the fishing life...
The Gallitan River
Temperatures had dropped considerably as we arrived in Big Sky to fish the Gallitan river.  A snow storm dropped two inches or so overnight and as I headed out excited to fish the next morning I stopped in at the gas station to pick up some hand warmers, hot tea, and a snickers peanut butter.  All three were going to be necessary if I wanted to last the day on the stream.  I had gotten used to spring and temperatures in the 50’s, my body didn’t want anything more to do with winter and it’s freezing weather.
Chilly morning walk to the river
Exiting the car and entering the stream I was reminded how perfectly snow muffles sound.  The turbulence of water rushing past my waders and the wind whipping through my line seemed muted, distant.  After twenty minutes or so my body gave up on saving my fingers and allowed them to slip into a comfortable numbness along with the rest of my body.  At this point even the bustle of weekend traffic up to the mountain was reduced to an indiscernible trickle as I sank into the landscape.
Nice Gallitan holes
I emerged to the delicate clatter of big horn sheep walking over cobble to browse the stream bank.  Around the same time my indicator sunk as I hooked into a mountain whitefish near the tail of a run I was working.  Two hours had gone by, and while it was beautiful to be among the snowy cliffs and wildlife my core was cold and so where the fish.  In addition my body had again decided that it wanted its fingers after all and made me painfully aware of its decision by forcing blood back through constricted capillaries to the similar affect of slamming my hand in a car door repeatedly.  If there was any part of me that still wanted to stay, this had changed my mind.  “Okay, okay” I said, “we’ll go.” As if in their frozen state my throbbing fingers and mind were distinct characters.  “We’ll get some hot tea and maybe a bite of that snickers I promised you, but then we are heading back out to fish.  No excuses.”  I am going crazy.
Where's Waldo?
When I jumped into the car the temperature read 33 degrees.  Not cold enough to freeze up the line guides, but just cold enough without sun to chill you out after several hours.  I decided to head down valley where the temperatures where a much more manageable 39.  Worked some nice pools landed a colorful rainbow and headed back up valley to see what trouble the folks had gotten into.
Knee, hand, rainbow shot
Madison River valley. I love how the clouds pile up against the preceding ranges.
The following day, we headed one valley over to see what was shaking on the Madison.  When we arrived it was cold and the winds were howling.  It was early, but when big Paul insisted that we head into Ennis and the trout shop to waste some time and see if the weather would calm down it was clear there would be no fishing today.  I had been duped.  A bit annoyed I got hyper and bet my mother that I could walk a handstand onto a parking pile-on.
The following day was partly sunny as we fished the Gally.  After a slowish start, I landed ten or twelve fish on a #8 wine colored san juan worm in the final hour of the day. 
Stellar convergence
Back at Peter’s condo we talked over cocktails. My mom told me of how unsettling the water makes her, but that she was able to catch a rainbow in spite of it.  In telling me how nervous she gets wading in the stream my mother laughingly recalled her account wading earlier in the day.  She was telling me of the roar of water rushing past her and how she had to talk to herself to encourage and ensure herself she would be alright.  My dad, not far away and watching this take place interjected out the side of his mouth, “She was in ankle deep water…”  Slightly buzzed, this set off a laughing attack.  With a good day of fishing behind us, a beautiful sunset outside, good company around, and a cocktail in hand, the atmosphere was prime.
Mom safely wading
One more thing…

While cooking dinner, my dad asked where the Italian sausage he bought was (he insisted we add it to a vegetarian meal I was making for them…)  When my mother pulled it out of the bottom drawer of the fridge we looked at it together at arms length.  Clearly printed before our eyes were the words Italian Sausage.  When I said I didn’t think that was it my mom replied, “What?  Really?  It says sausage.”  To which my dad said, “No Sheila, he’s being a sausage.”  Just like old times…
Gallitan river below house rock

04/06/2011 08:12

Laughing out loud at work. Envious. Excited to see you this weekend.

04/07/2011 14:56

I am also laughing out loud at work...I can hear dad's comments dripping with sarcasm :) LOVE IT!

04/08/2011 07:48

What wonderful photos! You have a wonderful storytelling voice Paul, it's been wonderful reading your posts and wishing I could be out huntin' right now, instead of workin'! Do it for all of us who can't! :)

04/10/2011 18:36


04/29/2011 14:55

I also laughed out loud! Although not at work, just on the couch..

03/30/2012 11:00

THX for info


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