Anyone who has fished Crane Creek over the last fifty odd years is certain to have encountered a local character sporting a battered fishing hat, a walking stick and a huge .357 Magnum strapped to his hip!
This was Ray Krouscup who died unexpectedly last week.
Ray worked as a meat cutter for fifty years and only retired about a year ago. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish, particularly if it involved the company of dogs and fellow fly fishers (especially dogs!). He tied flies commercially and always carried a box with him to hand to fly fishers who were new to the stream. He would happily pass the time of day with anybody he met and nobody was a stranger to Ray.
He is probably best remember because he was always “packing” some great firearm on his hip accompanied by a couple of speed loaders. To my knowledge nobody ever asked him what he was afraid of although I am sure his reply would have been “absolutely no body”!
Contrary to this cowboy image, if you took the time to visit with him you would find he was the most gentle and caring person you could wish to meet.
Ray even has his own chapter in a wonderful book called Crosscut Creek: A Year of Fly Fishing on an Ozark Trout Stream by my dear friend Willoughby Johnson.
I am really sorry that future visits to world famous Crane Creek won’t include a chat with Ray and I hope he is strolling along some heavenly creek in the company of other fly fishing heroes like Lee Wulff or Sylvester Nemes. RIP old chap, I’m going to miss you.