I've bought flies and shuttles there several times over the years. What makes that shop location tough is that you're really married to just one river, the Big Hole. So as the the River goes, so goes the business. That means poor business even in the summer the way this current drought cycle has been.
And it's not really centrally located to serve several rivers. The lower Beaverhead and even the upper Big Hole are a bit of a drive, and those places allready have more than their share of flyshops.
That stretch of the Big Hole from Melrose to Glen will look familiar to Yakima River anglers - just substitute some nice brownies for the 'bows.
Wonder why the owner is getting out? I was reading an article in a flyfishing mag that said the yearly angler visits on the bighole have dropped from almost 100,000 in 1997 to like 65,000 last year, because the changes in the fishery. Back in the 90's the river pumped out huge multi fish days all the time, the rainbow population was huge. Now, with less water in the system, the rearing habitat for young trout, backwater channels etc. has been cut down. As a result the article said thre are less trout, and with slightly warmer summer temps, the fish dont feed on the surface nearly as much in the summer. The article however did say that the fish are larger and more healthy now then ever...hmmm.
i have seen that shop but never wandered in i guess i missed the chance! There is to many shops over there anyway, so i guess a few have to go down to level it out. Plus the big hole is seeing tough times, although i would agrue that early late in the season.