Tilting At Windmills

energy windmill 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.


11 Responses to “Tilting At Windmills”
  1. Alabama flygirl says:

    We had a day a few weeks ago on the Caney where we had the same “whipped peaks of buttercream frosting on a cake” kinda day. I was just glad that we were in a drift boat and not in a canoe like so many other people that were on the river that day. I think if we were in a canoe, I would have flashed the girl card. The wind was howling for a while. Thank goodness for the extended shore lunch…wind kinda chilled after the lunch.
    On another note, tell me about your Cloudveil gloves. You like????

  2. Jim@FFO says:

    Glad you saddled up and got out there. Nothing like fishing in life threatening conditions to remind you why you do it in the first place: The Rush. We routinely fish the Ohio in weather some people would consider to be freakin’ insane. Wind, snowing sideways, 20 (or less) degree temps. We do it because that’s when they’re bitin’ Big, pissed off hybrids that are itchin’ to break your gear. We routinely do a Black Friday outing every year. It’s either below freezing and nice or below freezing and craptastic. Either way, you enjoy the trip. More so, when the bank fire heating your coffee doesn’t get blown out.
    On a side note, I tried steelheading in those conditions, up north, a couple years ago. It doesn’t work, as the fishies aren’t the aggressive eating machines you get down south and they’re so blinded by the muddy water, they start bumping into your leg. Comic and sad.

  3. Jim — thanks for the pat on the back. at the end of the day a warm bowl of pasta and bottle of red wine never tasted so good. we felt like we earned it.

    ALFLygirl — I LOVE those cloudveil gloves. it should be noted I am somewhat of a Cloudveil Bunny anyhow so I am biased. but these gloves rock. unlike others, the edge on the open trigger fingers isn’t too tight or too loose. they have some overall stretch, but also substance. I noted on this very trip that they have the windstopper material AND the fleece patches in just the right places for wiping a cold runny nose. sounds trivial but it’s not after 6 days of being in raw cold weather

  4. Oatka says:

    When is the wedding?

  5. Harry says:

    Another great day on the river beats a day doing almost anthing else.

  6. Rick a.k.a. "Splash" says:

    Love me a Quijote reference. Sooooo, was the fish your Dulcinea? Rocinante would be great name for a skiff.

  7. Ok …now we’re getting somewhere. Seems my brotherhood (sisters too) have awaken and read between the lines.

    Let’s see if my scorecard is accurate…
    1st…she dispears for months on end, flashes back to check to see if she has our attention…flashes a couple of big smiles (nice touch by the way) and off she goes again, not a word on what’s REALLy going on in that tent.
    2nd….in, out,in again…smiles…teases out the door with a swish of a pony tail….3 post in 90+ days.
    Heartbreak, what has happened,where is our girl (FFC) boat captsized, wadsers leak and filled up with water so she can not climb out of the Missouri? No, No No.check this out.
    Between the lines in her last 3 or 4 post….

    STREAMERS AND DREAMERS…she talks about a “mad love affair” heavy shoulders” and “dreams really do come true”.
    THIS IS SO BENETH ME…comments on Tradings Hugs.

    And then comes MR. BIG….nothing, silence, just a slight comment.

    TITLING AT WINDMILLS…brings us Adventure, Danger, and Romance….

    Ladies and Gentlemen now look at the pictures from all these post…da smile,da smile….have you ever seen a smile that gave the TRUTH away.

    Lucky dog and I’m not talking about no stinking Labrador.

  8. Monty — I think you and Oatka have seen The Da Vinci Code one too many times!

    keep your magnifying glasses handy. I’ve more tales to tell….

  9. david says:

    wow theres some decent sized fish youguys have caught there – well done

  10. Chris Skiff says:

    I love spending time on the water.
    Nice fish!

  11. John Gould says:

    Great Blog Sister!!! That was a wonderful read! Do you get to fish in Montana often?

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