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Kids fly fishing clinic at Crail Ranch

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BIG SKY – Is a “Royal Wulff” pattern just a fly in wolf’s clothing? Is it rude to be a “Royal Trude?”

Kids ages 6 – 14 can find out the answers to these important questions and compete for prizes on July 4 at the Crail Ranch Kids’ annual Fly Fishing and Casting Clinic.

Held in memory of Pat Allen, a long-time local resident and fly fishing enthusiast, the event is now in its fifth year. Each year, it spawns a new generation of fly fishers.

“Our local Gallatin River is known around the world as a Blue Ribbon trout stream,” says coordinator Jerry Mistretta. “So, fly fishing is a big sport here in Big Sky.”

Fly fishing requires a gentle cast and an understanding of how to “match the hatch.” Spawning the next generation of fly fishermen and women, clinic instructors will focus on various types of flies, the fly life cycle and casting techniques.

Among the instructors will be Jim Lindley, Barbara Blesch, Anne Marie Mistretta, Michele Geppert, Mike Beltramo and Steve Johnson. Local guide shops Wild Trout Outfitters, East Slope Outdoors and Gallatin Riverguides will contribute equipment and prizes.

The two-hour clinic is held at the Historic Crail Ranch, which is located on Spotted Elk Road west of the Community Park and just off Little Coyote Road. Call (406) 993-2112 or email to register for the clinic. Participants should arrive at ranch at 10 a.m.

Augustus Franklin Crail and his family originally homesteaded in Big Sky in 1902. Most other ranches in the area became dude ranches, capitalizing the tourist draw to Yellowstone National Park, but the Crails continued operating a stock ranch for 50 years. Now a museum, the Crail Ranch is open for free tours on weekends from noon – 3 p.m. The ranch also hosts many other summer activities.

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