Gray skies and blue wings have blessed Montana in recent days. It's a great time to be fishing, perhaps the best of times. Heavy morning frosts and snow-capped summits are a subtle reminder of the long winter soon to settle in. Down, fleece and wool have replaced sandals, shorts and - sadly - skirts. Hoppers are but a distant memory.
Solitude can once again be found on blue-ribbon water. Those anglers who remain are buoyed by baetis and brawny browns. The ranks are increasingly being thinned by the pursuit of bucks, bulls and birds. The taper is in full effect.