Well the season is upon us. Months of tying bugs and day after day of scouting and preparing, we find ourselves wrapped up in the midst of it once again. Fishing has been good, fishing has been downright shitty, fishing has just been what it is: out on the water with good folks and bugs hatching while trout rise on the edges, waiting for the right cast and the right mend and all that other stuff that makes fly fishing.
I’ve personally been all over the place the last few weeks. One day I’m roaring down Rock Creek looking for sweepers, then a long muddy journey home and pack it up to get my ass over to the Big Hole to meet clients at 8:00 am at the Wise River Club. Five straight on that river and pack it up to get back to the Bitterroot to meet a client at 8:00 am who I’ve only spoke with on email because we’re both out of cell service. The life of the Montana fishing guide.
This is one hell of a life, though. Through all the headaches, backaches, long days, and perpetual poverty, us guides are a lucky bunch. We get to experience this life and this environment to the fullest potential available. Driving over Lost Trail pass at 6:00 am yesterday morning, I watched a sunrise that could take your breath away. Moments later I’m dropping down the Big Hole glassing velvet antlered bull elk grazing in the Trail Creek meadows. Popping out past the Battlefield, antelope line the fences while the Beaverheads rise to my south and the wild Pintlars rise to my north, deep green and shadowed in the early light. This right here is what I’m talking about. This is it. Rolling into some unknown with someone I’ve never met to take them on an adventure of a lifetime floating and fishing on another wild Montana river. I’ll do my best to teach them what I can and show them a great day on the water but in the end, it isn’t about me or the fish we catch or the lunch and all that other bullshit, it is about this wild place a few of us are lucky enough to be a part of. This is why we guide.