walk & waders + boats on the water, other than “ours,” perhaps a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Spey Camp (2020) ? I think I’ll try to attend next years too . . . hopefully fish with Mike AND Mark – the M&M Boys! Saving up my spare change, as we speak!

  • Great event all a round John, Mark, Julie and staff. Thanks for spreading the Troutspey buzz. The casting competition was not a junk-show at all. Likely one of the first, if not the first, Troutspey casting competition anywhere, ever. Great to see so many first-timers stepping up and throwing line out there. Looking forward to more events and swag.

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