Short days often cold and damp are features that many find limiting and too uncomfortable for outdoor pursuits. These are among the influencing factors that bring change to the activity level on the waters of the Yellowstone region. Though far from deserted, premier lakes and rivers have largely lost their attraction to fair weather anglers at a time when fishing can be at its best.
Despite its unpredictable weather, October is the month chosen by the most serious of fly fishers to ply their skills on waters like the Henry’s Fork or Henry’s Lake. This is the quiet time on these otherwise busy trout fisheries and many who are found on the water are professional river guides who finally find fishing time for themselves after a long season of assisting paying clients. Others from the fly-fishing industry may travel many miles to reunite with trout and friends that are visited only at this time of year.
October is a time of particular importance to me as it marks the final month of life in the mountains where I spend half of each year. Whether fishing a Baetis hatch on the river or stripping submerged flies on still water, I savor the last days in a place where winter arrives early and departs late. Many of those days are shared with friends whom I care for most and respect far beyond common acquaintance.
By month’s end, it is not uncommon to find the landscape of the upper Henry’s Fork Drainage strongly influenced by conditions resembling winter as much as fall. By then, I will have relocated thirty-five miles downstream where the weather generally remains more seasonable well into November. But before my attention turns to the lower Fork and its resident brown trout, there will be golden days of fly-fishing prosperity on the upper river.
It is in this treasured time that I reflect on a balanced life that does not require leaving my homeland or the river I love regardless of the season.