Montana and the Blessings of Snow

A friend of mine, a Montana guide, wrote in an email yesterday: “PMD hatches have been great, and with so many bugs and feeding fish, it becomes something of a spectator sport for me. It should be for my clients, too, but most of them don’t see (even with coaching) a lot of what is going on right in front of them. Most of them don’t have the chance to spend enough time on the water to train themselves to see the subtle parts of trout fishing — the idiosyncratic feeding behavior of a particular fish, the little nuances of current, the differences between riseforms, etc., etc. It’s an enjoyable time to be a trout guide.”
In a state where, as the governor notes, “no matter what the weather is, we’re never more than two weeks from a drought,” residents are enjoying the wettest year in almost a decade, and fly fishers — especially the ones who really know the waters — are breathing a huge sigh of relief. While snow and mud still clog many rivers and cause no end of headaches for outfitters, the resources themselves are getting a much needed respite. Ranchers won’t be fighting for higher draw-downs, Montana and Wyoming will stop fighting over Bighorn flows (at least for the season), and rivers where important populations of fish have been decimated by high temperatures have a few months to recover. In short, if you like elbow room and lots of water, and if gas and airline ticket prices haven’t already depleted your bank account, this is probably the best year in recent memory to go fish Montana and other northern Rocky Mountains states.

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