Big Sky Anglers – 2020 Trout Spey Rod Review

Big Sky Anglers – 2020 Trout Spey Rod Review

For the past 3 years, we’ve been fortunate to host the West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days event, where folks who are interested in Spey casting and fishing for trout have come together to share experiences, learn new things, and check out all the awesome gear available these days.  For us, Spey Days has also been an incredible way to keep in touch and in the loop (no pun intended) with ongoing improvements and advances in Spey gear.  When it became clear that the ongoing Coronavirus situation was going to shut down Trout Spey Days in 2020, we knew we had to do something that might at least help fill that void. 

After some brainstorming, we decided it might be cool to try and get a hold of at least some of the awesome gear that folks normally have access to at the Spey Days event and then dig in with our core group of Spey nerds to really try a bunch of different things, cast and fish the rods and lines, and really dial in some kits that represent not only a variety of price points, but also a variety of fishing applications. 

In late August, we were able to make this happen thanks to the awesome support of our vendors and sales reps.  Thank you all!!! We brought in trout Spey rods from Sage, C.F. Burkheimer, Winston, G. Loomis, Echo, and Redington, along with all the modern Spey lines from RIO and Scientific Anglers.  We broke out the camp chairs, notebooks, line scales, and digital calipers, and headed out to the river for more than a full day of work.  From there, the crew further dialed in their favorite setups fishing on our local waters, and experimented with pushing the limits of what each rod could do.  Adding all this new experience onto what we’ve learned on and off the water over the years, we have compiled what you have come to find here – a summary of our personal favorite trout Spey kits for Fall 2020.

While this is definitely a gear review of sorts, it is important to note that there are no ratings or rankings here.  There is no best or worst.  In fact, we didn’t demo a single rod that we didn’t feel was going to be right for someone depending on their casting and fishing situations.  So, what we have here are descriptions of the rods (and matching lines) that we really liked, and why.  Call them BSA Shop Picks, if you will.  Most importantly, once you have read through to find out what we think, we encourage you all to come by the shop, pick up one of our Demo kits, and take it out for a flick and a fish on the waters near town.  Maybe even call ahead and make sure that no one has already checked out the kit you’re interested in.  And remember, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 406-646-7801, or email us at info@bigskyanglers.com – We’ll get you in touch with Justin, Matt, Chris, or one of the other folks here that knows and loves the Spey game!

So, without further ado, here is the Big Sky Anglers 2020 Shop Picks Trout Spey Rod Review…


CONTENTS

CF Burkheimer 4114-4 – $1150

CF Burkheimer 5125-4 – $1150

Winston Boron III TH Microspey 11ft 4wt – $1099

SAGE Trout Spey HD 3110-4 – $900

SAGE Trout Spey HD 4113-4 – $900

G. Loomis IMX-PRO Shortspey 41111-4 – $605

ECHO Trout Spey TS 4110 – $499

ECHO TR2 4113 – $379

Redington Dually 3106-4 – $249.99


CF Burkheimer 4114-4

11’4”, 3/4/5wt, $1150

CF Burkheimer says:

Grain Window = 230-350gr, 330 Skagit, 300 Scandi

Big Sky Anglers says:

This is a quintessential Burkie 2 hander in a pint sized package.  Forgiving action, loads of feel, and a wide grain window make this rod incredibly likeable as well as fishable.

We found lines that made this rod fish and feel like all the weights listed in its stated range – 3/4/5 – which was extremely impressive. The rod’s versatility and grain window allows you to fish small soft hackles or medium sized streamers at short, medium, and longer distances with ease and grace. The loading and unloading of the rod is easy to feel when casting this gem.   In addition, Kerry’s impeccable craftsmanship and endless customizations options make this a work of art as well as an angling tool.  Justin even caught a nice little brown while testing this one out on the Madison.  Believe in the omens!

Note: this rod was A+ with essentially the same lines as the SAGE Trout Spey HD 3wt.

Line Recommendations:

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #3, 265gr, 22ft

  • This was an OK line pairing with mono leater but a bit sloppy on turnover
  • Adding SA Sonar leaders cleaned up the loops a lot and resulted in a presentation with a lot of punch to turn over small streamers.  Basically an effortless A+ setup

RIO Scandi Short 270gr, 29ft 

  •  Simply beautiful casting setup with 16ft mono leader.  This line turned the Burkie into a super lively, stop high and let it fly, crisp Scandi setup
  • This line gives the rod the feel of a true Spey rod, and will be enough to please advanced casters.  A little tricky if you get sloppy with the rod tip, but super fun.

RIO Skagit Max Short 325gr (20’) or Skagit Trout Spey 325gr (16ft)

  • Both very good Skagit type options for this rod.  325 grains was able to over 10ft of T8, with a Sculpzilla no problem, and even chunked out a Mini Dungeon, though it was key to keep the anchor moving so the fly didn’t sink much/at all.

CF Burkheimer 5125-4

12’5”, 4/5/6wt, $1150

CF Burkheimer say:

Grain Window = 300-420gr, 375 Skagit, 350 Scandi

Big Sky Anglers says:

The 5125 is a big boy Spey rod with Trout Spey feel.  Kerry enlisted the help of our own Matt Klara and others to dial in a unique, versatile, super-fun, forgiving rod that will change your opinion about what 4 and 5wt 2-handers for trout can and should do.  For those who want a rod that can do “a bit more”  (like casting that extra 25ft while wading deep, or presenting a heavier tip or larger fly, while still being super fun with an 16-18 inch trout on the end of the line) this is the rod for you. For mid-sized to huge rivers, and fish in the 14-inch to 5-pound class, this is simply an amazing rod. 

Stay tuned to our Blog and Social Media for the full story and more details about this special rod.

Line Recommendations:

RIO Scandi Short, 360 grains, 31ft – Matt’s Pick for Floating Line and Small Wets

  • If you come from a Spey background of dry lining for summer steelhead and want to get into swinging wets for trout on big water, this could be your line.  This line enables dreamy, Scandi-style casting with a crisp high rod stop.  In addition to our local trout scene, this line would be glorious for the folks who swing out on the coast for half pounder steelhead.
  • To get the most performance out of this line, we like a 15 or 16 foot mono or flouro leader.  Build your own with 40, 30, 20, and 10lb mono, or go for the easy button option by adding 4 feet of your preferred tippet material onto a 12ft, 12 or 16lb RIO Steelhead/Salmon Mono leader.
  • NOTE: For a slightly lighter, “tippier” casting feel, drop down to the same line in 330 grains.

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head, 305gr, 22ft

  • This is a sneaky option that we felt cast like a dream and could be a sort of “One line quiver” for this rod.  The 305 grain weight seems light at first glance, but the secret here was to add SA Sonar Leaders (10ft and 55gr) to create essentially a 32ft Scandi head of 360 grains (see RIO Scandi Short 360 grain, 31 feet) with a sort of interchangeable tip. 
  • Varying the Sonar Leader density and tippet length allowed us to fish from near surface (using the Intermediate sink rate leader) to the depths (using the Type 3 and Type 6 sinking sonar leaders).
  • This line system is for folks who like Scandi-liscious crisp casting that will handle soft hackles and even smaller streamers like a Thin Mint or even a Sculpzilla!  If you like a light feel and don’t want to mess with multiple lines or big heavy flies, this is a great option.

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head, 350gr, 22ft – Matt’s Pick for Streamer Fishing

  • The RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head is truly a versatile line.  Up-lining with the Trout Spey Shooting Head from 305 to 350 grains allowed us to throw sink tips and larger streamers a-la Skagit lines, but the length and taper of this line made for really clean loop formation and turnover for casters who prefer to cast with a bit more velocity and performance than typically associated with classic Skagit casting.
  • This line handed a 12ft T8 tip and a medium sized weighted streamer with ease

RIO Skagit Max Short, 375 grains, 20ft

  • A more traditional streamer hucking choice, this line is able to throw T8 and T10 tips of 10 or 12 feet with relative ease.
  • If your game is medium-to-big flies, hucking weight, and worrying less about style points than getting your fly into the zone, this is a great line option.  No messing around here.  This will get it done on big water and cold conditions or when you just need/want to throw the junk.
  • NOTE: For a slightly lighter feel, the Skagit Max Short in 350 grains is also a great pairing.

RIO Scandi Body 400gr, 23ft

  • Justin wanted to try this after using the same line with Jon Hazlett on the Sage X 12ft 5wt.  It cast fine on this rod as well, but resulted in a completely different feel vs the much stiffer SAGE X.
  • On the 5125 Burkie, this line gave the rod a very deep load, and a heavy (not necessarily in a bad way), Skagity feel to the cast using SA Sonar leaders or T-tips and streamers.  The result was definitive, Slow-mo, easy button bomb lobbing. A nice option for all you Perry Poke fans who also like a longer Skagit head.  If you are super mellow, and want to worry more about the soaring eagles and majestic mountains than your casting, this is the setup for you.
  • This line choice definitely takes away a lot of the lively feel of the rod, but definitely gets it done, and highlights the insanely wide grain window that Kerry builds into all his rods.

Winston Boron III TH Microspey 11ft 4wt

11ft, 4wt, $1099

Winston says:

240-330grains

BSA says:

This is Joe’s personal favorite Trout Spey rod.  Smooth, easy, and fun, this rod falls on the light side for a 4wt when compared to other offerings across the board.  Awesome Winston build quality, Made in Montana.

Line Recommendations:

RIO Scandi Short 270gr, 29ft 

  • Beautiful casting setup with 16ft mono leader.  Super lively, stop high and let it fly, crisp Scandi setup.  Soft hackle city. 

Rio Skagit Max Short 300gr, 20ft

  • We prefer the 20’ Skagit lines on rods 11ft and longer, so this was our top Skagit choice for this rod.  While this head will turn over a 10ft T8 tip and a lightly weighted streamer, you might be happier and more pleased with the feel of the line paired with 10ft SA Sonar sinking leaders.

Skagit Trout Spey 325gr (16ft)

  • Short and powerful, this line is a good match to this rod for those who really like to slow down and stay compact in their casting.  While this head will turn over a 10ft T8 tip and a lightly weighted streamer, you might be happier and more pleased with the feel of the line paired with 10ft SA Sonar sinking leaders.

SAGE Trout Spey HD 3110-4D

11ft, 3wt, $900

Sage says:

(Grains: 250 – 300gr) – Soft hackles, moderately weighted steamers 1 – 2” – The most versatile of the TROUT SPEY HD series. The 3110-4 will accommodate a large variety of fly lines as well as a variety of flies. If you’re new to the Trout Spey category this is the rod of choice.

BSA says:

Overall, we were super impressed with the Trout Spey HD lineup from Sage.  In our opinion, they are the nicest casting Spey rods that Sage has ever produced, in any line weights.  Their cosmetics are classy, and they have a progressive flex pattern and plenty of feel.  The 3110 is a really nice 3wt option with plenty of power and versatility.  This is Chris Daniel’s go to rod for the Madison in the Park.  We found that our favorite lines on this rod were the same as those for the Burkheimer 4114-4 (rated as a 3/4/5).  

Line Recommendations:

RIO Scandi Short 270gr, 29ft

  • Simply beautiful casting setup with 16ft mono leader.  Matt had a huge smile on his face and kept shaking his head when we asked if we could cast it yet. Sweeeeet setup for soft hackles.
  • This line gives the rod the feel of a longer Spey rod/line combo, and will be sure to please advanced casters

RIO Skagit Max Short 325gr (20’) or Skagit Trout Spey 325gr (16ft)

  • Both very good Skagit type options for this rod.  325 grains can turn over 10ft of T8, but not as cleanly and easily as it does sinking coated leaders like SA Sonar 10ft Leaders

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #3, 265gr, 22ft

  • Mellow casting and presentations with 16ft mono leaders and larger Bead Head Soft hackles.
  • Adding SA Sonar leaders cleaned up the loops a lot and resulted in a presentation with a lot of punch to turn over small streamers.

SAGE Trout Spey HD 4113-4

11ft 3 in, 4wt, $900

Sage says:

(Grains: 300 – 350gr) – Large streamers to 3″ – The 4113-4 model is built for large and carnivorous trout and the larger flies used to get their attention. Power to cast larger streamers and leeches.

BSA says:

Overall, we were super impressed with the Trout Spey HD lineup from Sage.  In our opinion, they are the nicest casting Spey rods that Sage has ever produced, in any line weights.  Their cosmetics are classy, and they have a progressive flex pattern and plenty of feel.  The 4113 was one of our favorite premium rods that we demoed. It’s lightweight, but extremely powerful, and calling it a “4 and a Half weight” would not be out of the question when compared to other brands.  It casts a variety of heads, tips, fly sizes, and distances with ease. If you are looking for one of the top 4 wt trout Spey rods on the market this is definitely one to take for a spin. 

Line Recommendations:

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #4, 305gr, 22ft

  • Again, we found SAGE’s suggested line to be a good option for this rod.  This line handled both 16ft mono leaders and a suite of SA Sonar leaders with ease, with the edge going to the Sonar leaders for cleaner loops.  The mono leader option was very good still and allowed us to turn over a couple of bead head soft hackles easily, at range.
  • Adding the SA Sonar leader to the 305 grain Trout Spey Shooting Head essentially creates a multi-tip Scandi option that allows the angler to cover a lot of angling situations with one line (shy of strowing medium/heavy streamers).  This was a line combo that we really loved on the 5125 Burkie as well.
  • 16ft mono leader = 12 ft RIO Steelhead leader with 4ft of 2x tippet

Rio Skagit Max Short 350gr, 20ft

  • We prefer the 20’ Skagit lines on rods 11ft and longer, so this was our top Skagit choice for this rod.  Spreading out the grains a bit more smoothed out turnover while still giving plenty of punch to get a 10-12ft T8 tip and a weighted streamer out there. 
  • Things started getting a bit weird when we tried turning over some wind and water resistant Mini Dungeons, but we still sent ‘em out across Barns #1.  If this is the type of fly to plan to fish most, however, you might look to another option – probably something longer to improve pulling the fly out and around, rather than heavier.

RIO Skagit Trout Spey 350gr, 17ft

  • This was a great match for folks who really like a shorter Skagit head for angling.  It turned over 10’ of T8 easily along with a weighted Sculpzilla bunny fly

RIO Scandi Short 330gr, 29ft 

  • Great choice for the devoted floating line soft hackle addict!

G. Loomis IMX-PRO Shortspey 41111-4

11ft 11in, 4wt, $605

Loomis says:

330 Skagit Scout, 300 Rage, Scandi, or switch float

BSA says:

In the mid-price point category, this is the one stick that rules them all.  Incredibly versatile, this rod can handle Scandi lines, Skagit lines, Spey casts, Overhead casts, Softhackles, Big Junk, and all in between. It’s longer length made it feel more like a big kid Spey rod, and really helped us cover bigger water and some of the wider drifts on our local rivers.  This is a real fishing tool that Justin absolutely loves.  The Loomis 4111 has a wide grain window and even flex pattern, making line pairings relatively easy.  Even at 11ft 11in, the rod feels pretty light in hand.  To best take advantage of this rod’s versatility, we recommend pairing two different lines with it – a Scandi Short for smaller lighter flies and a Skagit Max Short for working streamers. Don’t think twice about adding this model to your arsenal. 

Line Recommendations:

RIO Scandi Short 270gr, 29ft 

  • A+.  Simply beautiful casting setup with 16ft mono leader.  Again, we had to wrestle this setup out of Matt’s hands to have a try.
  • This line gives the rod a super crisp feel of a true Scandi style rod.  Slightly lighter than the Loomis recommendation, this line may be a better choice for more experienced Spey Casters.

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #4, 305gr, 22ft

  • This line handled a suite of SA Sonar leaders with ease, with excellent turnover and clean loops with mid-sized/light streamers.  A nice choice if you are looking for a 1 line quiver and don’t plan to throw bigger streamers.
  • The 16ft mono leader option was OK, but a bit sloppy, still allowing us to turn over a couple of beadhead soft hackles easily.

Rio Skagit Max Short 350gr, 20ft

  • We prefer the 20’ Skagit lines on rods 11ft and longer, so this was our top Skagit choice for this rod.  Spreading out the grains a bit more smoothed out turnover while still giving plenty of punch to get a 10-12ft T8 tip and a weighted streamer out there. 
  • Things started getting a bit weird when we tried turning over some wind and water resistant Mini Dungeons, but we still sent em out across Barns #1.  The length of the rod really helped to pull the tip and fly out on the hang and sweep with enough power to keep the anchor from sticking too hard.  That said, See below if you want more HUCK for the buck.

Rio Skagit Max Short 375gr, 20ft

  • When Justin and Matt first cast this rod they had a quick chat and agreed that it likely would be able to handle a really wide grain window.  So, just to see we loaded it up with a 375gr Skagit and 12ft of T10 tip and a Mini Dungeon streamer.  YES.  Pure Skagit Huckfest.  Not necessarily a super smooth butter casting setup, but we were very pleased that it was easily able to deliver the extra heavy goods. 

ECHO Trout Spey TS 4110

11ft, 4wt, $499

Echo says:

300 Scandi, 300-330 Skagit

BSA says:

The Echo TS 4110 is certainly our favorite member of the Echo TS lineup.  This 4wt is a beautiful rod and has some similarities with much higher priced rods in terms of ease of casting, weight (it’s super light in hand), and overall angling versatility. This rod can easily challenge rods twice its price for a space in your fishing gear room.

Line Recommendations:

RIO Skagit Max Short 325gr (20’)

  • All day long.  A perfect match for this rod. Great with Poly leaders or up to 10ft T8

RIO Skagit Trout Spey 325gr (16ft)

  • A great short Skagit head option, though we greatly preferred the 20ft Max Short.  Great with Poly leaders or up to 10ft T8

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #4, 305gr, 22ft

  • Exceptionally good when paired with the 55grain SA Sonar leaders.  Anchoring and turnover were smooth and easy.
  • Note that anchors were semi-easily blown and turnover was sloppy with this pairing when we used a 16ft mono leader and soft hackles instead of the SA Sonar Leaders.

RIO Scandi Short 300gr, 29ft 

  • Super nice on this rod as a pure floating line option to pair with the 325 Skagit Max Short

ECHO TR2 4113

11ft 3in, 4wt, $379

Echo says:

360 Scandi, 360-390 Skagit

BSA says:

This rod has been a Trout Spey staple for us over the years.  Very versatile, easy to cast, and priced very reasonably.  The Echo TR 4113 is probably the best entry level 4wt Trout Spey rod we know of that can do many things well. It handles a variety of sink tips, distances, and small to medium size flies with ease. This would be a great all around rod for fishing most water on rivers the size of the Madison and Henry’s Fork.  It can comfortably handle large trout, too, if you are into that sort of thing.  😊 

Line Recommendations:

RIO Skagit Max Short 325gr (20’) or Skagit Trout Spey 325gr (16ft)

  • Both very good Skagit type options for this rod.  325 grains is able to over 10ft of T8 or SA Sonar Leaders, with a Sculpzilla type streamer no problem.

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #4, 305gr, 22ft

  • Exceptionally good when paired with the 55grain SA Sonar leaders.  Anchoring and turnover were smooth and easy.
  • Note that anchors were semi-easily blown and turnover was sloppy with this pairing when we used a 16ft mono leader and soft hackles instead of the SA Sonar Leaders.

RIO Scandi Short 300gr, 29ft 

  • Super nice on this rod as a pure floating line option to pair with the 325 Skagit Max Short

Redington Dually 3106-4

10ft 6in, 3wt, $250

Redington says:

Recommended Skagit Grains: 250-275 Scandi Grains: 225-250

BSA says:

Here we have one of the real surprises of our 2020 demo effort.  While not as light in hand, or with the high end cosmetics of the higher end offerings, this little rod won us over as an incredible price point rod that covers a wide range of fishing options and has a surprisingly sophisticated feel.  It is far lighter and crisper than the 4wt Dually.  Enough so that they could easily be mistaken for being from different rod lineups or manufacturers. 

This rod is a superb value, and is a great rod for those just getting started in trout Spey or for someone looking for a second rod for the quiver for smaller water and fly applications.  The Dually 3106 handles light leaders/tips and small soft hackles/streamers well, and will allow you to cover small water very comfortably. 

This rod could even be considered a “quiver of 1”, when paired with a RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head in 265 grain, and a set of 10ft SA Sonar leaders.

Line Recommendations:

RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head #3, 265gr, 22ft

  • Wow! Surprisingly crisp and fun throwing soft hackles on a 16ft mono leader.
  • Turn this into a 1 line kit with SA Sonar leaders.  This turned over a Sculpzilla weighted bunny streamer on the Type 6 Sonar leader no problem, and would be able to get deep with soft hackles, seams of soft hackles, or buggers.

RIO Skagit Trout Spey 275 Grain

  • Excellent Skagit option with SA Sonar leaders.  A bit light for blasting out heavier T-tips.

Fall 2020 Trout Spey Update

Fall 2020 Trout Spey Update

As we get later into the month of August here in the mountains, the days start getting shorter, the nights cooler, and the riverside vegetation begins to take on the colors of Autumn.  Likewise, the first lake run fish begin stirring, the browns begin to take on a bit more attitude, and cooling water temperatures cause the trout to act with more interest to a swung streamer.  If you channel your inner Druid, you will notice that all of this seems to happen quite specifically, one lunar cycle prior to the Autumnal Equinox.  Whether you choose to roll your eyes or mark it on your calendar, it’s the true beginning of our Fall Swing Season, which for many of us means breaking out the trout Spey gear.

We look forward to it every year.  The pace of fishing, the casting, the cool flies, and especially the great folks that come to town this time every year.  For the past three years, we’ve also had the pleasure to host our West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days event in the middle of September, bringing in awesome, knowledgeable folks and all the gear for everyone to enjoy. 

Unfortunately, this year, due to the ongoing concerns over COVID-19, we aren’t going to be able to have our usual Trout Spey Days gathering.  It’s just not the right time to gather in a big group, no matter how fun it might be.  That said, we are not giving up on the idea of helping folks learn and experience more about the fun game that is swinging flies on 2-handed rods for trout this fall, and we are looking forward to rebooting our event in 2021.

We’ve got a few things on deck for this fall that we hope you all will be encouraged to take part in.  Justin and Matt, our original two Spey nerds, will be around as usual.  And this year we’ve added Chris Daniel and Marco Ross, both super passionate 2-handed anglers, to our shop staff, so feel free to swing by (pun intended) and pick their brains.  Joe tries hard to not let on about his own interest in Spey, but he is sneaky like that, and no doubt knowledgeable enough to be plenty dangerous in the Barns Holes.

We’ve also worked hard this summer with our awesome vendors and reps to bring in a whole bunch of great Trout Spey demo gear for the fall.  Rods from SAGE, C.F. Burkheimer, Winston, Echo, Redington, and T&T, as well as all the matching Spey lines, sink tips, and leaders from RIO and Scientific Anglers.  We will have all of our favorite kit combos dialed in and here at the shop for folks to check out and even try out. 

And, with all this great gear on hand, we are planning to do a bunch of reviews and Spey related tips, and post those on our blog or other media channels so that folks who aren’t able to travel to us can still learn something.

We have the swing fly bins filled up and ready for Fall too.  Old reliable soft hackled patterns like the Partridge & Peacock and BH Softhackle PT are lined up along side some of our own favorite creation like Mile’s Chest Candy in both purple and orange variations.  And for streamers, you can find all your Sculpzillas, Thin Mints, Fortune Cookies, Boufaces, Grand Master B/Cs, buggers, crays, and probably a few more custom swingers that the guys will start spinning up when the night really start getting longer on us.

Lastly, if you are bummed that we won’t be having the usual Spey Days presentations, you might consider scheduling an instructional clinic or guided fishing day with one of our Spey-proficient guides.

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

Welcome to the information page of the Third Annual West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days!

Mark your Calendars:  September 13-14, 2019.  We are thrilled to be partnering again with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and hosting our third annual Trout Spey Days event right here in West Yellowstone.  Check back in the coming weeks as we fill in details on the event schedule, presenters, and party specifics!  We’ve definitely got a few new ideas on tap for this year.

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.  We had a great turnout again last year and have expanded the format this year to add even more opportunities for you to hang out and talk Spey with experienced pros and spend time on the water perfecting your technique.

2019 Event Calendar

Friday, September 13th, 5pm – 9pm ish – At the Shop & the Golden Stone Inn

Big Sky Anglers Fly Shop,  39 Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone
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Meet a host of experienced Spey casters,Trout Spey anglers, gear peddlers, and instructors, and get dialed in to enjoy a whole new approach to trout fishing.  Everyone is welcome! Whether you are just beginning your journey with 2-handed rods and Spey casting, or you are a veteran with the long rod, please stop in and say hi, hang out, and talk rods, lines, casting technique, rigging, presentation, and flies used in Trout Spey and beyond.  Migrate with us over to the fire rings at the new Golden Stone Inn to finish off the evening.

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Saturday, September 14th, 9am – 5pm On the Water & 6pm – 9pm At the Shop

On Water Instruction and Demonstrations from 9am – 5pm

Madison River Bridge at Hwy 191, 3.7 miles north of the shop.  Attendees are encouraged to bring waders, snacks, water, and camp chairs, as well as their own Trout Spey gear.  Food will be available on site for purchase.  No gear?  No worries, the reps will have all the goodies from the world of Trout Spey for you to try out.

There will be 3 main areas of the Saturday Outdoor Event.

  • Area 1 will include vendor tents and a food truck. All the tents and gear from vendors will  be set up in the parking lot adjacent to the river for the duration of the event.  Attendees can meet reps, talk gear, and borrow kits for a test cast.
  • Area 2 will be an area of river set aside for folks to demo gear from vendors, get casting lessons from experienced staff and attendees, and generally free form it.
  • Area 3 is the “main stage” – a presentation area on the water. This will be the gravel bar area where the main event was held in 2017 and 2018.  We will be set up for a series of formal presentations, Q&A, and lots of hands on time with Trout Spey gear.

9-10am – Gather, Hang out, Check out the goodies from the Reps, enjoy coffee and watch the resident ospreys soar overhead.

Presentation schedule is as follows (loosely, of course):

  • 10-11 or 11:30am, Brian Chou – Casting Instructor and T&T Pro –  Intro to Spey Fundamentals Presentation, followed by some time for hands on casting.
  • 11:30 – 12:15, Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis – Presenting the Fly and Fishing with Trout Spey Gear
  • 12:15 – 2pm – Lunch break and open casting time
  • 2pm – 3pm – Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Single Hand Spey Casting and Fishing
  • 3-4pm – Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors – Trout Spey, Slow Down & Look Around, and Other Helpful Tips
  • 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 gather back at the fly shop for food, drinks, giveaways, and more fun.

The on water portion of this event is being hosted on the public lands of Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Thanks to them, of course, for supporting this event!


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Vendors

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.


Presenter Bios

Brian Chou – Casting Instructor / Thomas & Thomas Pro – Known for his enthusiasm and passion for fly fishing, FFI certified casting instructor Brian Chou comes from a background of guiding and teaching. Through his classes and willingness to share, Brian has inspired countless students to pursue the evolving sport of fly fishing. His technical understanding combined with ability to articulate the relation of rod and fly line design makes him a sought after presenter at events throughout the country. A respected industry consultant and creative fly tier with a functional yet traditional approach, Brian’s patterns are used worldwide. Residing in Portland, OR with his family, he spends the majority of his fishing time swinging flies with his double handers.  Over the years, Brian has made many trips to various parts of Montana to fish and ski with his group of local buddies, but this will be his first time hanging out in West Yellowstone, and we’re looking forward to it!

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.  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 but still enjoys swinging the two-hander.  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. Currently residing in Helena with his wife and young son, Matt’s the guy 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.

Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis Fly Rep – Jacob Zirkle was born in Washington, and at the age of 6 his family moved to Alaska where his love for the great outdoors started. At the age of 7 his grandfather gave him the best present ever, an Orvis Clearwater 7wt fly rod. He would rent 3m videos at the local library so he could teach himself the art of fly casting. He spent all his free time casting on local lakes and a neighborhood creek catching trout, steelhead, salmon, and dollies. Traveling to see family and competing in Soccer tournaments he was able to explore many fisheries in WA, OR, ID, and MT.  Throughout his career guiding he always looked for the next thing to bring his customers and push them to become better anglers. Spey casting was one of the crafts he took on, in 2006 he began the journey with a class from friend and Sage Rep George Cook. Over his time with two handed rods, Jacob focused most of his attention casting to monster trout with short speys.  In 2016 he took a job as the NW GLoomis Fly Rep and spends his time traveling his territory showing off new sticks to others who love fly fishing with 2 handed rods. Jake’s favorite GLoomis two handed rod is the new IMX Pro Short Spey Series, paired with today’s short head systems make chasing trout in the West a blast.

Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors, Nautilus Reels and Douglas Fly Rods Rep – Hailing from the wilds of northern Idaho, and now residing in bustling Ovando, MT, Dan Short is simply one of the friendliest people in the fly fishing biz.  He cut his teeth guiding the Flathead system for years before  shifting his focus towards representing some of the coolest brands out there (Nautilus Reels, Stripn’ Fly Wear, Rising Nets, Douglas Rods, and NZ Strike Indicators to name a few).  He recalls his grandfather owning some sort of two-handed rod back in the day, but didn’t truly come to appreciate the way of the Spey until about 9 years ago when a nasty shoulder injury threatened to end his streamer chucking ways.  Two handed rods and Spey casting were the thing that got him back on the water, but like many of us, the pace of the fishing and style of casting grabbed his soul.  His Spey Mantra is “Slow Down and Look Around”, which is great advice in both fishing and every day life!


 

2018

2017

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

2019 West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 13 & 14

Welcome to the information page of the Third Annual West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days!

Mark your Calendars:  September 13-14, 2019.  We are thrilled to be partnering again with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and hosting our third annual Trout Spey Days event right here in West Yellowstone.  Check back in the coming weeks as we fill in details on the event schedule, presenters, and party specifics!  We’ve definitely got a few new ideas on tap for this year.

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.  We had a great turnout again last year and have expanded the format this year to add even more opportunities for you to hang out and talk Spey with experienced pros and spend time on the water perfecting your technique.

2019 Event Calendar

Friday, September 13th, 5pm – 9pm ish – At the Shop & the Golden Stone Inn

Big Sky Anglers Fly Shop,  39 Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone
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Meet a host of experienced Spey casters,Trout Spey anglers, gear peddlers, and instructors, and get dialed in to enjoy a whole new approach to trout fishing.  Everyone is welcome! Whether you are just beginning your journey with 2-handed rods and Spey casting, or you are a veteran with the long rod, please stop in and say hi, hang out, and talk rods, lines, casting technique, rigging, presentation, and flies used in Trout Spey and beyond.  Migrate with us over to the fire rings at the new Golden Stone Inn to finish off the evening.

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Saturday, September 14th, 9am – 5pm On the Water & 6pm – 9pm At the Shop

On Water Instruction and Demonstrations from 9am – 5pm

Madison River Bridge at Hwy 191, 3.7 miles north of the shop.  Attendees are encouraged to bring waders, snacks, water, and camp chairs, as well as their own Trout Spey gear.  Food will be available on site for purchase.  No gear?  No worries, the reps will have all the goodies from the world of Trout Spey for you to try out.

There will be 3 main areas of the Saturday Outdoor Event.

  • Area 1 will include vendor tents and a food truck. All the tents and gear from vendors will  be set up in the parking lot adjacent to the river for the duration of the event.  Attendees can meet reps, talk gear, and borrow kits for a test cast.
  • Area 2 will be an area of river set aside for folks to demo gear from vendors, get casting lessons from experienced staff and attendees, and generally free form it.
  • Area 3 is the “main stage” – a presentation area on the water. This will be the gravel bar area where the main event was held in 2017 and 2018.  We will be set up for a series of formal presentations, Q&A, and lots of hands on time with Trout Spey gear.

9-10am – Gather, Hang out, Check out the goodies from the Reps, enjoy coffee and watch the resident ospreys soar overhead.

Presentation schedule is as follows (loosely, of course):

  • 10-11 or 11:30am, Brian Chou – Casting Instructor and T&T Pro –  Intro to Spey Fundamentals Presentation, followed by some time for hands on casting.
  • 11:30 – 12:15, Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis – Presenting the Fly and Fishing with Trout Spey Gear
  • 12:15 – 2pm – Lunch break and open casting time
  • 2pm – 3pm – Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers – Single Hand Spey Casting and Fishing
  • 3-4pm – Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors – Trout Spey, Slow Down & Look Around, and Other Helpful Tips
  • 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 gather back at the fly shop for food, drinks, giveaways, and more fun.

The on water portion of this event is being hosted on the public lands of Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Thanks to them, of course, for supporting this event!


.


Vendors

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.


Presenter Bios

Brian Chou – Casting Instructor / Thomas & Thomas Pro – Known for his enthusiasm and passion for fly fishing, FFI certified casting instructor Brian Chou comes from a background of guiding and teaching. Through his classes and willingness to share, Brian has inspired countless students to pursue the evolving sport of fly fishing. His technical understanding combined with ability to articulate the relation of rod and fly line design makes him a sought after presenter at events throughout the country. A respected industry consultant and creative fly tier with a functional yet traditional approach, Brian’s patterns are used worldwide. Residing in Portland, OR with his family, he spends the majority of his fishing time swinging flies with his double handers.  Over the years, Brian has made many trips to various parts of Montana to fish and ski with his group of local buddies, but this will be his first time hanging out in West Yellowstone, and we’re looking forward to it!

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.  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 but still enjoys swinging the two-hander.  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. Currently residing in Helena with his wife and young son, Matt’s the guy 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.

Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis Fly Rep – Jacob Zirkle was born in Washington, and at the age of 6 his family moved to Alaska where his love for the great outdoors started. At the age of 7 his grandfather gave him the best present ever, an Orvis Clearwater 7wt fly rod. He would rent 3m videos at the local library so he could teach himself the art of fly casting. He spent all his free time casting on local lakes and a neighborhood creek catching trout, steelhead, salmon, and dollies. Traveling to see family and competing in Soccer tournaments he was able to explore many fisheries in WA, OR, ID, and MT.  Throughout his career guiding he always looked for the next thing to bring his customers and push them to become better anglers. Spey casting was one of the crafts he took on, in 2006 he began the journey with a class from friend and Sage Rep George Cook. Over his time with two handed rods, Jacob focused most of his attention casting to monster trout with short speys.  In 2016 he took a job as the NW GLoomis Fly Rep and spends his time traveling his territory showing off new sticks to others who love fly fishing with 2 handed rods. Jake’s favorite GLoomis two handed rod is the new IMX Pro Short Spey Series, paired with today’s short head systems make chasing trout in the West a blast.

Dan Short – Double Haul Outdoors, Nautilus Reels and Douglas Fly Rods Rep – Hailing from the wilds of northern Idaho, and now residing in bustling Ovando, MT, Dan Short is simply one of the friendliest people in the fly fishing biz.  He cut his teeth guiding the Flathead system for years before  shifting his focus towards representing some of the coolest brands out there (Nautilus Reels, Stripn’ Fly Wear, Rising Nets, Douglas Rods, and NZ Strike Indicators to name a few).  He recalls his grandfather owning some sort of two-handed rod back in the day, but didn’t truly come to appreciate the way of the Spey until about 9 years ago when a nasty shoulder injury threatened to end his streamer chucking ways.  Two handed rods and Spey casting were the thing that got him back on the water, but like many of us, the pace of the fishing and style of casting grabbed his soul.  His Spey Mantra is “Slow Down and Look Around”, which is great advice in both fishing and every day life!


 

2018

2017

West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 21 & 22, 2018

West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days – September 21 & 22, 2018

Welcome to the information page of the

Second Annual

West Yellowstone Trout Spey Days!

Mark your Calendars:  September 21-22, 2018.  We are thrilled to be partnering again with the Custer Gallatin National Forest and hosting our second annual Trout Spey Days event right here in West Yellowstone.  Check back in the coming months for details on event schedule, presenters, and party times!

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.  We had a great turnout last year and have expanded the format this year to add even more opportunities for you to hang out and talk Spey with experienced pros and spend time on the water perfecting your technique.

We had a blast in 2017!

2018 Event Calendar

Friday, September 21, 5pm – 9pm – At the Shop

Big Sky Anglers Fly Shop,  39 Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone
.
Meet a host of experienced Spey casters,Trout Spey anglers, and instructors, and get dialed in to enjoy a whole new approach to trout fishing.  Everyone is welcome! Whether you are just beginning your journey with 2-handed rods and Spey casting, or you are a veteran with the long rod, please stop in and say hi, hang out, and talk rods, lines, casting technique, rigging, presentation, and flies used in Trout Spey and beyond.
.

Saturday, September 22, 10am – 5pm On the Water & 6pm – 9pm At the Shop

On Water Instruction and Demonstrations from 10am – 5pm

Madison River Bridge at Hwy 191, 3.7 miles north of the shop.  Attendees are encouraged to bring waders, snacks, water, and camp chairs, as well as their own Trout Spey gear.  No gear?  No worries, the reps will have all the goodies from the world of Trout Spey for you to try out.

Feedback from last year’s event suggested that folks had a blast and learned a lot but they also wanted more time and space on the water where they could try out gear, practice, and receive instruction outside of the formal presentations.  We listened, and this year there will be 3 main areas of the Saturday Outdoor Event.

  • Area 1 will be vendor tents. All the tents and gear from vendors will  be set up in the parking lot adjacent to the river for the duration of the event.  Attendees can meet reps, talk gear, and borrow kits for a test cast.
  • Area 2 will be an area of river set aside for folks to demo gear from vendors, get casting lessons from experienced staff and attendees, and generally free form it.
  • Area 3 is the “main stage” – a presentation area on the water. This will be the gravel bar area where the main event was held in 2017.  We will be set up for a series of formal presentations, Q&A, and lots of hands on time with Trout Spey gear.

From 10am – 11am things will build momentum, with folks arriving, meet and greets with BSA staff and reps, welcome messages, and time to hang out and drink coffee.

Following that, there will be a series of presentations on the “Main stage”.  We’ve left lots of time for interaction with the presenters and any potential overrun, questions, and extra hands on casting and chaos from each presentation.

Presentations

  • Matt Klara (Big Sky Anglers, Thomas & Thomas, Echo, and Airflo) – Introduction to Spey and Trout Spey Fundamentals.
  • Kurt Kruger (Far Bank – Sage, RIO, and Redington) – Rod and Line Setups for Different Trout Spey Applications
  • Alice Owsley (Riverside Anglers, Winston, and Scientific Anglers) – Presentation and Fishing Tactics for Trout Spey
  • Jake Zirkle (G. Loomis) – Spey Casting In Tight Quarters and Around Obstructions
  • Open mic?

Scroll down for Presenter Bios and learn more about these interesting folks!

Party at the flyshop from 6pm – 9pm 
Following conclusion of the On Water portion of the event, there will be an hour break and then we will kick off the party back at the flyshop from 6pm – 9pm.  BBQ, beverages, gear giveaways, swag, and more.

Click the Map for Directions

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Vendors

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.

RODS from:

LINES from:

REELS from:

WADERS & APPAREL from:


Presenter Bios

Matt Klara – Big Sky Anglers and Prince Outdoors (T&T, Echo, Airflo) – 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.  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 but still enjoys swinging the two-hander.  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. Currently residing in Helena with his wife and young son, Matt’s the guy 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.

Kurt Kruger – Far Bank (Sage, RIO, Redington) Rep – Kurt’s Spey angling foundations lie on the legendary winter steelhead rivers of Washington State, and the wilderness salmon flows of Alaska.  His life changed forever when he moved to Montana and discovered Trout Spey.  His enthusiasm for the pursuit is unmatched, and swinging light two-handed rods for fish that are holding and feeding rather than migrating is now a central focus of his angling.   As the regional sales rep for Sage, RIO, and Redington, Kurt’s rig is always filled with the newest and best goodies in the Trout Spey world.  From his home base in Bozeman, he continues to carry out his mission of making the world a better place for anglers.  We are excited to have him presenting at this year’s event.

Alice Owsley – Riverside Anglers Inc., R.L.Winston Rod Co., Scientific Anglers, Simms – Alice’s first casts with a Spey rod were on the Madison River back in 2001 one night hanging out with fellow fishing guides. Her more serious casts with a two handed rod weren’t until the fall of 2009 while preparing for her first steelhead trip on the west coast. Her boyfriend at the time (now husband) started teaching her how to cast a two handed 7 weight rod that fall but always had a soft hackle fly tied on to fish. Fishing for trout with a two handed rod was always secondary to practicing for steelheading for the first few Autumns, but now Alice targets trout with a Spey rod throughout the fishing season around West Yellowstone.  When not fishing for herself, Alice is an outfitter and guide on the Madison River and in Yellowstone National Park. She owns and operates Riverside Anglers in West Yellowstone.   https://riversideanglers.com/

Jake Zirkle – G. Loomis Fly Rep – Jacob Zirkle was born in Washington, and at the age of 6 his family moved to Alaska where his love for the great outdoors started. At the age of 7 his grandfather gave him the best present ever, an Orvis Clearwater 7wt fly rod. He would rent 3m videos at the local library so he could teach himself the art of fly casting. He spent all his free time casting on local lakes and a neighborhood creek catching trout, steelhead, salmon, and dollies. Traveling to see family and competing in Soccer tournaments he was able to explore many fisheries in WA, OR, ID, and MT.

In 2000 he started his guiding career working in Cooper Landing, where he learned that the fishing industry is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Within two years he started Alaska Fly Water Guides and spent the first year flying out to remote rivers and doing 5-7 day float trips. He found his way back to his home water, the Kenai where he worked till 2015.

Throughout his career guiding he always looked for the next thing to bring his customers and push them to become better anglers. Spey casting was one of the crafts he took on, in 2006 he began the journey with a class from friend and Sage Rep George Cook. Over his time with two handed rods, Jacob focused most of his attention casting to monster trout with short speys.

In 2016 he took a job as the NW GLoomis Fly Rep and spends his time traveling his territory showing off new sticks to others who love fly fishing with 2 handed rods. Jake’s favorite GLoomis two handed rod is the new IMX Pro Short Spey Series, paired with today’s short head systems make chasing trout in the West a blast.


The on water portion of this event is being hosted on the public lands of Custer Gallatin National Forest.  Thanks to them, of course, for supporting this event!

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