I don't get out to fish very often during the winter. It is not because of a lack of desire or an inability to cope with often miserable conditions. The truth is that I would love to spend more time on the rivers during this season, but along with fishing I have another time-consuming passion which hits full-swing when the snow falls. Skiing may cut into my fishing time, but the seasons are a cycle and so should be my pursuits. I have been teaching skiing full-time for several winters now, and I fully expect that trend to continue. It would be hard to imagine a winter anymore without spending at least 100 days on skis.
I recently, however, have had an overwhelming urge to get out on the river and to wet a line. Luckily for me, a recent warm spell coincided nicely with my days off and I made plans to go fishing. I met up with Will (111 Degrees) and we made the drive to a small, lightly fished river in SW Montana. The temperature was hovering in the mid-40's, a strange feeling considering a week ago it was about 50 degrees less. The fish responded to this, and we were catching fish actively feeding in riffles and aggressively chasing streamers. I almost forgot it was the middle of winter, as I comfortably fished...no warm hat, no gloves, and no ice on my rod or line. I landed several nice brown trout, essentially some of my first fish of the year.
I always feel lucky to live in Montana. This is a land of well-defined seasons, a place where I can pursue many different activities as the year progresses. Skiing in the winter, backpacking and mountaineering in the spring and summer, hunting in the fall, and then back to winter. Fishing...well, I just try and fish as often as I can, regardless of the season.