The spring this year in Montana has been unusual to say the least. Nearly constant precipitation and cooler temps have left our mountains brimming with snowpack. In many places we have seen over 200% of average. While this weather delayed the start of run-off by a few weeks, the high snow pack will undoubtedly extend it well into July. Before the rivers began to spike, I did manage to get out for two days of fly fishing on my local river, the Gallatin. We put some effort into walking into some of the tougher reaches on this river. There are some places that don't see many anglers, due to the lengthy walk with many crossings. It can be tough to find solitude on this river anymore, but we managed to fish a whole day without ever seeing another person.
The fishing was great. I caught several nice fish including a gorgeous 19" rainbow, and some good looking browns. I couldn't help but think though, that I haven't been out targeting native species for a while. It seems all I have caught so far this spring have been trout. Obviously, this is completely my fault for staying to close to home and not deliberately targeting some of the species on my list. Well, thankfully, while I was standing out in the river thinking about this issue I hooked into a solid fish which turned out to be the good ole' native whitefish. I was glad to see this fish in the river. Turns out, that there has been some talk going around about this species being in decline lately. Here is a link to a good article in the Bozeman Chronicle called "Where's Whitey?" Hopefully, this will get more fisherman to treat whitefish respectfully...instead of throwing them up on the bank or drop-kicking them back into the river.
As I sit here finishing this post, the rain is continuously falling and the rivers have spiked significantly. The Gallatin rose about a foot in the last 24 hours,and I know that I won't get out fishing the local river for quite some time. I planned a run-off fishing trip to Arizona this spring, and I will be heading down there to target some unique species. The other big news is that I recently accepted a job offer in New Zealand that will have me living on the South Island until October. So my quest to catch all of these native fish in Montana faces a delay, but I fully intend to continue the mission.