Fishing Report for the week of 4/1/12 by Chad
Guest post by guide Chad Dubose: As a fishing guide I sometimes pressure myself to feel success through the number of fish my clients catch. No matter their attitude I am determined it is a bad day if not enough fish are brought to hand. I try not to be a “fish counter” but honestly everyone is guilty of it even if only just for a bit.
My first day guiding this year started with a phone call a week prior. It was my first day back working at the Glacier Anglers Fly Shop and I took a phone call inquiring about learning to fly fish. Tami was from North Dakota and had been obsessed with the idea of learning to fly fish since she first read The River Why in 1988. Her opportunity finally arose when Tami along with her husband and three sons decided to travel to Big Mountain Ski Resort to snowboard. Since Tami was not interested in skiing or snowboarding she decided to look up fly-fishing in the area.
Luckily She came across Glacier Anglers and I was available to take her call. The trip was then booked and that was that. The ensuing week went by quickly followed by a weekend at the Montana Sportsman’s Expo in Kalispell and then a short trip to Missoula for a relaxed birthday celebration. Once back in West Glacier it was clear that the river in its current state was not fishable due to muddied waters. Each day that week I watched as the river slowly regained isn’t beautiful teal green winter color. By Friday things had shaped up and the fishing seemed to be ON.
That morning as I was throwing the cooler in the drift boat at the put-in the day looked to be a glorious one. We had blue skies and no wind and it was apparent that Tami was already having the time of her life.
After a casting lesson on the first short stretch of river we were on our way to having a great time. The sun was out and it was starting to warm up. We had a few nibbles at first and then while I was making hot tea in the boat Tami yelled, “I have got one!” I looked up to see her rod bent and line tight. We were able to see the fish before it wrapped the line around the oar and broke off. The day was still looking good.
Then the snow squalls started rolling up the river one after another. They would usually last for 15-20 minutes with 10-15 minutes of sunshine in between. It got so cold I ended up giving Tami my gloves, jacket and warm hat and using my spare clothing for myself. We started to see less and less fish activity. The fishing was also tough in itself. With a steady upstream wind and bouts of heavy snowfall motivation was being tested. I took out some hand warmers for her to use when she wasn’t fishing. At lunchtime we had still not gotten a fish to hand and the weather was looking worse. The squalls were more frequent and were lasting longer.
As I was putting away the leftovers from lunch Tami let me know that she was ready to call it a day. The cold weather, wind and snow had finally pushed her to the edge. I compromised with offering to let her not fish until she saw a spot that she could not resist. Once we were on the water it took 10 minutes for her to start fishing again.
While getting closer to the take-out the idea of not getting a single fish to hand was starting to form in my mind. Considering the circumstances one might realize it’s a possibility, but I couldn’t. Tami was here to learn how to fly fish and to hopefully see the beauty of a trout in her own hands so by golly that’s what she was going to do.
About 2 miles above the take out we floated toward a tree in an eddy that I knew had to be holding a few fish. I instructed Tami to cast as close to the tree while trying not to get caught in its limbs. The flies landed about a foot away and with no current we sat and waited. I watched the bobber as it was bumped once then twice and I yelled set just after Tami pulled up on the rod and connected with what looked like a trout.
As Tami fought the fish she listened well as I instructed her in keeping the rod tip up and the line tight. Slowly but surely she brought the fish right into my net and it measured out at 16 inches. The amount of excitement in Tami’s eyes cannot be explained. When she looked down in the net she saw something she had dreamed about over two decades ago coming to fruition.
Its those moments that help me realize the importance of my job. Guiding can be a very selfish career; after all you are getting paid to take people fishing. But if you look past the first few pages you will see the effects this sport has on every person that encounters it. Fly fishing makes you happy, it can be as simple as that.
After all, its not about how many fish you caught. Its about the journey to catch those fish. Thanks Tammi for being such a sport out there. Can’t wait for our next fishing trip in the summer!