Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I thought it was April Showers Bring May Flowers!

Today was another drizzle-fest here in SW Montana. I won't complain about the moisture as the ground, lakes, and rivers need all they can get. I will complain about the cool wet spring that just won't quit. That said, it's supposed to get up well into the 80's this weekend...and then cool back down again.
So, the short term forecast is that the runoff should get going pretty big time by next week. I can't believe I'm saying that in Mid-May. Typically, everything is blown out right now. So much for typical.
I've had a busy spring, it seems like things just get busier every year and that I hardly have time to do much pontificating and relaxing anymore. I've had a few things on my mind though that I've been dwelling on lately.

I guess I'm old enough now to remember "good old days." Things like the Missouri in the mid-late 90's (no people and oodles of fish that loved to eat pink sowbugs), blanket Mother's Day Caddis with rising fish to boot on the lower Madison, and whacking lots of BIG fish on the Beaverhead on opening day in the late mid-late 90's as well. I think that the point of the good old days is to appreciate them at the time, rather than look back on it years later thinking that that's how it is always going to be. With that in mind, one of my new goals in the life astream is to try to appreciate each day on the water so that I don;t have to look back for the glory!

I'm tired of the Bro-Bra fly-fishing attitude thing. Whatever happened to the quite sport? I think that that's still the mainstream philosophy, but this rad-dude attitude seems to be prevalent everywhere you look. From the Trout Bum Diaries to Kaenon ads, there is a message that goes something like " fuck up some fish and you'll be cool too" Not that I don't have my moments of dudeism..I have plenty. The sport and society would all benefit though by reading The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane every few years.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is still on my not favorite list. If you don't know, here's a quick rundown of my bad experiences over the years. You can get details by asking me if you want more. A) 2000 - I had to pay in excess of $5000 to sell fishing licenses. B) FWP Employee told one of competitors about some company secrets, thus ruining any competitive advantage and my relationship with that competitor. C) Established a ludicrous use management protocal on the Beaverhead in Big Hole that seems to have derived from a Butte 3rd grade class getting wild with a pin the tail on the donkey game. D) Decided non-resident can't fish from a boat on certain days on the previous rivers, even though they pay more for a license to fish than residents. E) If they do patrol for fishing violations I don't see them (out of 300 + days on the water the last 2 years I have not seen a warden check an angler). F) Management of rivers is largley based on perception and not facts. G) There seems to be an overall misunderstanding of trout biology and evolution...I think that they use a resource guide from Alabama's trout management guide. H)The whole shooting incident with my employees and outfitters form Ennis - apparently if you poach, shoot at deer with birdshot in the middle of the river, don't wear orange, and get caught...you only get a $50 fine I) They take water temperatures in the hottest part of the streambed...the part where fish don't live...3 inch puddles with no current or shade J) Apparenlty the lower Madison is too far a drive for an easy bust of violators K) $100 access fees imposed in 2007 have yielded absolutley nothing...we pay more (which we should) but get nothing out of it L)New for 2008 is senior citizens get free licenses, they've always been glad to pay the $8 before and contribute to the "management" of the resource K) New for 2008 is the Madison River Use Fee...apparently BLM has jurisdiction over our use on rivers which is supposedly public domain ) once below the high-water mark...so much for that whole stream access law, plus the revenue generated (70-90 grand) is going to be used to fund 2 new positions to administer the program (what great minds we have in charge of this process!) Anyway, I'm sure there's more to come about FWP. My negative experiences aside, the employees of the agency are good, hard-working people. The policies and rules that come out just baffle me sometimes because I know these folks have better ideas than what we see.

So, fishing is going to get busy for me the next week. Some buddies and I are either hitting the Beaverhead or the Madison this weekend for opening day. I'm on the lower Mad the next couple of days and Monday and then who knows where next week!

1 comment:

theedgeofcollegesports said...

I live in Florida and considering a job as a newspaper writer in Montana. Looks as if the fishing there compares to here. Do you want any photos from South Florida?

We're going Dolphin (Mahi Mahi) fishing on Saturday...

By the way the name of the town where I'm applying is Whitefish, Montana.

Is the fishing decent there?

Thanks,

Dave