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The Cast: Spey Casting Video Series » Learn to Spey Cast with Calvin Fuller
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Rifishulousness Fishing Video of the Month
Idaho Metalhead Don’t Be Intimidated by Large Water
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ON THE COVER Calvin Fuller & John Teini with a Clearwater Fall Run Steelhead Ponderay, ID Photo Rob Guevarra
September 2012 • Volume 5, Issue 8
BIG R FLY SHOP Great Falls, MT (406) 761-7918 4400 10th Ave. S Great Falls, MT 59405
BIG R FLY SHOP Ponderay, ID (208) 255-5757 477181 N Hwy 95 Ponderay, ID 83852
Keaten “Cornfed” Labrel Calvin Fuller Jerrin Uecker Dustin Bise
BIG R FLY SHOP Omak, WA (509) 422-9840 1227 Koala Dr Omak, WA 83852 Stephan Avena Greg Bennett Tom McCormack
Spey Casting 101 Learn Basic Casting Terminology
Steelhead Lifecycle Know the Species You Love To Stalk
The Cast Spey Casting Video Series with Calvin Fuller
CONTRIBUTORS Calvin Fuller, John Ewald, Stephan Avena
Killer Steelhead Candy Super Swingin’!
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Bugshot A Closer Look at This Bug’s Mug
Creature Feature Columbia Basin Intruder by Calvin Fuller
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HOOK POINT Contributor’s Corner
The start of another steelhead season is upon us in the Northwest. Checking river levels, snow-pack, and ﬁsh counts over dams has become an everyday, regularly scheduled occurrence. Fly tying classes at Big R have started to focus on tying mini-intruders, hair-wings, and other various steelhead patterns that work during fall. Spey classes are almost held weekly with the anticipation of swinging ﬂies through boulder strewn water loaded with fresh ﬁsh. Rain has ﬁnally hit Idaho and temps are dropping. This should help the ﬁsh make it through the hot water between the Snake River dams and into the fresh, free ﬂowing water of the Snake, Ronde, and Clearwater. When I think about Steelhead ﬁshing in the fall, I always think of those who I have spent time with on the water. Thinking of friends gathered together for steelhead camp and long days of ﬁshing, always makes me smile. This year we are sizing our camp way down, only a few of us will make it to the annual spey clave on the Clearwater to re-unite relationships in the spey ﬁshing community. When I hit the water for the ﬁrst time of the year, I am so excited that I can hardly tie my ﬂy onto my tippet. Memories of ﬁshing with my father and friends all come ﬂooding back to me in a rush that overtakes me. When other memories have faded, I can still remember very clearly, Steelhead that I have hooked in the past. Memories of ﬁsh that were never landed, memories of ﬁsh caught when no one else was around, and memories of ﬁsh caught with close friends. Steelheading to me is about creating memories, remembering old ones, and re-connecting with good friends one more time. Remember to be relentless, never give up, and appreciate every moment you can spend on the water.
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ridiculously fishy, causing or worthy of ridicule; absurd; preposterous; laughable, insane, full of awesomeness: That fly fishing video was so sick, it was rifishulousness!
The entirety of this production was created by: Ryan Peterson https://vimeo.com/36890123
head Metal written by Calvin Fuller
G rowing up ﬂy ﬁshing for steelhead on the Columbia River near Tri-Cities, WA, I am no stranger to big water.
A lot of people get intimidated by the size of the Snake River and sometimes the Clearwater River. What they need to realize is that most ﬁsh are still very reachable no matter what size river you are ﬁshing. Fish still want to use the least amount of energy possible when traveling and resting. This immediately shrinks the amount of water you are ﬁshing. It is also pointless to try and cover deep water (over 20’) with a ﬂy rod when swinging for steelhead. This, yet again, shrinks the amount of water you are needed to cover. Sure, there are lots of ﬁsh holding in deeper pools and faster water, you just have to eliminate those ﬁsh from your mind. Simply focus on resting ﬁsh in reachable water. When you look at a big river try and focus on current breaks, drop offs, rock points, and rock gardens. Rock gardens will have “jiggly water” these gardens are usually 2-7 feet in depth, have big boulders, and walking speed current. Current hitting the rocks will create small standing wave events, breaking up the surface light throughout the run. Rock points can hold a lot of ﬁsh, especially lower in the river system. Current speeds up as it approaches the ﬂow direction point, apexes around the point and then slows behind the point. Fish in large rivers often hold right above or right on the rock point. It is always best to cover the entire “jiggly water” point from the top to the bottom. A lot of rock point Rock Garden times water can look ﬂat and feature-less, but once a jet boat runs over the run, the wake from the boat mixed with the current from the river, reveals all the secrets of the “jiggly water” run. You begin to see new boulders, dropoffs, and current breaks. Whenever I run a new piece of water in a jet boat, I always rock point look behind me to see what the water is doing. You will ﬁnd little gems hidden rock point throughout any river using this technique. If “jiggly water” you don’t have a jet boat, simply watch what happens when a boat goes by, and we all know that there are plenty of jet boats Illustration by John Ewald © on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. ﬂow direction
August through October when the water is 45-70 degrees I ﬁsh a ﬂoating line with a small weighted intruder, usually around 1.5-2 inches long. If I take out beginners, I rig them up with an intermediate tip line and an un-weighted ﬂy around the same size. This works especially well for the Clearwater River. I normally ﬁsh a tight-line swing and cast out at nearly a 90 degree angle (slightly downstream); obviously depending on the water you are ﬁshing. Mending depends on the run, sometimes no mend is needed, while other times it is good to mend. I prefer two-handed rods, 12’-14’ in length for ease of casting and presenting the ﬂy. Any type of line is ﬁne, as long as it is easy to cast for the caster. Leaders are typically one or two pieces of Fluorocarbon 10’-15’ in length with a tippet around 15 pound test.
I typically ﬁsh with other people, and a lot of times you are stuck following them through a run. When I follow someone through a run, I usually make sure I know what color ﬂy they are ﬁshing (light or dark) then choose the opposite color. I ﬁnd that it does not matter what the light conditions are, as long as you are ﬁshing the opposite color you will often ﬁnd ﬁsh behind someone. I tend to try to reach and ﬁsh different water than they are ﬁshing, usually by wading out just a little further, so the end of your swing (hang down) is different than theirs. 8
I prefer intruder style ﬂies. These ﬂies are unique because of their effectiveness in landing ﬁsh. Hooks can be changed depending on the size of the ﬁsh and the sharpness of the hook. The stinger hooks land for more ﬁsh because of the separation from the ﬂy. Longer shank hooks act like a lever when ﬁghting a ﬁsh and ﬁsh will often be lost towards the end of a ﬁght. Landing ratios can increase as much as 80% with stinger hooks. Summer run steelhead in these rivers usually hit the ﬂy multiple times before the hook buries itself. Be sure not to be too quick on the hook set, especially with spey rods. It is important to let the ﬁsh turn on the ﬂy and to hook itself. I hold the rod slightly above parallel, compared to the water, and have the line tight to my reel with the line resting between my index and middle ﬁnger. Once the ﬁsh eats I will wait to feel steady pressure from the ﬁsh then I will begin to apply hard downstream side pressure. Most of the time this results in solid hook-ups with the hook buried deep.
There a many techniques in steelhead ﬁshing. The most important thing is to have fun and believe in your approach to the ﬁsh. Covering good water well, will result in ﬁsh. Remember to be courteous to other anglers no matter how they are ﬁshing. Everyone is out there to have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. Good luck and tight lines. Sept 2012
Platinum 12’6” 6 Weight Spey Rod 00 $560 525218
If Beulah two handed rods were a baseball team, the NEW Platinum 12’6” 6 weight would be the MVP. Thanks to Beulah’s carbon scrim the blank weighs only 2.85 ounces and the completed rod weighs only 6.5 ounces. What kind of 6 weight is it? Spot on! This rod features a more traditional full-ﬂex “Spey” action that loads deep into the butt section with extremely fast tip recovery making it a joy to cast in all conditions. Don’t call them because the answer is YES! It will handle big water and big brute Steelhead while not overpowering the smallish 3-4 pound ﬁsh making them special too. All line types and styles including Scandinavian, Skagit, Mid or Long Belly will agree and excel when matched to our Platinum 12’6” 6 weight. 10
Great Falls, Ponderay and Omak stores only.
USE OF ROD: Summer Steelhead, Half Pounders, Winter Steelhead on small and medium streams. ACTION: Traditional “Spey” action/fast recovery FLY LINE RECOMMENDATIONS: Scandinavian: Beulah Elixir 400 Spey Skagit: Beulah Tonic 425 Spey
Platinum Spey rod 12’6” 6wt. 4 PIECE 6.5 oz. Comes with sock, tube, lifetime warranty for original owner
We reserve the right to limit quantities and correct printing errors. Prices are subject to change without notice. Some items limited to stock onv hand. Prices quoted in US currency.
Surf Waterproof Bag
With its roll down closure system, this bag takes it to the next level, when it comes to hauling gear and keeping it dry. These bags are deemed “waterproof” which means they will keep out rain and other inclimate weather, they are not intended to be submerged. It is your responsibility to plan accordingly.
• Capacity: 4650 • Weight: 1 lbs 11 oz • Comp: 2 Pockets: 1 • • • •
Colors: Stone and Clay Reinforced carry handles Sonically Welded Construction Water resistant zippers
Bulkley Jacket $27999 101760
As kids we dreamed of Disneyland, “the happiest place on earth.” But since discovering the Bulkley, we’ve found a new source for supernatural smiles. Simms’ Bulkley jacket combines a GORE-TEX® 2-layer shell, with the innovative all-weather insulation of PrimaLoft® One technology. River-inspired features include corrosion-ﬁghting Nylon YKK® zippers and sliders, super-sized chest and ﬂeece lined handwarmer pockets, and the water-resistant convenience of easy-cinch cuffs. • GORE-TEX® 2-layer shell with PrimaLoft® One insulation - 100g in body/60g in sleeves & hood for warmth without bulk • PrimaLoft® One insulation offers the best warmth-toweight ratio available while compressible and soft • Nylon YKK® zippers & zipper sliders minimize corrosion from saltwater use • Generous chest pockets and ﬂeece-lined hand warmer pockets • Comfortable, water-resistant, easy cinch cuffs • Longer length with adjustable shock cord hem offers ﬂexibility for all wading & boat situations
part # FB3210
The Korkers Metalhead Wading Boot blends high performance and traditional styling with innovative technology. Metalhead Wading Boots feature Korkers OmniTrax 3.0 Interchangeable Sole System which allows you to change soles quickly to adapt to changing wading conditions. Each pair of Metalheads come complete with a standard set of felt soles for wading over slick rocky surfaces and a set of sticky rubber kling-on soles, great for muddy areas and places where invasive species are of concern.
Metalhead Wading Boot
• High performance wading boot with the perfect blend of traditional styling and innovative technology. • OmniTrax® 3.0 Interchangeable Sole System adapts your traction to meet the performance needs of each river system • Boa® speed lacing system for quick on/off and custom ﬁt; signiﬁcantly faster than previous system • Waterproof materials reduce water absorption, thereby reducing overall weight, and dry faster helping to prevent the spread of invasive species • Integrated midsole drainage ports allow water to drain quickly keeping boots lighter • Strategically placed seams reduce fatigue and the possibility of seam failure • True Fit™ sizing Great Falls, Ponderay and Omak stores only.
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99 $79 part # WD001
Crosswater Waders The Redington Crosswater Wader is the perfect entry level wader. We're anglers. We wade in the water, we don't jump in. Hence, Redington's selection of ﬂy ﬁshing waders - Waterproof. Durable. And functional. Our ﬂy ﬁshing waders have all the features you need without dipping into the retirement fund. Whether you're an angler or puddle jumper, our waterproof, breathable, ergonomically designed ﬂy ﬁshing waders go anywhere and allow you to do the same. Simple, yet effective.
• 100% nylon 3-layer fabric • Opposing buckles for easy conversion to waist high • Integrated neoprene gravel guards • Chest pocket with drain holes • Flip-out pocket with YKK zipper • Belt loops with wading belt included • High density neoprene booties 14
Great Falls, Ponderay and Omak stores only.
We reserve the right to limit quantities and correct printing errors. Prices are subject to change without notice. Some items limited to stock onv hand. Prices quoted in US currency.
Spey Casting Basic Terminology The ﬁrst basic principle. This applies to the amount of line hanging behind the rod, that the rod loads against for the forward cast. The bigger the D-loop the better the cast will be. Also known as “Belly”.
180 Degree Principle
The second basic principle. Line stick (or stick) refers to the amount of line lying on the water surface as the forward cast starts. The more line on the water, the more energy is lost in the forward cast and the worse the result. The third basic principle. This states that the most efﬁcient cast has all the factors controlling the cast in alignment. The belly, the line stick and the anchor point are all lined up for an easy efﬁcient cast to the target. A common error in spey casting. The Bloody L is where the anchor lies on the water in a crooked or slack heap. The anchor should be taut and in line with direction of the forward cast. The traditional style of spey casting with more rounded rod movements and lifts and dips with the softer-action salmon rods.
The modern style of spey casting using ﬂatter rod movements and faster-action rods.
A classic change of direction cast that is performed with the upstream arm and used when there is no wind, or an upstream wind.
A type of spey cast that can really help load the rod. Usually used with an upstream wind. Popularized by Ed Ward.
A classic spey cast that changes direction with no back cast. This cast is performed with the downstream arm and used when there is either no wind, or a downstream wind.
When the ﬂy line has swung around in the current as far as it will go and lies taut and motionless directly downstream of the caster. Also known as “Hang Down”.
A style of spey casting that originated on the Paciﬁc Northwest rivers. This style utilizes short, heavy spey lines and is particularly useful with heavy ﬂies and sink tips, or in tight restricted back cast situations.
A change of direction cast with no back cast. This cast is performed with the upstream arm and used when there is no wind, or an upstream wind. This cast uses a soft curved rod movement to start the cast. Also known as “C-Spey”, “Circle Spey” and “Circle C”.
A modern style of spey casting that utilizes shooting heads, long leaders and fast action rods. Most of the rod moves are made with the lower hand. Developed and popularized by Sweden's Goran Andersson.
A change of direction cast with no back cast. This cast is performed with the upstream arm and used when there is no wind, or an upstream wind. This cast uses an aggressive, vertical straight line path snap at the start of the cast.
A term relevant to the waterborne anchor cast. As the D-loop stroke is made the ﬂy line will start to tear out of the water creating a steady spray - the white mouse. Also known as the “Rooster Tail”.
A change of direction cast with no back cast. This cast is performed with the downstream arm and used when there is no wind, or a downstream wind. It is a faster change of direction cast than the Double Spey. Developed and popularized by Simon Gawesworth.
A modern spey cast used when there is an upstream wind. This cast combines a Snap T or Snap C with a Perry Poke.
The ﬂy line touching the water at the end of the back stroke, creating enough tension for the D loop to form and not jump out of the water. Also known as “Grip”.
A vertical lift move that provides a smooth lineal lift.
An advanced belly, not rounded, but more pointed and wedge shaped.
An anchor that travels through the air, before touching the water during the D-loop stroke.
The line that extends beyond the rod tip during the formation of the cast.
A group of casts where the line and leader stay on the water during the entire D-loop stroke. For example: Double Spey, Snap T, Perry Poke.
Technique developed by Bruce Berry in relationship to keeping the rod tip high on an imaginary “martini glass rim” while sweeping the line back to form the D-Loop.
Splash and Go
Terminology used to describe the correct timing of the airborne anchor Spey casts.
A more advanced form of the Roll cast. No back cast, no change of direction but great distances possible. This cast has an airborne anchor. Also known as the Forward Spey and Jump Roll.
Majority of these terms sourced from http://www.speyborne.com
Once the area with “1. go steelhead eat a (Fitzpatrick 199 depression in t twelve-pound f compete for rig becomes the o female repeats
by John Ewald
Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are an anadromous rainbow trout, meaning they are born in freshwater, emigrate to saltwater to spend their adult life, then return to spawn in the freshwater in which they were born. Timing of steelhead spawning migrations varies from the rivers and streams ranging from central California north through Alaska. Some rivers have one spawning run and others have two. Widely depending on the timing and area of the river, there might be both a winter and a summer run while others will have spring and fall runs. The possibilities of the runs and lifecycles are quite mindboggling. There are tremendous variations in the lifecycle that exist in an expansive geographical range. “The life history of the steelhead trout varies more than that of any other anadromous ﬁsh regarding length of time spent at sea, the length of time spent in freshwater, and the time of emigration from and the immigration to freshwater.” (Barnhart, R.A. 1986) The typical Paciﬁc Northwest steelhead’s lifecycle begins when sexually adult male and female steelhead make the migration, sometimes as far as 900 miles (Idaho runs), to the rivers and the tributaries from where they once themselves were tiny alevins. I consider the spawning run of these adult steelhead to be the beginning of the steelhead’s life, particularly because of the very small percentage of the original “hatch” that survive to return and begin the Dance of Life and 18
growing steelhead eggs
create new life. Quite the marvel when you think about what each and every steelhead must overcome to survive and return to the very spot from which it was created. “These elite survivors, through their individual instinct, strength, speed, reactions, awareness, stamina, and luck, have evaded death from predators, hostile environments, dams, starvation, pollution, disease, high seas ﬁshing nets, and ﬁshermen.” (Gorman, Michael 2006)
These buried redds undergo development and metamorphosis over the next 2 – 3 months. These morphed eggs grow into tiny ﬁsh with eyes, tail and egg belly called alevins. These alevins must fend for themselves for food and shelter as they begin to grow into fry and eventually parr or smolt over the next one to two years and gain lengths of 4 to 8 inches. After the second full year whether it be spring, fall, summer or winter, the smolt instinctively begin their immigration downstream toward saltwater. Sometimes just a few miles or nearly a thousand miles depending on location of the tributary or main stem river from which they were born. These maturing steelhead feed on aquatic insects and terrestrials along their journey to the saltwater ocean. Once they enter open seas, they will typically spend 1-2 years, sometimes upwards of 4 years where they grow into sexually mature adults ranging in size from 23” to 30” weighing in around 5 – 10 pounds. The longer they stay, the larger they become, rarely but sometimes reaching upwards of 33-40 pounds! Along with adjusting to their new environment, the steelhead will trade it’s characteristic rainbow trout colorations in for a spotless chrome silver ﬂank to reﬂect and mirror its surroundings, develop a charcoal bluish hue on its top to help blend into the depths of the ocean to protect it from aerial predators, and a snow white belly to blend into the bright contrast of the sky from predators below. These changes also make it a stealthy specimen when entering back into the freshwater streams, to keep it hidden from even more predators, especially like us ﬁsherman!
Jul 2012 Aug 2012
COLLEGE FISHING LIFECYCLE
mature steelhead return “home” the females begin to build a series of nests or redds. She will mostly likely choose an ood streamside vegetative cover to keep the water cool and provide plenty of leaf litter for growing the insects that and 2. lots of wood and boulders in the stream to create rifﬂe-pool complexes with plenty of places to hide and rest.” 99) She will lie on her side and undulate fervidly as she soon digs out approximately a two foot wide by one-foot deep the graveled bottom. She will then release about a quarter of her eggs into the redd, about 1/5 of her body weight. A female might lay up to 10,000 eggs, generally 2,000 eggs per 2.2 pounds of body weight. All the while, Buck males ights to the redd, chasing and nipping each other with their prominent hooked lower jaw called a kype. Once a male outright winner and gains the right to the group of redds, he will then release his milt (sperm) into each redd. As the s her process upstream to create upwards of 5 or 6 redds, the silt and gravel covers each downstream redd.
Large winter run mature adult steelh 20
It’s still unsure exactly how ﬁsh know to return to the very spot from which they were born, but it is thought that they navigate by celestial and electromagnetic means. Iron-bearing cellular structures orient the ﬁsh by using the magnetic North pole. The steelhead are also thought to use their keen olfactory senses to pick up on “ﬁngerprint” scent traces that the once small steelhead keyed in on from their birthplace. The cycle is thus completed and begins again. “Steelhead may return and successfully spawn annually several times before time, obstacles, natural events or predators take their toll. A hardy British Columbia steelhead hen was determined, through scale analysis, to have returned to her home stream for the sixth time.” (Combs, Trey 1976) “In most “normal” years the return rate of would-be second-run returning adult steelhead is less than 10%”. (Gorman, Michael 2006) “Even many of the oft-maligned hatchery-raised steelhead have survived life’s trials to this point to successfully reach their stream of release. Whether natives born in the river system, or those of hatchery origin, all steelhead prove fabulous and worthy game for any angler pursuing them. Just like the ﬁsh, we have beaten the odds to trick one into biting a ﬂy. This ﬁsh has evaded death and capture for years, for its entire life, to arrive at the single moment where you or I are fortunate enough to ﬁnd it on the end of our ﬁshing line. An amazing encounter when you pause to think about it.” (Gorman, Michael 2006)
Reference: Gorman, Michael, You Must Know Your Quarry: Life Cycle, Spawning Migration, and Physiology of Oncorhynchus mykiss, online article 2006. www.gormanﬂyﬁshing.com
Big R Fly Shop Spey Casting Series
The Cast with Calvin Fuller
Steelhead Candy killer
Sept Sept2012 2012
any steelhead with this ﬁne selection of SAVORY
Berry’s Muddler Sept 2012
Bugshot Choristoneura Occidentalis: Western Spruce Budworm (Spruce Moth)
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Calvin Fuller ties up his Columbia Basin Intruder Fly Recipe: Thread: 8/0 tan Hook: Size 8 Caddis Body: Tan Foam Thorax: Thin Brown Foam/UV Tan Ice Dub Wings: Thin Brown Foam/White Antron Legs: MFC Red Hopper Legs/Tan Barred Rubber Legs
The Columbia Basin Intruder is a shorter fly for early Fall run steelhead, usually around 1.5" to 2.5" in length. The intruder style hook is very helpful for a highly increased landing ratio. Fish this fly on the swing through rock gardens and medium paced runs with deep buckets. It is also a great pattern for scoping out water. It can be tied in any array of colors such as Orange/Red, Black/Green, and Purple/Green being the most effective. Be sure to have a few colors on hand in case one does not seem to be producing takes. Sometimes changing up colors can make all the difference between a mediocre and favorable catch rate.
Have you ever wondered how that Royal Wulff or Parachute Adams you use so much was tied or how to tie it? EMAIL US. We would be more than happy to tie up the pattern as close to the original as possible for your viewing pleasure. Describe the fly as best as possible or better yet, send along a pic of the fly and the name of it. Donâ€™t forget to check out the fly tying section up on the Big R Fly Shop website HERE. We upload a new fly tying video weekly as our featured Fly of the Week, and the fly tying section continues to grow with some of our most popular fly patterns.
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Livestock Cafe by Stephan Avena - Big R Fly Shop of Omak,WA
Don't show up for breakfast at Okanogan's Livestock Cafe unless your belt buckle has at least three more notches to go—you're gonna need 'em. This loud and friendly rancher hangout has been serving great food for the last 10 years. Juanita Randall, the owner of this former livestock auction hall, must absolutely hate to let anyone leave hungry. For example, the Cattleman Omelet ($8.95) looks as fat as a 12” sub sandwich and comes with hash-browns grated to order. Filled with 3/4” chunks of sausage, think-cut bacon, ham, onion, mushrooms and bell pepper, this 3-egg omelet is not only delicious, but very satisfying. And what about the Chicken Fried Steak? For $9.95, this 'meal' comes on two platters: ½ a platter of fried steak, the other half with homemade hash-browns--both sides covered in country gravy. Platter two is half-covered in eggs any style and the other side is stacked with toast. Your coffee cup is always full here and if there's still room, their cinnamon rolls are huge. Best part is: after having breakfast at The Livestock, why stop for lunch...just keep on ﬁshing! And when you ﬁnally look up from your platter, you can admire the Cafe's collection of ranch brands, local wildlife photography (including some very fat Omak Lake Cutthroat) and an original, sepia-toned cattle drive mural. The Livestock Cafe serves breakfast all day and lunch from 11-2 when they cook up big burgers and lunch specials. Hours are 7-2 weekdays, Saturdays 7-11 and closed on Sundays. 30
So, remember to bring a healthy appetite, but also remember to bring cash. Says Juanita: “We only deal in pictures of presidents—no debit or credit cards...and checks accepted only if you're local”. I guess the guys at the Big R Fly Shop qualify so we'll see ya there!
This Okanogan landmark sits just off Highway 97/20. Turn off on Armory Junction and head West to Rodeo Trail. Go left and you'll see the stock yard and Cafe up a ¼ mile on the right.
Great Falls, MT
4400 10th Ave South ( 406 ) 761.7441
477181 North Hwy 95 ( 208 ) 255.5757
1227 Koala Dr ( 509 ) 422.9840
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