Montana has the world’s best trout fishing. How can one make such a blanket statement, you ask? Because it quite simply is so. Beardtongue and I made it out this afternoon to an old haunt. We were not able to make it out together last season, so this was particularly enriching. I’ve decided to include a few photos to back my above reasoning. Perhaps there’s a shade of hyperbole, but only a shade and little more. I missed two or three Cutts that would have been significantly larger than these two perfectly respectable fish I managed to land. Imagine yourself casting into such a clear body of water, only to watch a glacially slow surfacing golden brown submarine like figure roll itself just under your enticement, turn its nose and nonchalantly drift back to the dark green depths below. This can cause one to loose his mind, perhaps even slip into madness. Particularly should it occur over and over as was the case for part of this afternoon.The other vexing peculiarity of Mr. Sophisticate, the aged Cutt which has managed among the Bulls for many seasons, is his keen ability to conserve energy. This is a year round phenomena, but is largely employed during the winter months when trout become more dormant. The old, wise fish will not move out of his lane, if you will, unless he is certain it will be beneficial. Often nymphs drift through his section, sculpins as well. Let us not forget the unschooled young trout, too. Each easy fare for the senior Cutt. However, there are the enticing moments when the experienced trout will rouse himself. A considerable hatch often warrants such a moment. Trout, after all, harbor Mill and Smith’s natural sense of self-interest. Today Mr. Sophisticate’s future action was, however, given away by the prescient actions of the Cedar Waxwings. A hatch would begin, the Waxwings would gorge, followed immediately by rising naturally camouflaged feeders – like driftwood up from the bottom. “The birds and the trout are having it out,” Beardtongue said observing the antics of the two feeders. This actually was remarkable as they did appear to be competing for the surfacing Mayflies and Caddis. The Waxwings would not only feed in the air, but pick the flies off of the glassy water’s surface frustrating his feeding opposition below. Do you recall the killer whale in the movie Orca peering from the water deeply into the eyes of the human? These Cutthroats behaved similarly towards the birds, usually just prior to their plunge back into the lower abyss. The trout could be said to have demonstrated the definition of maniacal elation. Their aged beer can like colors often flashing just below the surface while taking the emerging flies, those flies perhaps still shedding their shucks as well. This was seen as sticking it to the birds. The irony of this development was that in all of the chaos the trout were still able to discern our decently cast artificials (even if the right pattern) from their naturals. Further, it was as though we were on the Green – big fish, tiny flies. I can’t tell you how much tippet I went through today, Periwinkle. We were cautious about our drifts as well attempting to properly mend the line and eliminate the Vs. It may have been that the birds were colluding with the fish to impede the flowers’ catch. Regardless, I could not imagine what it would have been like during June with the big bugs. Their shucks were everywhere in the rocks and shrubs along the bank. Perhaps it’s best not to ponder pure ecstasy.
You really should come out. The fishing in Montana is often at its best in September when residents are chasing the elk and mule deer with their bows, or the mountain grouse with their sweet sixteens. Hello to all. As always, I remain
Very truly yours,