Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring: A season of many possibilities

I was driving along the Gallatin River in Montana 10 days ago, on my way to ski and snowboard at Big Sky, and saw people fishing the river. The weather was beautiful, and I wished I had my flyrod so I could stop and make a few casts.

Shredding at Big Sky and Bridger Bowl was a lot of fun (see photos below). When I returned to Laramie, my son and I headed right to Snowy Range Ski Area the next day because its Web site said 20-24 inches of new snow had fallen overnight. The report was true, and we had a banner day in deep snow, some of the best of the year.

Then last Saturday, Snowy Range reported 6 inches overnight, on top of the 28 reported Wednesday. Again, it was a legit report. In the trees, I found powder that was thigh deep and still light. Another banner day.

Yesterday, I cross-country skied with the dog in the morning in bitter wind chills. The wind was still blowing in the afternoon, but the temperature was around 50 degrees. A reliable source told me that a local lake had some open water, so I headed there about 3 p.m.

When I arrived, three guys were icefishing but there was plenty of ice-free water for flyfishing. Casting was tough with the wind, frequently knotting my leader. After an hour of fruitless effort, I switched to a flashback pheasant tail nymph and moved the strike indicator up a foot.

A couple casts later, the indicator dove, I set the hook and the first trout of the year was on. Wading in the cold water and chilled by the wind, I was more sluggish than the trout but eventually got my act together, brought the fish to net and released him. The rainbow was about 14 inches long, fat and healthy. A nice way to begin fishing season.

My thoughts are again wandering away from snow sports and toward time spent on the streams and lakes of Wyoming. It is officially spring now.