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  • Monday, March 02, 2009

    The Lamb Roars

    More Snow Will Fall
    but it will disappear
    brief fishing report

    .. Just as we were beginning to feel the claustrophobic crunch of a gentle winter, the temperature spiked. Forty-seven degrees above zero is not a record for the first of March; but it's a welcome surprise.
    .. The neighbors have taken the opportunity to go shopping at the few stores that are still open.
    .. It's nice when the visitors thin out for the thaw. There are places to park. The sidewalks begin to clear. The fashion statements sprout like weeds, and everyone takes the opportunity to show off their "tanning-bed tans."
    .. We snapped a few pictures on the way out of town. The empty streets are a sight the neighbors love and the Chamber of Commerce despises.
    .. Puddles bring hope and optimism. Spring in the high country is not so much the weather as an attitude.
    .. We know there will be more snow. We know that there will be more rain and sleet.
    .. We know that the thermometer will still see some silly temperatures. But we also know that our behavior is about to change. The neighbors have a saying: "If it aint spring, it ought'ta be!"
    .. The work of cleaning up the town will take about 6 weeks. It's a spring ritual.
    .. The ignorant folks, (visitors and neighbors alike,) believe that if the snow covers it -- it's gone.
    .. What is "IT ?" Beer cans, cigarette butts, old newspapers, maps, mittens, gloves, cell phones, etc., etc. This is the price we pay for inviting people to our town. This is the price we pay for ignoring stupidity, gross negligence, and visitation inconsideration. We endure because it's spring -- or ought'ta be.
    .. As the snow matures to slush, and the sun returns from it's vacation, a few of the neighbors are already doing "Summer Things."
    .. Saddle up the horses, (those that stay here.) Get the convertible out of the garage, (if you have one.) Find the shorts, (or buy some new ones.) Go fishing, (or pay the piper when the snows return.)
    .. We went fishing. There's a friendly gas station that sells licenses - we got ours. The day was glorious. There was just a gentle intermittent breeze and the sun was blindingly reflected off the fresh snow.
    .. The ice fishers on Hebgen Lake are still dragging in large trout and whitefish. Trout to 23" on worm bits or maggots are the norm. Bigger whitefish are also taken on the same -- or with a meal worm.
    .. We got to the first bend in the Madison River below the dam about 3:00 PM. It was dead still and, surprise of all surprises, we were the only ones there.
    .. The snow flies were already in the air and in our grill. There was time to chat with the dam keeper, and get an update on the head gate monitoring program.
    .. We donned our summer togs, (there are June days colder than 47 degrees,) and made new postholes in the well worn trail.
    .. We rigged up with a floating Feather Duster (size 16,) and a ragged Yellowstone Badger (size 12,) for the subsurface takers.
    .. We never bothered to use any other flies. The new redds are still visible and we fished from the shore, or very shallow water. The fish were eager and took both flies willingly. Pray for sun!
    .. We note that the Montana Department of Transportation has their signs up with the "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers" message.
    .. Thanks go to Butch and Jake for their heroic efforts in getting these signs up for this year's visitors.
    .. That's gotta be a thankless task in a winter storm.