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What’s the Big Deal with Steelhead Fishing in Montana?

As I have mentioned before, my husband is an ex-fly fishing guide. So, whenever I want any information on this subject, I go straight to him. It also helps that he seems to have an unhealthy obsession with fly fishing. We often joke about this, as certain times of the year I find myself a fishing widow. Of course these times coincide with the numerous fly hatches.

I understand some of my husband’s obsessive love for fly fishing, when it comes to summer fishing. Standing in a cool Montana stream when the sun is beating down on you while you cast and mend your line, patiently watching the water for that fish to slowly rise to the top and take a nibble of your bug. On a good day, in a rarely fished stream, you can catch some of Montana’s finest native fish just about as fast as you can reel them in. They usually aren’t monsters at an average of 6 to 16 inches.

What I don’t understand, (which probably explains why my husband is obsessed with fishing and I am not) is why someone would stand in a freezing cold river to try to catch a fish. Steelhead fishermen will wade in frigid waters through snow, sleet and rain and catch a whopping three fish in a day. Three fish in a day is not too bad for steelhead fishing. The only reason why this could possibly be worth it is because steelhead can be enormous at an average of 23 to 28 inches long.

There is just something about catching “the big one” that fishermen can’t resist. Isn’t that why every time a fisherman tells a fishing story his catch (that almost always got away) seems to get bigger with each retelling?

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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