Jim Laughery founded Eastslope Outfitters on the Bighorn River in 1985 and after 30 years, he's still owner and lead-guide for the family operation.
Originally from Moses Lake, Washington, Jim took the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 as a sign that it was time to escape the ash and move to greener pastures. He headed down the eastslope of the Rockies and landed in Montana, where he guided on the Bighorn River for several years, working for area fly shops. It didn't take long to realize he had found his life's work, so in 1985 he started his own small flyfishing company on the Bighorn River and named it Eastslope Outfitters.
Jim, nicknamed "Stretch" because of his height and long-arm reach, was confident that what he couldn't offer in size of operation, he could make up in extra effort and personal service.
In 1998, he was juggling single-parenthood (daughter Jena Mae), his fishing business and was just beginning the expansion into hunting, as well, when he met Joyce.
She was a cowgirl, born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska, with a career in marketing and management. They shared a love of the outdoors and a kindred spirit for hard work. They were married in January 2000, and Joyce joined the business full-time a few years later.
Jim (a.k.a. Stretch) is pictured at right with dog Cicada, in the Bighorn River.
Savvy is an American lab from working parents owned by Clint & Steph Krumm of River Ready Kennels in Wyoming. She was retrieving bird wings at 7 weeks.
Savvy is tall, racy and athletic, and weighs just over 60 pounds.
Her personality is gentle, sensitive, playful and (you got it) savvy.
Emmy is our beloved rescue pup. We found her Oct 2020 in Billings at 14 mo. old, in need of a new home. A purebred, she was born from working parents at Bald Mountain Kennels in western Montana. When we found her, she lacked training and conditioning, but she's progressing beautifully.
Emmy is a tiny spitfire of a Labrador (38 lbs). She was a household pet with no concept of retrieving, but she's taken to this new game as if she was born to it (she was). Although not field-ready, we're hopeful she'll be ready by 2021 for introductory bird work.
In Loving Memory
GRACIE ALLEN was a full-blood British Lab from world-champion stock, a direct daughter of Conneywarren Jason (BritishLabradors.com). Gracie was smart, funny, athletic and blessed with incredible fire. Photo courtesy of Randy Saiki
CHLOE was a full-blood British Lab, also a direct daughter of Conneywarren Jason (BritishLabradors.com).
Chloe was fearless, tireless and supremely talented. In western jargon, Chloe "had heart."
CICADA left us in 2020 at age 13. She was Gracie's daughter and carried the lineage of champion British Lab stock. Her father, Duke, was an American Lab owned by Dennis & Ann Fischer. An elegant dog, her personality was quiet and regal.
RED (48 lbs) was Cicada's sister and Gracie's daughter, thus she was half British lab/half American. She made her first water retrieval at just 7 weeks old, and happily worked until her passing at age 13, the same year as her sister. She was focused, eager and affectionate
Photo courtesy of Clayton Vandergriff.