• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Friday, May 27, 2011

    The Throngs Of Spring

    Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.  
    ~Henry David Thoreau
    Midnight Snow: May 26 - 27, 2011
    .. They've been arriving on schedule: just like the swallows at Capistrano. It's an annual migration: from the cluttered lowlands of our nation to the idyllic meadows of Yellowstone.
    .. Last night while they slept in their cozy motel beds Mom spewed forth a greeting of white stuff for their edification. The kind of greeting that is but a foretaste of tomorrow's opening day in Yellowstone National Park.
    Just Like Christmas
    .. For the moment, at least, there is no place in our little village that received more than two feet of snow. The famous rivers of the west side of the park are cool, and their meadows can all be traversed without having to trudge through more than knee deep snow.
    .. This migration is a ritual that has little to do with fish and much to do with the space between the visitor's ears.
    .. Spring, (such as it is this year,) has arrived in Yellowstone. The indicators are present in abundance:
    1,] it says so on the calendar,
    2.] the Firehole River came within 1 cfs of setting an all-time discharge record last Tuesday, (it's back down to a gentle 100 cfs above seasonal average,)
    3,] the Gibbon River broke it's discharge record for the last four days by over 400 cfs, and the trend continues,
    4,] the Madison River has been running at between 500 and 700 cfs above the seasonal average for the last week, and is continuing to pump chocolate sludge into Hebgen Reservoir.
    5,] feather merchants are dancing with glee at the in-migration of the faithful,
    6,] pub proprietors have finally found an outlet for their weirdly named and highly over rated local beers,
    7,] park rangers have a fresh supply of ball point pens and stacks of newly printed citation forms for the visitors that have not read this year's new regulations - or are ignoring them - or have parked poorly in their haste to not catch fish.
    Full Dress Feather Duster
    .. This year opening day will, again, not be about the fish. It's about the ritual, the mentality, the commitment to fish the holy water and conditions be damned!
    .. This year it's about slogging around frozen meadows and hanging out in the snow doing senseless things that the wife will not let the old codgers do at home.
    .. We'll take our favorite flies, (guaranteed not to catch fish in the current conditions,) and tie them on with our frozen fingers. We'll have a net with holes bigger than any anticipated fish. We will even take a camera to record beautiful scenery because we know that there will be no fish to pose for a portrait.
    .. We'll be there tomorrow to participate in the snowstorm, the soggy cigars, and the amber liquids. We've been invited to traipse through the tundra with our neighborhood mud-fishers. It will be a day to remember.
    .. Damn the conditions - full haul ahead!
    Your Fee Dollars At Work