My love of fly fishing was put to the test last week on a quick trip to Craig, Montana to fish the Missouri River. We had been watching the forecast closely all of last week and found a window – according to weather.com – for a decent outlook last Thursday. My trout outings have been limited so far in 2018 with a busy work and family schedule, so this looked like a great chance to get the feet wet and a bend in the rod.
I’ll spare you the gory details of the late-night drive, dinner in Helena, and the dreadful feeling at 6 am when the wind began to howl. Yep, I’ll just skip right to the good part on this one.
The good part starts later Thursday night after safely getting off the river, despite the challenges present by broken jet motor shifters in a raging blizzard. All things that I call “the in-between stuff.” The good part starts while reflecting on the experience in my office at the back of our Bozeman fly shop.
My wife and friends asked why we even gave it a shot as the weather was foreboding, to say the least. My reply was simple and true; I fish, that’s what I do. I was standing next to a river with a fly rod and a boat, to turn away would have been exactly opposite to how I am wired.
I had the opportunity, the next day, to explain my less than rational way of approaching certain angling challenges to my 10-year old son. He asked why I liked fishing so much, even if it was in the middle of a cold, sideways-blowing blizzard on a Thursday in February. I told him the story of my first “big fish” caught on my own back in the early 80’s and how that moment ruined me forever. If not for that fish, that grab, that feeling of the sun on my neck; I may just be happily selling carpet right now instead of “living the dream”
So yeah, the fishing was no good last Thursday on the Missouri - on the front side of yet another Arctic Blast. Yeah, it also cost me way more money than I would have spent if I had just decided to sleep in for the day. However, I wouldn’t know what it was like to stand on an island all by myself and listen to nothing but the sound that snow makes as it melts into the river.
Do you know what that sounds like?
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