Goodbye to a Friend as We Welcome 2021 – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Goodbye to a Friend as We Welcome 2021

I met Tove in the early 2000’s through a local women’s angling club that had a disappointingly short lifespan here in the Gallatin Valley. At 5’ 0” (maybe) and 85 pounds

- with waders and boots – her love of the water, the fish, and present was infectious to me then as it is today. We have fished together for many years, in all kinds of weather, and all across Montana it seems at one time of another. Rain, snow, and howling wind always seem to be our companion. However, over the sounds of rain and sleet pelting the back of my head, I can always hear Tove humming or singing some cheezy ballad in the back of the boat - calming herself for the next fish or run, just around the bend. After a decade or so, I found myself singing along under my breath.

I have been rowing people around and sharing fly-fishing adventures with people from around the world for the better part of 20 years. I can only think of one “dude” that I ever asked to not bless me with his presence again in all of those years. I have learned much about life from so many while sharing my knowledge and experiences on the water with them at the same time. As I look forward to the new year ahead, the hope of reuniting with many friends on the waters around Bozeman is the keystone of my early expectations. I can’t wait to see everyone again while getting back to a life that feels more like it should as compared to the recent past.

As I look to the calendar in 2021, Tove’s name won’t be on the calendar for the first time in nearly 20 years. We lost her some time ago in 2020 after years of battling cancer with hardly a mention from her mouth. Her songs are always in my head while her infectious joy as a fish runs deep into her backing has inspired my soul forever. Our paths would have never crossed if not for the sport, the water, and the trout that brought us together, and I would have never known what I had missed.

So, the next time you feel that tug as your line goes tight or watch the slow rise of a fish eating a March Brown – give a silent shout out to my good friend Tove and know that there is a beautiful, loving soul smiling at us all.

Fly-fishing is like that.