Friday, December 17, 2010

Under the Weather

Lying on the river bank, curled up in the fetal position and crying for my Mother I told myself to buck up, but it was to no avail. Soon the next wave of nausea overtook me and I violently expelled the contents of my stomach - for the umpteenth time that day. Wrapped in every layer of down and fleece available, I tried to talk myself into the notion that I'd rather be sick on a river bank than at home in bed. That's a tough sell on a gray December day in Montana. Hugging the dying embers of a lackluster fire, I endured the misery as long as I could. My comrade fished on, but his catch rate was providing me with little motivation to brave the strong, cold current on shaky legs. Shouting feebly over the noise of the river I tried to make myself useful, calling out well intended instructions: "mend" and "set". Dehydrated and exhausted I finally got to my feet, knowing full well that I might need every minute of remaining daylight to make the 1.5 mile hike back to the truck.

It wasn't the most enjoyable day I've ever spent on the water. But what was enjoyable was the sherbet ice cream, and lemon/lime Gatorade that I scored at a Town Pump station on the ride home, remedies that my Mom used to give me when I was sick as a kid. Seemingly on the mend now that I was able to hold down some much needed sustenance, I was able slip into a more pleasant mind state for the remainder of the drive home - reminiscing about recent fishing trips.

I've already fished more this winter than I ever have during this time of year. The fishing has been good, not a July kind of good, but good. Fishing buddies who really enjoy winter fishing have prodded me out into the cold, icy conditions. Not surprisingly, we've had the rivers - and plenty of cooperative trout - all to ourselves for the past month. It's mostly been a tailwater affair this winter, but our recent warm-up (three consecutive days with highs hitting 40 or more) made many freestones fishable as well. In fact the Gallatin River behind my home had been 80-90% ice covered since the Thanksgiving cold snap, early this week it opened up completely! Productive flies have included black stonefly nymphs, golden stonefly nymphs, sowbugs, and of course worm and egg imitations.

Here are a few photos from outings over the past couple of weeks:


  1. Hope you're feeling better. My thermometer says 2 below right now, and I have plans to get out today! We'll see.

  2. You're a mad man, man. Good luck if you get out and take care of those digits, they'll come in handy this summer.

  3. Brown bottle flu? Glad to see someone is getting out.

  4. Ha, no sir. I was genuinely sick like I haven't been in years, fever and all. Unfortunately it struck not a half hour after arriving at the river, and subsided (mostly) abut the time the sun set...canceling out any chance of fishing. I managed about 10 fruitless drifts all day.

  5. Will,
    Your post reminds me of when I got food poisoning on the last night of a trip down to Bright Angel Creek at the beginning of March, and then I had to hike out of the Canyon the following day, and vomited several times on the way out--it was the hardest day of hiking I have ever experienced. I'm glad to hear you are on the mend!

  6. Hey Iain,
    I can't imagine having to hike out of the canyon after a bout of food poisoning! That must have been challenging. I've had a couple of tough hikes worst was my very first. I was on the last leg of a solo, overnight Monument Creek loop and ran out of water on the Tonto Trail, on a hot day - I was lucky to make it to Indian Gardens. I learned a lot from that experience!

  7. Those are some awesome rainbows man and the scenery, my gosh. I would have needed an oxygen tank to get out of there. Awesome