Welcome to the information page for the Fourth West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days!
It’s been so wonderful too see new and familiar faces come out each year to share and learn our love for Spey casting and fishing for trout. Unfortunately, COVID forced us to cancel our event last year, but conditions seem to have improved to the point that we are confident that we can make the event happen again this year, with a few minor modifications to ensure everyone’s safety. So, mark your calendars, friends: September 24 & 25, 2021! We are thrilled to be partnering again with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and hosting our fourth Trout Spey Days event right here in West Yellowstone. As always, there will be a number of reps on hand from a variety of tackle companies, showing of their goodies and letting attendees try out rods and lines for themselves, on the water.
The biggest change to the event for 2021 is that we have decided to limit attendance to ensure the health and safety of all those involved, and allow us to provide the best possible experience for everyone. To do this, we are requiring that people sign up for the event and we are charging attendees a fee of $25. This fee will hold your spot, grant you access to a full day of great instruction and Spey gear demos, and go towards a simple coffee and donuts breakfast as well as a fresh “Fisherman’s Boxed Lunch”. All attendees will also have access to exclusive discounts at the shop during the weekend of the event. If you have kiddos under the age of 15, just let us know that you are bringing them along when you sign up. Their attendance is FREE.
To sign up for the event, call Big Sky Anglers and we will get you set up.
The schedule is already loaded with great presenters (Simon Gawesworth, Ed Ward, Eric Neufeld, & Matt Klara) and interesting topics, but be sure to check back in the coming weeks as we fill in the final details on the event schedule, and more! We’ve definitely got a few new ideas on tap for this year as always.
A very exciting addition following this year’s event is the inclusion of two, day-long Spey Casting classes taught by none other than Simon Gawesworth! Simon’s classes will have very limited spaces, and all the details are covered on their own web page.
Are you already into Spey casting and fishing for trout? Maybe you have heard of it, but have never picked up a Spey rod, and are interested in getting involved in this super fun way to fish for trout? This event is open to everyone, regardless of skill/experience level, age, fly shop or industry affiliation, etc.
2021 Event Calendar
Friday, September 24th, Trout Spey Q&A/Social
This year’s event will kick off on Friday Evening. Beginning at 5:30 PM, we will be hosting a fun, informal Trout Spey Question & Answer social gathering featuring the Spey nerds from Big Sky Anglers as well as visiting reps and instructors at the Fly Shop on the corner of Madison and Canyon. This is a great opportunity to ask those questions that have been lingering in your mind since last fall, and to learn from the answers to questions that others ask. Anything about Spey casting, gear, presentation, rigging, and more is fair game. Special prize for whoever asks the first question that results in a friendly argument among the panel! Note, the Friday Evening portion of the event is free and all are welcome.
Saturday, September 25th, All Day On the Water
The main event will be held Saturday out at the Hwy 191 bridge over the Madison River, where past events have been held. If you’ve been to our earlier Spey Days events, the format will be familiar.
The main parking lot will be set up with tents from the reps from a range of companies and serve as home base for lunch. Rods, reels, lines, and more will be available to check out, and cast on the water. As always, we encourage folks to bring their rods and play around with a variety of lines to really dial in your kit with the help of knowedgeable reps and BSA staff. The on-water presentations will be spaced out with lots of time for trying gear, casting instruction, and Q&A with presenters and reps. The event officially starts at 9am and will attempt to follow this schedule:
- 9-10am – Gather, Hang out, Check out the goodies from the Reps, enjoy coffee and watch the resident ospreys soar overhead.
- 10-11:30 am – Simon Gawesworth – Spey Guru, Farbank Enterprises (Sage/RIO/Redington/Flywater Travel) Education & Engagement Manager, and all around great guy – Intro to Spey Fundamentals Presentation, followed by some time for hands on casting.
- 11:45 – 12:30 – Eric Neufeld – Raging River Sales – Recognizing and Curing Common Spey Casting Ailments
- 12:30 – 2pm – Lunch break and open casting time
- 2pm – 3pm – Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Swinging from Top to Bottom: Line & Sink Tip Selection, Leader Design, Fly Choice and Presentation Methods to help you put your fly where you want it.
- 3-4pm – Ed Ward – Skagit Master, and OPST designer – Sustained Anchor Casting and How It Relates to Short Skagit Lines
- 4-5pm – Open casting, instruction with presenters, etc
6-9pm – After presentations conclude there will be a short break for cleanup and then we will head back over to the flyshop if anyone would like to keep chatting or if you would like to get set up with any gear.
And for those interested sticking around for a couple of more days of incredible paid instruction with the best in the business…
Full Day Simon Gawesworth Spey Clinics
Sunday, September 26th: Full Day Intro to Spey Clinic with Simon Gawesworth
Monday, September 27th: Full Day Advanced Spey Clinic with Simon Gawesworth
The Saturday, on water portion of the event is being hosted on the public lands of Custer Gallatin National Forest. Thanks to them, of course, for supporting this event since year one!
We are excited to have a great group of industry reps and presenters on hand this year from these great vendors. There is no better place to try out Spey kits before you buy, or to dial in your existing Spey rod with a new line.
- RIO Products
- Nautilus Reels
- G Loomis
- The Gray Drake
- Bauer Reels
- Scientific Anglers
- Douglas Fly Rods
- Creekside Media
- More to Come!
- C.F. Burkheimer
- Abel Reels
- Cortland Fly Lines
- Rising Nets
- Thomas & Thomas
- Hatch Reels
Simon Gawesworth – World Authority on Spey Casting, T.H.C.I, and RIO flyline guru. – Simon’s father taught him to fish at the age of 8 and he’s been teaching fly casting professionally since the age of 16. With over 35 years of teaching experience, Simon is a highly sought-after instructor. He has written 3 books on Spey casting. He has both cast and fished for England in British, European and World Championships and was elected Captain of the England team for the 2003 World Fly Fishing Championship. Simon is A.P.G.A.I. and S.T.A.N.I.C. certified in the U.K. and C.I., Master and T.H.C.I. certified in the U.S. Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on spey casting, he has taught and demonstrated spey casting around the world. He is currently Farbank Enterprises (Sage/RIO/Redington/Flywater Travel) Education & Engagement Manager having recently stepped down from his long held position as Brand Manager for RIO. Simon currently lives in South West Washington with his family and a water-loving dog!
Ed Ward – OPST designer and Skagit Master- Having guided 16 summers for Alaska trout and salmon, plus another 3 Summers/Falls for Kamchatka trout and steelhead, all connected by Winter/Spring steelheading on Washington’s Skagit river, Ed Ward has a lifetime of experience dialing in his craft. He has rightfully earned the title as one of the fathers of the Skagit Head as all modern Skagit Heads are built off the innovations that Ed and a few others pioneered. While his accomplishments above are more than enough to earn him a place among the greats, his contributions to the industry go much further. Ed was the featured instructor in the famous Skagit Master series and is also a founding partner in Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics (OPST), where he has developed a slew of game changing products: most notably with his line of Commando Heads. Most recently, Ed has developed a line up of rods with OPST based on decades of dedication to sustained anchor casting that includes the Micro series, which bridges the gap between trout speys and single hand rods.
Eric Neufeld – Raging Rive Sales – Check Back Soon.
Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Matt’s journey into Spey casting and fishing began with trout back in 2000, thrashing around with a borrowed 14 ft 9wt rod and an old Rio Windcutter line on the Madison River just outside of West Yellowstone with his new buddy Justin Spence. His technique and understanding of two-handed casting and fishing have come a long way since then, to say the least, and so has the equipment available for trout Spey. At one point he left Montana for Oregon, where for 7 years, nearly all of his fishing was done with two-handed rods. Matt moved back “home” to Montana in 2015 and still enjoys swinging the two-hander just as much as he ever has. He has also become keenly interested in incorporating Spey principles into everyday trout angling situations with single-hand flyrods, dry flies, nymphs, wets, and streamers. In recent years Matt has been called upon more and more by folks throughout the industry looking for input and feedback during their own Spey product devlopment process. Currently residing in Helena with his wife and young son, Matt’s one of the guys that folks at Big Sky Anglers look to for help with their Spey casting, gear selection, and more. Whether its Spey for trout, steelhead, or salmon on the two-hander or single-hander, he is happy to teach and share what he’s learned on his own journey.