I grew up in a house where you fished in the spring and summer, hunted in the fall, and spent the winter hoping that spring would hurry again. Consequently my days fishing in the colder months of year have been few and far between. So when the opportunity arose this week to combine a work day with an hour or so of fishing the Bighorn, I had to jump at the chance.
The weather finally climbed back into the upper 30s, but wind has a way of ruining drift and makes casting a practice in futility. And dare I say that changing leader and tippet in the middle of a gust is not the most pleasant experience, though it begs the question, "should I keep my gloves on and have no dexterity in this delicate maneuver or take them off and watch my wind-chilled hands struggle to grasp leaders and flies?" On a day like this, even mending the line in the drift produced interesting developments. I kept looking for a remote control to turn the wind down just long enough to make my adjustments.
Though we caught a few fish, my actual fishing time probably lasted about 45 minutes, and my partner soon grew weary of battling the elements. The sandwiches back in the truck tasted so good and even the lukewarm sports drink went down smoothly. With the wind now locked outside the vehicle and the Ford heading back up the road past fields filled with thousands and thousands of geese, we lamented the fact that we’d had the day cut short.
Then we laughed at ourselves, remembering that we were fishing in January in Montana—that very thought filled with wonder: wonder that anyone would dare fish in the coldest month of the year, and wonder that we live in such a place that such irrational behavior is, in fact, quite logical.