Winds of Change

After a brutal winter of a record breaking 31 consecutive days of below freezing temperatures and 3 feet of snow that fell on our area, we looked forward with anticipation to a new season of fishing.  With spring runoff muddying the Mighty Mo, we planned to take a scenic drive along the Rocky Mountain Front to where a 1300-acre reservoir teemed with giant rainbow trout. We followed the meandering dirt road around the reservoir to a picturesque cove with the Rocky Mountain Front in full view in front of us. The winds of change, the Chinook winds, finally melted the ice near the shore of the reservoir. The mild morning wind cascaded down from the craggy snow-capped Rocky Mountain Front carried the flute-like warbled song of our state bird. The herald song of the Western Meadowlarks perched on barb-wire fence posts brought music to our ears. Spring was finally here.  We met our top guide, Joel, and we eagerly unloaded our fishing gear.  It didn’t take long to get our fly rods set up, and as we walked toward the “honey hole” with our gear, what seemed like hundreds of rainbow trout darted around us less than 10 feet in front of us in the shallow crystal clear water. Immediately, massive giant rainbow trout rose and slammed our flies. One after the other we were hauling in giant rainbow trout to the shore to admire the beautiful spots, colors, and size, and to take a few photos before releasing them back to the water. Cast after cast we hauled in more and more giant trout.  As the day went on, the winds gusted and howled as it swept down from the Rocky Mountain Front. We donned more layers of clothing: waders, down jackets, buffs, and wind-resistant shells. Casting into the 30-40 mph gusty wind presented a challenge, but we refused to give in to the winds of change. The fish were begging to be caught. With the “ice off,” we marveled at the starving fish slamming whatever we threw at them. Our indicators practically lobbed them on their heads with each cast, but the giant rainbows bit, hook, line, and sinker. Cast after cast we could see our rods bend and our lines go taut with flopping fighting rainbows dipping in and out of the water. After netting nearly 70+ fish between the 3 of us, it was time to call it a day. We couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the changing of seasons with the power of the wind.  The winds of change only make us look forward with anticipation bending our rods and netting giant rainbows in Montana’s blue-ribbon streams, lakes, and reservoirs.