Spring for Fly Fishing Guides

It’s funny that I’m writing about spring fishing right now as snow is falling here in Clark. With about 5 feet on the ground, and no end in sight, I’m starting to wonder about the remaining existence of any of the fences on the ranch. It’s starting to seem like spring might never actually happen. However, as unlikely as it seems right now, it is EVENTUALLY going to happen… I mean it has to by at least July, right? Ok now I’m just being pessimistic. Really, we should be thankful for the abundance (what some may call OVER abundance) of snow we have received this winter.

Snow is one of those weird things that as an angler you wish to have, and simultaneously not have. As in, I want us to have 400 inches of it sitting in the mountains, ready to feed our rivers all summer; I just don’t want it to fall on any of the days I want to go fishing, which just happens to be every day. That’s not too much to ask for right? Since I have yet to hear about 400 inches falling overnight in any one place, and since I don’t know about any great trout rivers that exist without winter snowfall, I guess I’ll just put up with shoveling my deck every morning for now. Sigh.

When all this snow finally starts melting, it creates a phenomenon that anybody who lives in the west knows as run off, and any fishing guide who lives in the west knows as fly tying and beer drinking season. Ok, really, it’s just beer drinking season, but I felt that I should include the first part because the two seem correlated, at least inversely. The more and more empty my fridge gets, the more and more full my fly boxes get. It’s the craziest thing, but other guides that I’ve asked about it have confirmed that they have experienced the same strange relationship between the two. So, I think it’s at least worth acknowledging.

Anyways, while I’m busy squinting at practically microscopic hooks, the nearly 400 inches of snow that we DIDN’T get all at once is going to melt at a much faster rate than it fell. This will effectively turn our crystal clear, mountain trout stream into a raging torrent of chocolate milk for the next, oh, let’s say 300 flies or so. During that time, our beautiful winter wonderland will go through a not so beautiful transition into what you know of it in the early summer, green pastures and wildflowers. Like if a butterfly somehow became a caterpillar then morphed back into a butterfly–ok bad analogy. After the dust has settled and we’re back into butterfly mode then I should have fly boxes bursting at the seams alongside a mild case of carpal tunnel. If everything goes as planned, the only contents left in my fridge by then will be condiments, and the trout in the again clear mountain stream will be biting.

Until then, bring on the melt.