Friday, January 6, 2012

Winter.......Sort of

Happy New Year everyone.  What a wild winter so far here in Montana.  We had a thunderstorm replete with lightning after Christmas (the first I ever remember that late in the year).  We were fortunate enough to celebrate a White Christmas (barely) thanks to a last minute reprieve, with little more than a dusting of snow a day or two before Christmas.  It has since melted and we rang in the new year with no snow and some downright balmy (even nighttime) temperatures.  I have since given up (well at least for the time being) on a deep pow day to strap on the snowboard.  With the forecast Wednesday calling for highs in the mid-50's I sneaked out of the office after lunch, picked up Marshall and hit the home waters for an altogether too brief of a fishing trip. 

After the short drive to what I thought would be the best stretch of winter water, we turned off the highway and  SON....OF......A.......BITCH,  there it was, smack dab in the middle of the small parking area, another truck.  Oh well, who could blame the guy, the temperature did read 57 at the bank in town.  Luckily our second choice was not far away and vacant as well.

The weather certainly cooperated. 

As we hurriedly rigged rods and wadered up, I even let myself hope for the possibility of rising fish.  After a frantic few minutes of scanning the water I resigned myself to the fact that any fish caught this day would almost certainly be caught dredging. 
As confirmed dry fly purists enthusiasts, my son and I rarely fish underneath and thus winter is usually left for more season-appropriate activities (snowboarding) and dreaming of the next season's hatches.  However with the somewhat recent passion for steelhead fishing we have decided to work on improving our nymph fishing and what better time than a shirtsleeve winter day?
I started off with a beadhead king prince nymph/pheasant tail combo, switched to a beadhead stone/san juan worm and continued through the detritus that is my nymph box, all to no avail.  (did I mention my home waters is a fickle mistress in the winter?)
Marshall on the other hand was into a fish by the second hole.

Apparently the fish was shy and knew I had my camera because it managed to spit the hook.  Home waters in the winter-1, the dude's son-0.
Undeterred, Marshall continued fishing behind me and was soon into another fish (at least I can say I taught him the majority of what he knows, although there's sparse comfort in that).

Home waters-1, Marshall-1
well, sort of.....
It was one of the biggest whitefish I've seen caught, pushing 18' and plump.   Nice job Marshall!!

All in all it was great to be on the water, even greater being able to spend part of a day with my son on the water and greater yet that he outfished me!


  1. Hi, Craig.

    In the summer of 2009, I worked in Deer Lodge, and one weekend my husband and I ventured to Ronan, bought our fishing licenses at a hardware store on the east side of the road so we could fly fish the reservation. We loved Montana! Enjoyed your New Year fishing post.

  2. Thanks for the encouraging comment! If you fished the reservation then you fished my home waters, I hope you had some luck here. If you ever make it back this way let me know, be glad to show you guys around!