After a few days on The Big Hole, we ventured over to Craig to see what the Missouri had to offer. As we pulled off the interstate The Professor nodded toward an energy windmill that was earning its keep, spinning ferociously round and round.
“Well, that’s not good,” he quipped.
I maintained my naively positive attitude and delved straight into the flyshop firedrill, preparing for a good long day on the water. Shuttle arranged and cooler stocked, we were barreling down the road – halfway to the put-in – when I remembered the rods. Damn.We forgot the freaking rods.
The sing-songy voice in my head took its first hit as we went back for the rods.
Once again on course, we pulled up to the Wolf Creek Bridge and my Pollyanna point of view took another nosedive. The sky was gray, the wind was howling, it was cold. I watched the wind have its way with the river, causing white-capped waves that looked like roughly whipped peaks of buttercream frosting on a cake.
“Good heavens,” I uttered meekly. “It looks like the ocean.” A small part of me wanted to flash my Girl Card and retreat back to the house to hunker down with a fire, some hot chocolate and a cheesy movie. Clearly others had flashed the same credentials because the parking lot was deserted and no one was on the water.
No, no, no. I pushed that notion from my mind and decided I was going to buck up, bundle up and conquer the day, monstrous winds and all. Despite a bleak outlook I sensed the river had an adventure in store for us.
What can I say? Sometimes it pays to harbor idealistic fantasies. We started the day with some nice browns on streamers. Pretty consistent action, to be honest.
All that casting and catching and reaching for the net warmed me up in no time, and I forgot about the blustery conditions. But as often happens, just as I was starting to get into a groove, the wheels came off. The wind shifted directions, kicked up several notches, and basically molested my cast. The more frustrated I got, the more I buggered it up and couldn’t get my bugger in the right spot. The Professor was coaching me and even though I understood what he was telling me conceptually, my cast was in a downward spiral and I was asking for the oars.
He wouldn’t let me bow out of the bow, but he did abandon some fishy-looking water in favor of the opposite bank. Smart guy. Now the wind was coming over my right shoulder and suddenly I was casting like a pro! Once we moved river left my second cast delivered this jewel:
At that point I did take the rower’s seat but struggled to hold the bank in the wind. Despite my tenuous control of the boat, The Professor managed to hook up with a slab of a rainbow:
The day just improved from here. We fished streamers until about four in the afternoon, when the fish began to rise to the occasion and we shifted to dry flies. The wind eased up, the beer started to flow and each fish felt like gravy on top of an already spectacular day. As the old Trout Shop saying goes…Adventure, Danger, Romance…and a Few Large Fish.
It was a quixotic trip on The Missouri to be sure.