Good Fall Firehole Fanatics,
We are now officially into winter and the reality fall is over has sunk in. All good things must end I guess. I reflect while I sit here sipping a cup of piping hot coffee as it gently snows outside. It was another good one as I recall. Just enough warm weather to be able to squeeze in a couple of camping trips and just enough snowy and cold weather to bring the elk down out of the high country into my freezer. It was a fall of many firsts. It was Lamar’s (my lab/springer mix) first hunting season, my dad’s first bull elk, and my first time getting my truck really stuck in the mountains. Failure is always an option when it comes to first times. All events went well even though they didn’t happen as I might have imagined them.
Since it was my first fall in Deer Lodge, I spent a lot of my time on Google Earth and studying many other maps. This is one of my favorite things about fall. A chance to ride new roads, climb new hills, and fish new streams. New inspiration is on top of every mountain and around every bend of the river. This is a chance to have another first time. After all you never know where your next first time will take you.
Fall is a great time to be a fishing guide, especially if we’re not guiding. Even if we are guiding, at least the water is much less crowded. It gives us a chance to explore and expand our resume. It gives us a chance to hopper fish that one bank, streamer fish that back eddy where “Walter” lives, or knock the dust off the spey rod and swing brightly colored flies through that particular run that haunted our thoughts all summer long. Chasing our sporting dogs through golden fields chuck full with coveys of birds is always an option. As a guide, fall is also a great time to visit our neglected families and reconnect with reality. These are just a few reasons why fall is my favorite season of the year.
If it wasn’t for summer and winter, we wouldn’t have fall. The leaves are all but gone now. The days are very short, hardly nine hours long. Old man winter is on our doorstep. This is a great time of year to refill fly boxes, replace old fly line, or plug holes in our waders. Still it isn’t an excuse not to go outside. Even though winter fishing isn’t nearly as romantic as it is the rest of the year, I’m still passionate enough to get out at least once a week. I can’t believe it’s the middle of December already. My holiday shopping sprees are basically over…I hope everybody gets what they want. I know I already got what I want, a winter full of memories made this past fall.