I fished today after a three-month hiatus, and was it ever so sweet. As you may recall, I’ve been holding two jobs (I’m teaching again at a local business school), which has been both mentally and physically draining. The prospect of long drives to a cold river in winter for a fish or two at best just didn’t motivate me. Instead, I slept in on the weekends and have been reading a ton of books.
Today, with the weather improving, I felt the urge to get out and about. I hit a freestone that had been stocked recently and wasn’t that surprised to find things were pretty slow. The water was pretty cold. One angler below me landed a bunch of tiny fall fish, and others rotated in and out and were blanked.
I tightlined the usual runs only to find nothing, and it made me remember that the first stocking is usually pretty scant. I moved away from the deep run towards the tailout and finally connected with a dogged brown that was about 12″. It sure was a joy to see and feel the Thomas and Thomas Contact 2 bend again.
I headed downriver to a favorite spot, only to find two newish anglers there, and so, I headed upstream again. To break up the monotony, I put on a poly leader and swung a Slumpbuster on my four-weight. A fish absolutely slammed it, and I was happy to eventually land another brownie.
After a few hours, I called it quits and decided to head home, stopping for fried chicken and BBQ along the way. The chicken was over-salted, and the pork ribs were dry and tough. But, honestly that was all more than fine. You see, the masks were off, the weather is warming, and people just seemed, well, pretty happy and grateful to be doing normal, everyday things again. I know I was.
It was about two years ago that Covid hit all of us. Today, at least for now, it felt to me like it was at last behind us. I’m also thinking more about fishing because I’m starting to get pumped for a July Montana trip. Fellow blogger Joel Watson and I are going to fish one of the famous Livingston spring creeks, and we’re then going to head to the Upper Madison for six days. After that, Joel is going to fly back, but I’m going to spend another week at Rock Creek up near Missoula. The salmonfly hatch will likely be over, but I’m hoping for some good PMD action. If folks have any advice, I’m all ears.
The only bummer part about last year’s epic Montana trip is that it was tough to come back home to the too-familiar waters loaded with anglers. But I guess that’s why vacations are special. Fishing unfamiliar rivers is a total blast, and I’m looking forward to seeing new water again.
I hope everyone is well. Happy first day of spring….