Fishing has been, well, meh. The record low, clear water and high temps, has made fishing limited on moving water around here. The water on the South Fork of the Flathead below Hungry Horse Reservoir is okay because the reservoir is deep with a bottom-release dam. Because the water is a bit colder, it’s getting more pressure. The last two times we’ve gone there, we’ve chosen a good run. Both times, we caught some juvenile cutthroat, but it’s not really worth the effort to get in and out, at least not for me. The first time getting down to the run was on a steep, eroded trail with no footholds. Once at the river, the sun bakedon the scree slope behind us as we fished four hours in 95-100 degree air temps. We didn’t have enough drinking water, which worsened the matter and made the climb out on a loose, 45-degree-angle scree slopetreacherous for me. Once out, the half-mile walk back to the car felt like four. The second time we found a worse way in, but a better way out. We’ll use that better way for ingress and egress in the future. In the past I’ve not minded scree-slope challenges, but I feel less adventurous. Perhaps it’s just a part of getting older and feeling more vulnerable.
Three weeks ago, I caught my first largemouth bass on the fly. I learned that young bass are aggressive and dumb. I figure until we get a raft, I’m not likely to catch anything bigger from shore. Most of the lakes have private property surrounding them, so access to the water is limited. Once on the water, however, you can go anywhere. As such, a boat is the way to go. My hubby still won’t pull the trigger on getting a Watermaster, largely because we don’t have a good way to store it between uses without deflating at least half of it. The tubes on the Watermaster are compartmentalized so that you can deflate the front or back half independently. The feature is not only for portability, but also for safety. If by some remote chance a tube is punctured by a spike sticking out of the water, you can stay afloat and get back to shore. But the tubes are incredibly beefy, so that’s not likely to be an issue.
As previously mentioned, we’ve been cleaning up acres of neglected forest, hauling out piles of deadfall up and downhill. It’s taking a lot of our free time, but the forest is looking better and we’ve reduced fuels. What I am finding fun is re-learning how to split wood. Accuracy is important, like casting. Obviously, the splitting maul is a lot heavier than a fly rod and is not flexible. However, like casting, improper technique can result in injury and is inefficient. A hit in the wrong place on the round wastes a lot of energy, as does knocking the round off the splitting stump. But it’s fun when you smack the round just right and the wood splits. Then you’ll hear me exclaim, ”boom!” It’s similar to the feeling of nailing an accuracy cast, landing the fly exactly where you want, and the fish taking it. Boom!