Go Higher

“Uh… Dada? The fishing river is too fast!”

It’s been said (way too often in my opinion) that God doesn’t close a door without also opening a window. I’m not much for religious platitudes as a general rule, but like most clichés, this one is overused largely on the strength of its applicability.  It’s repeated again, and again, and again because it so often fits.

Anglers in the Northern Rockies spend much of the late spring with a wary eye on one door in particular. As we reclaim evenings on the water from winter’s long darkness, and begin to enjoy a diversity of robust hatches, we remain hyper aware that we’re fishing on borrowed time. Will we be blown-out tomorrow? Next week? Can we make it to June? The timing is subject to speculation, but the underlying fact is bedrock truth… runoff is coming and with it a non-negotiable hiatus from many of our favorite fisheries.

Arriving as it typically does alongside beautiful weather, Mother Nature’s closure of local freestones can come as a real blow. But a surplus of water can’t  transform flatland runs into unfishable torrents of chocolate milk without first abandoning its post elsewhere. The stuff currently flooding the go-to fishing hole was until very recently white, solid, and manning the barricade between you and the high country. Depending on your personal theology that’s either a strategic blunder on the part of a vengeful deity or a big-time asset in the blessings column. My money’s on the latter. How else do you explain clean mountain sunlight, glacier chilled breezes and boisterous swarms of ravenous trout becoming available just when they’re needed most? Regardless of your philosophical take, it represents real opportunity. The snowline is climbing and it’s time to head for the hills.

Backcountry fishing? Yeah, I’ll happily scramble through that window every time.

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