For a fly fishermen living at high elevation in Yellowstone country, the arrival of May is like the release date from a prison sentence.
Whether through biological management measures or restrictive climatic influence, many attractive trout waters are not available for fishing until the flowers bloom and migrating birds have returned for nesting.
On the Idaho side of the Park where I live, all but the Harriman Ranch will be relieved of seasonal management restrictions by the end of May and the same applies to any water that remained iced over prior to that time.
Across the border in Montana, opening of the general fishing season occurs about two weeks earlier than Yellowstone, which for most park waters is Memorial Day Weekend.
With the road to another summer now clear I can turn full attention to the most serious business of life, which is fishing. With fly boxes fully restocked and all other tackle items ready to go, freedom is obscured only by the move back to Island Park from our winter home on the lower Henry’s Fork. Once completed, I am virtually surrounded by more temptation than even a disciplined man should be expected to withstand, and I have never been especially strong in that regard.
From our cabin, the Henry’s Fork is nearly within casting range and rivers like the Madison or Fire Hole are less than an hour away. Rested still waters like Henry’s, Sheridan, and Hebgen do not make my choice easy on where to spend any given day, and I have been known to hit as many as three of these irresistible fisheries between sunrise and dark.
I spend six months of each year living in this mountainous dream world, and May is just the beginning.