Delgar Dorn Brown, CrossCurrents Fly Shop Staff Member and Guide
There is something strange about a place that comes into being simply due to how good the trout fishing can be. Historically speaking, communities have grown out of necessity or because of their proximity to other groups of people. Here in Craig, that is not the case; this town grows with the Missouri River. The fishing business is so prominent here that it’s hard to find a kid in the town who doesn’t know the difference of a Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel. The amount of traffic that goes through Craig in a day is entwined with the fishing report, and so it should be. The town sits a mere one hundred yards from the river, and most days whatever is hatching on the river can be seen floating around town as well. There are only a handful of buildings, and half of them are fly shops. To be exact there are three shops, a restaurant, and one legendary dive bar. These establishments provide the flies and alcohol, and the Mo keeps them in business. Someone once told me Mother Nature holds all the money going in and out of Craig, and a few times a year she’s a real bitch.
I have called Craig home for three summers now, so by no means am I an expert on the history of the town. What I will say is that I always watch, listen, and learn all I possibly can. In the mornings there is electricity in the air, born from the anticipation of inevitable madness on the Missouri. This makes mornings in Craig a sight to behold. Guides preparing their gear, clients shuffling around town, and all the while the Missouri and its trout are waking up for another day in paradise. Honestly, there is nothing like Craig in the AM. I have never seen a town literally thriving off the hope of a good day of fishing. Hundreds and hundreds of people all wondering if the trout will be eating… well some are wondering if their clients can cast.
After the guides leave town for the river there is a few hours of eerie calmness. Some locals are walking around, but for the most part Craig turns into a ghost town. The calm doesn’t last long though, and by the time 4 o’clock hits there is a new vibe in the air. Guides, and clients alike, head back into Craig to discuss the river with their peers. In contrast to the hectic mornings in town, the afternoons are full of laughter and spirit(s). Most guides are way more relaxed, and the copious amount of beer surely helps take the edge off. Afternoons in Craig are the best time to learn the secrets. Whether these hidden gems are about the river, or the town depends on the night. I believe the saying goes, “Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths”. That is something I have found to be true in this town.