March is still winter in Montana but it is close enough to spring that sun craved Montanans break out into shorts when temps hit 40 degrees. This intense craving for “fishing weather” sometimes replaces the rational with the irrational. Such was the case for Dan Rick, Tom Reed and myself on a recent excursion to DePuy Spring Creek near Livingston 2 weeks ago. With mild days becoming more and more common and fishing reports from friends coming in with glowing results on the local spring creeks, the Gallatin and Lower Mad it was time to get out. The fly fishing in Montana in March can often be rewarding. With busy schedules to juggle we picked a day that would work for everyone and started daydreaming with high expectations. When the planned day finally arrived the mild weather quickly vanished and was replaced with freezing temperatures. None of us could stand the thought of not hitting the water on our highly anticipated outing so we pushed forward with lingering high hopes that the wind would cooperate and the fishing would still be productive.
No sooner did we pull up to the old Plantation house to check in did the wind begin blowing small livestock through the air approaching gusts near 50 mph. We quickly headed to Eva’s hut to start a fire in the old wood stove and sip on some coffee hoping the wind would die down. After consuming some sandwiches and exhausting our best stories our stalling tactics did not appear to have any influence on the cold North gale. My pickup was slowly becoming buried in a newly formed snow drift. Despite the inclement weather we decided that we would at least try wetting a line so we commenced to rig up in the warming hut. When we exited the shelter we each looked like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man in our multiple layers of warm clothing.
Despite the harsh wind we set up on a few good winter runs and managed to pull out a few trout. Dan Rick was king of the day hooking up on three impressive trout before we finally threw in the towel an hour later (which never hit the water and is probably still descending from its wind fueled flight into the stratosphere). It is days like these when I remind myself that fishing is a lot more than catching and despite the harsh conditions we all had a grand time. Some of my most memorable fishing trips over the years seam to have occurred in march trying to push our luck and will spring upon us with the results often ending in blizzard like conditions. Of course the next day one of my good friends hustled over to tell me how great the fishing was on the Yellowstone the day before (before the front arrived)…oh well – should have been there yesterday!