the fishing life...
Katie Roloson fishing the Gallitan
It is not right that I am writing about the past three weeks of this trip from a Comfort Inn, or that I haven't written anything for that matter in quite some time.  By now it doesn’t matter that this comfort inn is located in the middle of nowhere, the furthest I have been from a trout stream in over two months.  On the contrary, it makes sense I suppose, to write now, now more than ever, now that the temptation of fishing, or the lure of mountains, or the guilt of running or simply not wasting this precious time is momentarily at bay.  I am in North Dakota now and having spent the past three weeks in Montana, there is nothing else to do but reflect.
A promising sign on Easter evening
We left early on Easter Sunday.  You know how on TV when the father peers in a cracked bedroom door?  The hallway light illuminating a small peaceful figure bundled in a race car comforter, a matching theme displayed throughout the room on the walls and nightstand.  It’s a boy of 8 or 9, that’s for sure and an expression of satisfaction and approval is cast on the fathers face, then the door closes, the man leaves without disturbing the child's final moments of sleep and the screen goes black.  I guess the point is, we didn’t leave that early.  We were going fishing.  It was Easter and everyone knew it, no need to be secretive, maybe slightly embarrassed or sorry for leaving the family on a holiday, but that was it.
 On the way out I called up a good friend from Washington, Katie Roloson.  Katie works at the North Cascades Institute.  Works her butt off actually.  She had managed to accumulate almost of month of comp time on top of her unused vacation and was in need of an adventure to cash in on.  So she decided to drive out and meet us in Big Sky.  It was great to have her there.  Her presence was a reminder of my life the past two years in Washington and the adventurous souls I got to know, but more importantly it was just nice to be able to spend some time on the stream with a good friend.

Katie had done some fishing in Washington with me, very little though, maybe less than an hour, but I wasn’t too worried about that.  She is one of those rare individuals who, having never done something before can almost immediately do it better than you.  You know the type.  On top of it, she is completely clueless to her skill.  You could bring her to a bowling alley and she’d roll a 300 and ask if that was good.  People like her are pure wanton talent so I knew she would pick up fly-fishing quickly.
Casting away
As I suspected it didn’t take long for her to get her casting down, it didn’t even take long for her to put down a respectable drift (cast, mend, strip, mend, give, mend reach, cast, repeat…), in fact she had a fish on within the first 30 minutes or so.  I knew this because I was standing there with her, but I would have known it even if I was 30 miles downstream in Bozeman.  She screamed, “Oh my god!  I’ve got a fish, I think I’ve got a fish, I had a fish, I think that was a fish, I can’t believe it!” 

From that point on every fish that bit, and more so every rock her line bumped stirred a wave of excitement that she could barely contain.  “I got a… nope.”  Then, “Oh, my gosh I think I got a, oh”… then, “I got a fish, I got a fish this time!  Paul a fish!” 

“Really?”, I would say.  “Yeah, I think it’s a fish,” she’d say.  “Hold your rod still.” Sizing up the movement, or lack thereof I’d say, “Hmm, I think you’ve got another rock…”. 

“No, I think it’s a…, okay I think it’s a rock.  But it felt like a fish…”

To her credit, it can be really difficult to tell the difference at times between a rock and a fish.  Either way you need to set the hook, it’s what happens after that that solves your problem.  If your line takes off it’s a fish, if it stays put it’s a rock.  Further confusing the matter however is the fact that large fish often do stay put.  They are smart.  They pause for several seconds to help you think you have a rock while they buy themselves some time to think about how they are going to get themselves out of the mess their in.  Regardless, it was fun to hear the excitement in Katie’s voice over each little bump in her line.  A reminder of that pure joy that originally hooked me to fish, well before I trained myself to mute the excitement of possibility, an excitement that I have to believe still drives all fishermen.
Temperamental spring weather
We had four days to get Katie a fish, and seeing how well she was doing just within the first hour, I was positive it wouldn’t take that long.  So, I was more than overjoyed when we finally killed the monkey around 5 O’clock on the fourth day (nothing like waiting till the last moment).  After the first day, a front came through and dropped several inches of snow, chilled the stream, dumped some color into it, and put the fish down.  Things didn’t look good.  There were still fish to be caught, but they were much more difficult now and nothing was for sure.  Katie’s first fish was a very respectable whitefish and it wasn’t her last.  She landed several more before the day was through, before she headed back to Washington, and before my dad and I headed to the Big Horn.
Katie got a Fish!

05/25/2011 09:49

Why did you make her fish with two rods?

Betsy Delph
05/25/2011 11:08

Paul, your skill at capturing Katie's voice is grand. I can hear her hollering/muttering/hollering. Absolutely perfect. good fun.

06/02/2011 06:37

Ok Paulie, what is the rest of the story? I know you have been fishing and having a good time. Here at home, not fishing and I would like to hear more tales of adventure - you have some catching-up to do. This brings back memories - - like, "is your homework done?

05/19/2012 09:35

THX for info


Leave a Reply.