Saturday, January 20, 2018

Stillwater Anger Fishing Report

A final word

Well, hard to believe, but fall is already here and we’re on the backside of another season.
Fishing conditions are holding up and there is still a lot of good fishing that should continue right on through the fall. Continue to enjoy!
We’ve had a few ups and downs the last week or so with changing weather and wind conditions, but generally, hopper fishing continues to be the name of the game. This is my personal favorite time of the year to be fishing in these parts. Indian summer days, beautiful fall colors, and no crowds make for a great fishing experience!
One of the things that I’m constantly aware of every day I’m out on the water is just how fortunate we are here in Montana. Our stream access is unparalleled. I’ve fished in a few different states and countries, and many places have gone so far to one extreme or the other on the issue of access and preservation that it’s either an over-regulated mess, or a constant “food fight” between competing interests.
My experience has been that hands down, Montana affords its citizens the best and highest quality access to her rivers and streams. Now this is no accident. There are many dedicated organizations, legislators and citizens who go “above and beyond” in order to help maintain not only the access we enjoy, but the quality of the water too.
Some have allowed this issue to become a huge political football. However, one of the things that has impressed me most about this process is how well divergent stakeholders have been able to come together and find common ground when it comes to preserving and protecting the resource.
Many of us make a living from the use of the resource…I do. Here in Montana, water and its access and quality drives the economic engine for many of its citizens. My experience has been that the vast majority of those who do derive a living from the water are not just consumers, but are good stewards of that resource as well. It therefore makes perfect sense that such folks are often at the forefront of preserving and protecting the resource.
So, I think it’s pretty significant that many have broken the code and realized that it’s in their best interest to at least take an interest in maintaining the vitality of the resource from which they either make a living or enjoy using to recreate.
Places like Montana have always placed a high value on the rugged individualism ethic which I believe in and cherish. This value must also continue to be instilled and reinforced in future generations. I think this is an extremely valuable part of the heritage of the American West and makes it the unique place on the planet that it is. Think about it. Few places have such a combination of a vast variety of geography and terrain coupled with an incomparable spirit that makes this such a great place to live and work.
We must strive to continue to keep it that way. All any of us can do is to do what we can in our little piece of the world. So whether one derives a living from the water or just enjoys its use for recreating, simply do what is right for you to maintain its quality and availability.
Finally, this is my last column for the season. I’ve really enjoyed writing something each week. I’ve appreciated the positive feedback I’ve received from several readers. Tight lines and I hope to see you again next year!
Chris Fleck owns and operates Stillwater Anglers Fly Shop and Outfitters in Columbus.