from Deanna Travis

FlyAnglers Online

Publisher & Owner



May 21, 2012

I've always loved hardware stores, something about being dragged along with my dad when I was a kid when he needed to pick up something; absolutely fascinating places in the 'old days,' Disney-level entertainment today.

So there I was waiting for my husband Trav to pick up whatever he needed and I'm just looking around to see what's new at the Lowe's store in Bozeman Montana.  And pow – there it is!
The perfect answer to Montana's cold. Especially if one is a fly fisher who thinks fishing in the winter is even a possibility. That probably isn't going to be even a possibility for me personally since I've given up on winter in Montana and instead opt out of it entirely by living for six months of the year in sunny Arizona. (and yes it really is)

There was the day however, and a lot of them, when I and my late husband JC thought plodding, running, jumping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing were all wonderful things to do in the Montana winter. Of course, we were a lot younger then. We hunted for nearly everything that was legal to shoot, and fished everything that wasn't frozen solid. Oops, sorry I forgot about ice fishing, and yes we did that too. All without the benefit of the marvelous discovery I saw at Lowes.

I've probably kept you in suspense too long already, so here it is: a heated, battery operated polyester/spandex jacket! Yes, I know there have been heated booties for ice fishing (or whatever you wished) but not a jacket. They had one showing in a box and it was very nice; black and lined, it reminded me of a black Chota jacket I have – or the older Simms one that I've had for a number of years, but that one isn't lined.

This one is made by Kobalt which is the 'house name' for Lowes products. It comes in four sizes including XX-Large, offers 3 temperature settings and EZ on-off and a quick warm up feature. Did I mention water resistant, and with four pockets? It also comes with its own Lithium-ion battery and charger included in its price. This sure looks like a winner to me. The price is also very fair at $69.98.

I think if I was manufacturing fishing clothing I would sure be interested in taking a look at this one. I could make a lot of fly fishers very happy – and warm! I don't personally know from experience how long it will keep you warm, but if I was still living here during cold weather I would surely find out.

Just a heads up and something else to watch for; a new series of articles by Tom Travis. Tom lives here in Livingston in the summer and, as some of you know, is a very well-known and respected guide/outfitter. He guides on the Yellowstone and other major waters as well as the local Spring Creeks and Yellowstone Park waters. He 'winters' in Sebastian, Florida, and does some serious writing for other magazines over the winter as well as working on something entirely new for us – a series of Chronicles, including Spring Creek, Fresh Water and Saltwater  too. He showed up here last night with several very large fly boxes full of flies he has been working on for these series; really neat stuff, including body-less streamers and soft-tube flies for salt and fresh water.

As long as I'm giving Tom a plug here, I will mention I have recently been re-reading the book Fly fishing the YELLOWSTONE River  An Anglers' Guide which he wrote in conjunction with Rod Walinchus. (Rod also lives and guides these days in Florida.) Published back in 1995 by Pruett Publishing, the book never received the kind of attention it deserved in my opinion because the following two years after publication were the big floods on the Yellowstone and the 'dog,' as it is sometimes called here, wasn't much in anyone's mind as a premier place to fish.

The book is still around, look for it, ISNB 0-87108-861-4. It truly is a terrific guide and includes the Yellowstone in the park and all the sections of the river to Billings. There are tons of detailed drawings of the flies you need along with instruction on how and where to fish them. Do not forget the 'why' is in there too.

If you want a fast primer on the dog, start at page 301 which begins a chapter called "The Best of the River"

            "We are often asked where and when we fish over the course of the season. What follows is a month-by-month account of where we would fish if we had our druthers for an average year. Obviously, there are many variables, such as water flows, weather patterns, and so on, that are different from year to year and will affect our choices. We will offer our opinions of the best places to fish over the course of what could be called an average year. Some months offer a wide range of opportunities, so we will offer only our mutually agreed upon first two choices. Yes, we have had some minor discussions, and we each have reluctantly compromised on occasion in an attempt to offer you accurate selections….."

Thus begins twelve monthly selections for your fishing pleasure. Delightful stuff!

At this point it should be spring in most places, and you, providing you aren't recovering from some physical problem, should have your fly boxes stuffed to the breaking point. The reels should be full of cleaned lines, and a nice selection of leaders ready to tie on at the first notice of an interested nose poking up from your favorite stream.

Get out there and fish!  ~ LadyFisher

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