With temperatures hovering above freezing, Brady and I planned to take to the water. Since he was in my neck of the woods in Deer Lodge, a two hour drive from his home in Livingston, I insisted that he chose where we fish. Without any real dry fly options within close range, a nymphing decision was weighed several times the night before over a couple of beers. Talking about fishing is one of my favorite things to do besides actually doing it. There were a few promising options where we could hoist large dripping trout measured in pounds not inches, but Brady chose to fish a colder canyon stretch with smaller on average fish in the Big Hole river. I was kind of surprised with his decision, but I know I shouldn’t have been. After all, Brady is the only person that has convinced me that it was a good idea to fish twenty five degree temperatures with thirty mile an hour sustained winds more than once. We chipped ice away from our guides and rods while watching each other dissect each fishy looking pool. Conditions were good not great. The fishing was good not great. It was still really fun and we didn’t see another fisherman all day. It was well worth our effort and I would do it all over again.
I know that I don’t have to remind you but it’s only half way through winter….technically. Even though another year is already whizzing by we still have another two months of sub zero temperatures and blowing snow which make some days stall almost to a complete stop. On that note, as for Montana winters, this has been a mild one. It is actually raining, melting snow rapidly in the lower elevations as I’m posting this blog. The state’s overall snowpack is well below normal and the temperatures have kept most of our surrounding rivers virtually ice free. That said, I haven’t heard anybody even whisper a complaint after last years pummeling. Considering the overall water content and the carryover in all of our western reservoirs, I have a very optimistic outlook for the upcoming Firehole Ranch fishing season. With a few good to great water years in a row the fish should be very “healthy”, otherwise known as fat and spunky. The insect activity should finally be consistent with our historic hatch charts. I look forward to the Firehole and Henry’s Fork fisahing predictably well the first week we are open, unlike last season. The rest of the rivers should follow suit as we post it in our Firehole Ranch week-by-week fishing forecast. I can’t wait!