We’ll miss the biggest of the big bugs on this year, but that’s okay. We’re hoping we miss the big crowds as well. Salmonflies, Golden Stones and other big, nasty terrestrials are my favorite flies to use. I’ve been dreaming of a mini-vacation for a few weeks now.

When the mercury bubbles up past 85 degrees, the dog and I like to do as little as possible, unless it involves standing in a river waving a stick (The dog has a fantastic double haul; she’s hell on wheels with a 5 weight).  

I still get that wanderlust to find new waters. Big fish, small fish, whatever. I want to see what’s out there and cast a line into new waters before we lose it all. I grew up fishing beaver ponds and small streams in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. I’ve spent countless hours, days and months fishing big tailwaters for hog trout.

Now, I suppose I’ve hit that time in my life where just getting out and hitting the water is what matters. Watching a trout take a natural is just as entertaining anymore as watching a trout take my fly. I simply love to be out in our public lands, on our public water and enjoy what others have fought for.

This Fourth of July, remember a few small things:

  1.  Leave the fireworks at home. Only you can prevent forest fires.
  2.  The amount of time spent fishing is not deducted from your allotted time on earth.
  3.  Your ability to use that river or stream isunder constant threat. Be vigilant and be ready to fight.
  4.  Respect the private land and the landowner whom you are fishing next to. Don’t be the guy who cuts through the hay field out of convenience.
  5. Celebrate America’s unique vision and grand experiment of public ownership of wildlife. We have it better than anywhere else in the world. 

We gotta go. The Dog is already loaded up and honking the horn. She gets impatient if she knows there's a river at the end of the ride. Have a happy and sage Fourth of July! 

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Hellgate Hunters and Anglers
Our Mission is to conserve Montana's wildlife, wild places, and fair-chase hunting and fishing heritage.