Sunday, March 3, 2013

March is Here

Time to inflate the raft, or dust off the drift boat. 

The first day of March to many here in western Montana is the unofficial start to the new fishing season.  The State seems to think so as well, because fishing licenses expire annually on the last day of February.  On the first day of March, I and a multitude of other avid anglers, shuffled on down to the nearest sporting goods store and bought a new fishing license.

A 'Bow's Adipose

For a large number of fly fisher folks now is the time to string up the rod that's been hibernating since the start of hunting season, dig out the waders that are shoved into a dark recess of a forgotten closet, and try to piece together the rest of the gear scattered throughout the house.  I'm just guessing at this, maybe most folks are more organized than I am.  I'm also one of the wackos that never stop fishing in the first place.

Jordan with a solid 'bow from this weekend.

You know March just feels different psychologically.  It's not a month that necessarily conjures up images of frozen tundra, epic blizzards, sub-zero temps and the like.  However in Montana, these events are still very real probabilities on any given day this month.  But even so, March brings about a certain form of optimism, hey spring is right around the corner right? 

Big Blue at the helm of The Gray Whale, shootin' the chutes
You begin to notice the subtle signs that winter is on it's way out.  You catch sight a few hardy red-wing blackbirds in the cattails.  There are several unconfirmed reports of robin sightings throughout town.  The morning drive to work brings with it a glimpse of newborn calves.  And before too long, some lovesick and lonely male flicker will start banging on your stovepipe everyday at 6am (really looking forward to this!). 

A trout in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Spring however, regardless as to what the calendar says, for me never really begins until I see my first sandhill crane.  I can distinctly remember my first crane sightings of each year I have lived in Montana.  The best was a couple years ago, when, standing hip deep in the river, a mated pair suddenly stormed overhead like prehistoric pterodactyls and landed on the far side of the river.  As if to say, we're back, did you miss us?       

Holla' if you like the Skwala.

Last week we were the only boat on the water.  This week there's suddenly a dozen trailers at the put in and discussion of dry flies and dreams of Skwalas to come.  It won't be too awfully long before the real action begins and with it the annual circus that is Skwala season on the Bitterroot. 

Here's to March.  Glad you decided to show up.       


  1. Exceptional fish, photos and writing.

    Thank you.

  2. thanks for share.