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Maybe I'll fish tomorrow

Mother Nature clearly has it out for me
Photo: Chad Shmukler

What the …

Is that … ?

Oh. The alarm.

I reach blindly for the phone on the nightstand. I don’t usually set an alarm, but today is different. As consciousness slowly overcomes dreamland, I have a vague memory as to why.

The Firehole. Fishing. One the last shots at it for the year.

Indifly wants you to cough up 66 cents a day to help fish and indigenous communities

Funds will go to help indigenous communities build sustainable livelihoods through sportfishing ecotourism
Photo: Josh Hutchins

And why not? Indifly is a one-of-a-kind, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting fisheries by empowering indigenous communities to generate sustainable livelihoods through ecotourism.

Unpacking is where it's at

Some folks love the anticipation of packing for a fishing trip, I like unpacking better
Photo: Mike Sepelak

It’s a common sentiment, written about with great regularity, that the packing for a trip is often as exciting as the trip itself. The suspense, the planning, the first steps into what one eagerly anticipates being a glorious adventure. The rod selection, the preparation of flies, the compilation of outerwear, footwear, underwear, and where the hell’s that bug spray. It’s heady stuff, anticipating the trip as one counts down the days to departure, but I have a confession to make. I like the unpacking better.

Giving away fly rods

Parting with rods can be like parting with memories
Photo: Toby Rose Photography

My cup runneth over.

Or, rather, my fly-rod collection is embarrassingly big. I’m not braggadocious. There’s actually a bit of guilt associated with this claim. No one angler ought to have to spend 20 minutes debating which rod or rods to pack for a single outing to the river.

Dear Chad

You should have been here last week
Photo: Idaho Fish and Game / cc2.0

Oh, man. You should have been here this last week. By the time you’re reading this, it’ll be over.

That first blast of real winter is on its way in a day or two. Not the snow. The snow isn’t what kills it. It’s that blast of Arctic air that crystallizes what little water is in the air around here and just puts everything in a funk.

The day after the deep freeze is the worst. Skim ice on the river. Layers of fleece under waders. Raw hands. Frozen beards. And fish that just don’t give a damn.

But did I tell you how good this last week was? Like, how it was the best week of the year? Yeah, we got some rain and even some snow, but it didn’t get too cold. Yeah, it cooled off quite a bit. The baetis started hatching in earnest. The cottonwoods are finally changing to match the aspens, and the river, right after lunch, boiled with risers. Big ones, too.

Best. Week. Ever.