Sunday, March 20, 2011


Tomorrow is officially the first day of spring. As I sit here writing, I can see that my driveway is completely ice free, as is most of the street except for small piles of snow that were once large plow berms. This is fairly unusual for this time of year, but a persistent warm trend this month has cleared out much of the low elevation snow. As every Montanan knows, however, more winter will undoubtedly come our way. The green grass is still hiding down in the ground, leaving a bleak landscape of brown, grey, and white.

This is a great time of year to get out on the of the best, if you ask me. The warming temperatures have the trout actively feeding, and the pre-runoff water conditions can make for some exciting sight fishing. The crowds of summer are nowhere around, and a guy can fish a whole day without seeing another angler and only talking to each fish briefly before releasing them. Unfortunately this window of great fishing can be cut abruptly short by the fury of the spring run-off...which I predict will begin almost exactly one month from now. With this year's stronger than normal mountain snowpack, run-off promises to be a spectacular and long-lived event.

During this time of year, I really enjoy streamer fishing. There is only limited insect activity as far as hatches go, and the fish really seem to be aggressive towards bigger flies. Jigging a big fly with white rubberlegs through slow and deep runs always seems to produce vicious strikes. For this technique, I usually use George's Brown Stone which is a big woven-bodied creation. I think my friend Will doesn't really believe me about this fly or method. Last week we were out fishing when I hooked into a nice fish using this technique...he looked at my bent rod in the evening light and just said, "Seriously?"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Escape

The act of going fishing is, on a fundamental level, purely a practical endeavor. People go out and fish, and try to bring something home to put on the table. As every fisherman knows, however, going fishing is so much more than that. Fishing provides a valuable escape from the pressures and stresses of everyday life. Time spent on the water has a magical ability that allows you to temporarily forget just about everything else in the world. It is at this point, that actually catching fish really becomes a sideline for the day. Sometimes we fish to catch fish and recreate, other times we go fishing just to get away. Many authors have written about this, but I have always liked the quote from Thoreau. "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

Recently, I have had to call upon these magical powers of fishing. It may seem strange to deal with a difficult situation by heading to the river, and in reality it may not solve a damn thing...but it does give you some precious hours of mental peace. Definitely healthier than the other alternatives.