Friday, September 24, 2010

The $25 Whitefish

During this last week, a couple of friends visited from back east. Pennsylvania to be precise. While fishing was not the intended purpose of their trip, they eagerly jumped at the idea to extend their trip and spend an afternoon floating down the Yellowstone. We decided on a short float, as we were unable to get on the water until the afternoon. So the stretch we picked was Carter's Bridge down to the 9th St. Bridge in Livingston, which is just about 4 river miles.

The weather turned out to be sunny and warm but the wind really picked up during the afternoon. This is a fairly common occurrence on this river...actually the wind on the Yellowstone is rather notorious. With the upstream wind slowing our drift, we lazily moved down the river casting our flies to the bank. At most of the nicer runs, we would pull over and work the water pretty well. Nick was the first to hook up on a trout, and landed a chunky rainbow that jumped at least 6 times during the fight. John was quick to catch a fish too, but he managed a native whitefish and lost another. Overall, the whitefish dominated our fishing and few trout ended up in the net.

The whole deal about a $25 whitefish is that John had to buy a 2-day fishing liscense, which cost him $25. This turned out to be the only fish he landed all day. The overall trip, however, was much more valuable. While John was standing in the river, he had a large black bear come down to the river literally right in front of him. The bear offered much more than just a fleeting glimpse as it worked downstream from us. On top of that, as we came around a brushy island we had a very close encounter with three of which was a bull. So often, you meet anglers who judge the value of their day on the water only by quantifying the number or size of fish caught. Just a day spent floating down an river, even without fishing, can be a welcome reprieve from daily life. Remember the old saying..."A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work."


  1. I'd gladly pay $25 to catch a mountain whitefish!

  2. Noble mountain whitefish, great native inhabitant of Montana's streams, long may you roll!

  3. Ditto. Getting another up close and personal with a bear and moose would be great too. It's been a while since I've done that.