Three Trout: First Day in Montana
Three Trout: My First Day in Montana
Steaks are grilling on the campfire, the Montana night sky is white with stars and we’ve got a pipe and a bottle of wine. I’m typing on my laptop and trying to keep smoke from my eyes.
Yesterday we drove from Colorado through Wyoming and pulled into a campsite outside Livingston at two am. I lay out my sleeping bag on pine duff while Kessler and George drank Olympia beers.
In downtown Livingston there’s a great little coffee shop called Coffee Crossing, near the Murray Hotel. We drank black coffee and ate bagels. The girl behind the counter was from Queens.
A hot July morning, wind gusting down the wide valley. The Yellowstone River was full of snowmelt, clear and fast.
On the second cast I caught a Rainbow trout. It took a bead-head nymph at the tail of a riffle, jumped once and gasped for air when I lifted it from the water.
An hour later I clambered onto a fallen tree and dropped a streamer straight down into the submerged root system. A fish struck immediately, a Brown trout this time, 10 inches long. This time I held it from the river long enough to take a photo.
There were birds everywhere – duck families and flocks of geese, robins and doves. People came floating past from time to time too, in canoes and rafts and drift-boats. Most of them waved.
We broke for lunch at the Coffee Crossing. I wrote a column for BraveNewTraveler.com and the girl from Queens gave me a free refill while Kessler got drunk on Moose Drool beer at the Murray Hotel.
In late afternoon light we drove south through the valley towards Yellowstone to Tom Miner creek.
“Park at the bridge and fish down to the beaver ponds,” said Aaron at the Be-Bar Ranch.
So we did.
The creek was only just big enough to hold trout, shallow, fast and dark. I fished an Elk Hair Caddis and little trout rose up for it on nearly every cast. They were cutthroats, wild and hard striking, and we jumped a buck deer by the beaver ponds downstream.
Almost midnight now on this first day in Montana. The steaks are finished. Trout will still be there tomorrow, Rainbows and Cutthroats and Browns.
Off to Yellowstone....