Exploring Other Options – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Exploring Other Options

I’ve been running all over the region the last few weeks in search of fishable water and have had some amazing new adventures as well as the chance to get reacquainted with some old favorites. I got back to Bozeman this afternoon – along with a thunderstorm – and am happy to see the flows dropping like a rock on the Madison. I’ll be hitting it pretty hard the next couple of weeks and it’s always one of my favorite places to fish while the flows are dropping.

From spring creeks, to ponds, little tailwaters, small meadow stream, mountain brooks, big tailwater and limestone canyons…I’ve worked and fished on an amazing range of fisheries just in the last week. The one thing that I love best about the fishing we have here is the variety. How many places are there where you can be sight-fishing to picky one day on a spring creek and then be sleeping in a Teepee along some isolated canyon wall the next? The water is out there; sometimes you just need to go look for it.

I was up on the Dearborn last week one day and felt like we had the whole wilderness of Montana to ourselves. The flows were around 500 cfs – ideal for trying to get through the lower river in a day – and fish were eating dries and nymphs just fine. The solitude and beauty of the canyon was worth the trip by itself. I love catching big fish but there is just something “pure” about rivers like the Dearborn that helpfully put things into perspective from time to time. I was supposed to be on the Missouri the following day but the winds were crazy, so we opted for a plan B.

If you’ve ever fished with me before…the best part of some days is the transition from plan A to plan B! We ended up picking up from Craig and heading for parts unknown to try to find a break from the wind. We ended up that day on a small stream that with no name running along some obscure old highway. We found some legal access points to the river and set off for a day of fishing on some new water for both guide and client. Now, I’d be lying if I said we got a lot of fish but there were several variables in play that are often outside of the control of both guide and angler – this was the case that day. What we did find was some amazing water, a few trout, and solitude on a river.

As things around Bozeman finally start to come around, I look forward to the coming days and weeks of finally being on my home waters for the year. I’ve been reminded of that wonderful feeling that comes with anticipating the unknown the last few weeks. Its one thing about trout fishing that is always a constant – the unknown – and that feeling of anticipation is the stuff that keep so many of us awake at night. As we begin the heart of our guide season around Bozeman, I realize that this everyone coming out this year probably feels just like I did the other day on that little creek on the prairie. I’m partly jealous, but just as excited as the waiting is over and the fishing is finally on.