4/22/08-The Red Shed Goes to Craig

I visited a special place last weekend. I was invited to take part in a spey clave on the Missouri River
and hosted by The Trout Shop in Craig, MT. This shop doesn't do spey, but are heavily into trout
and salt water fly tackle.

I invited Dale, my son-in-law. We loaded half the Red Shed into the Explorer and headed out on
Friday, arriving in Craig about 6:00pm. Things in Craig hadn't changed much since I was last there
with the exception of the iron bridge being replaced with a new concrete bridge and a new Trout
Shop building replacing the old shop I was last in about 7 years ago.

We found our key taped to the fly shop door and settled into our room in the Trout Shop Lodge.
After resting up abit and getting up a hunger we headed across the street to a place called Izzack's
Restaurant to visit with old friends and chow down. This place has all manor of grub and libations,
some of it pretty exotic by my standards. We settled on a burger called the Wooly Burger. I can tell
you it was damned big and very good.

Saturday, the day of the clave dawned snowy, windy, and cold. We had a mega breakfast in the
Trout Shop Cafe while we talked spey tackle. We gathered by the river at the appointed hour and did
our thing. Not many decided to find out more about spey casting while freezing their asses off. We
did have a few guys show up. All got some hands on help, and considering the weather seemed to
have a pretty good time. I only managed to get caught in a streamside brush a couple of times so I
had a very good day of casting. When everyone was froze up good we headed to the Trout Shop
Cafe for a lunch of soup and rolls. That evening they put on a barbeque for the attendees that was
out of this world.

Sunday dawned with 4" of fresh snow on the car. We got it packed up, had another mega breakfast
in the Trout Shop Cafe and got out of Dodge while the gettin was good.

In my lifetime I've been in quite a few cool fly shops. My own shop, the Red Shed has a certain charm
for visiting spey bums. That being said, The Trout Shop in Craig is awesome! It has an amazing
amount of inventory that is displayed in great style. I was pretty much blown away when I went
through the door. It's only flaw that I could see was no spey tackle but I've already got plenty of that.
Everyone connected with the place was helpful and pleasant to deal with. Poppy gives The Trout
Shop, The Trout Shop Lodge, The Trout Shop Cafe, and Izzack's Restaurant a five spey fly rating.
BIG SKY LAND
BY CLEARWATER FRANK

MONTANA'S MORN BROKE DARK AND DREAR AS I SCRAPED THE FROST FROM "OLD BLUE'S" GLASS

THE ENGINE COUGHED THEN HAMMERED SOME AS I HEADED SOUTH TOWARD WOLF CREEK PASS

THE MISSOURI FLOWED BY SMOOTH AND GRAY WITH A RIFFLE EVERY LITTLE WAY

I SAW SOME GEESE UPON A FLAT AND A WHITETAIL FEEDING IN A DRAW

AS THE ENGINE WARMED AND MY FINGERS THAWED MY THOUGHTS TURNED TOWARD WHAT FLY TO FISH,
I WONDERED ABOUT A BROWN AS A CHRISTMAS WISH

NOW I'M UP TO MY KNEES IN THE CHILLY FLOW, THE BLACK NOSED DACE CLOUDED IN THE SNOW WHICH
FLUTTERS DOWN FROM THE COLD GRAY SKY

THE WIND IS WHISTLING PAST MY EARS, SHOULD I HEAD FOR CRAIG AND HAVE A BEER?

THEN THE DAY IS ORR, THE SCORE IS NIL AND MY BODY SHUDDERS WITH A CHILL

I HEAD FOR THE FARM OUT EAST OF TOWN AS THE SUN IS SLOWLY GOING DOWN

I'M HOME AGAIN WITH THE FIRE'S ROAR, I HAVE A WARMTH DEEP DOWN INSIDE FROM A DAY SPENT AT
THE RIVER'S SHORE

NO FISH TODAY THAT WAS MY LOT BUT I CARE NOT OF THE TOTAL SCORE

JUST SPENDING TIME IN "BIG SKY LAND" CAN MAKE ONE'S LIFE SEEM TRULY GRAND


DEDICATED TO THE CREW AT THE TROUT SHOP-THANKS FOR A GREAT WEEKEND!
COPYRIGHT BY MICHAEL JOE CUMMINS-1987