Dave Micus, Plum Island Sound

July 2nd, 2007

Still There
By Dave Micus, Missoula MT

Moving from Massachusetts to Montana, east to west, from the ocean to the river, has required some transitions. I've traded the 9 wt. for a 4 wt., and 3/0 streamers for size 18 dry flies that a 3/0 streamer could eat. For the most part, I've adjusted, but only after double hauling a 70 foot cast into the trees on the opposite bank of a 30 foot stream, and sentencing the first few trout I caught to death by hanging on the tree branch behind me when I set the hook a bit too hard. A habit I can't seem to break, though, is getting up at first light, when stripers feed best, only to find both trout and Montanans fast asleep. Still, Montana for me is, if not Mecca, at least Madina.

Flies

YooHoo

One thing that's new is the phenomenon known as run off. If I had given it any thought it wouldn't be too hard to imagine that the snow that is up in the mountains since October eventually melts, and that snow melt has to go somewhere so it makes its way down the mountain to the rivers, but I'd never really considered it before. Of course this brings trouting to a crashing halt as, even if the fish could feed in the raging currents, they would have a hard time seeing a fly in water that one local fly shop website, which gives water conditions and hatches, describes simply as 'yoohoo.' I'm told that it won't be until mid-June that the rivers are suitable for fishing.

And this is not necessarily a bad thing; at least that's what I keep telling myself. I have a lot of chores to do on a house I recently purchased, one of which is to make the yard maintenance free (no, not astro turf, but I considered it) so that once the bite is on I don't have to spend hours each Saturday and Sunday mowing and weed wacking. The goal is 15 minutes of lawn care a week, whether it needs it or not.

grass eaters

But, even with runoff, each Sunday morning at dawn, while trout and Montanans slumber, I brew a thermos of coffee and drive the 23 miles down Interstate 90 from Missoula to the Rock Creek Road exit. I grit my teeth for the bumpy road and bounce another 20 miles up river. The water is high and the current is fast and there is no one fishing. The fly rod, always strung up in the bus, usually stays put. But there is wild life, and native plants, and scenic gems that confirm the Sapphire Mountains are aptly named. The water rushing over the rocks makes a discordant sound, a mixture of high and deep tones, that reminds me of a symphony warming upa cacophony. I'll usually find a site close to the river with a fire ring, start a twig fire, drink coffee, and just be where I am.

Fire

When I lived on the north shore of Massachusetts my two sons worked as stern men on a lobster boat. The captain, Peter, when not out pulling pots, would drive down to the boat ramp, sit in his car, and stare at the water. I noticed his father, a retired lobster man, did the same.

"Just making sure the Atlantic Ocean is still there," is how Peter explained it.

I know exactly what he means. ~ Dave

About Dave:

Until recently Dave Micus lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He just moved to Missoula, Montana. He is an avid striped bass fly fisherman, writer and instructor. He wrote a fly fishing column for the Port City Planet newspaper of Newburyport, MA (home of Plum Island and Joppa Flats) and taught a fly fishing course at Boston University.


Previous Dave Micus Columns

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