Micheal and Ann with a Clark Fork Hopper Trout!
It's Day 3 in Montana. The original plan was for me to head home on Saturday Night, but I wanted Ann to have the opportunity to spend a day on the water with Michael. I convinced her to come over from Pullman on Saturday night so that she could spend Sunday on the water. While I was returning River (Michael's Dog) to Michael, Ann was moving Holly into her new apartment at Washington State. Ann got to Missoula around 5:00 on Saturday, and we joined Michael and Emily for dinner at the Iron Horse in Missoula. After dinner, we took a tour of Emily's new apartment and then headed back to our campsite.
It was a great night for camping!
On a side note, my normal tent finally gave out on this trip, so I had to use my backup tent. The backup is very small, and not the greatest, but Ann was a good sport and was happy to be camping again. We had an amazing night, sitting by the fire and watching the stars before we turned in for the night in our little tent, just me, Ann and Mack!
The next morning was beautiful. I got an early morning fire going and we sat by it enjoying our coffee. I broke down camp, and packed the cars because we would be leaving right after our float. Michael showed up around 8:00am up with the boat and we headed to the river.
Ann & Mack in our little tent!
Today's float would be the same as yesterday, Clinton to Turah on the Clark Fork. This is a special section for Ann, because she did this float with her Dad so many times when she was growing up. Ann grew up on her Dad's fly fishing guest ranch near Turah, so she knows this water very well.
The set up for the day was for Ann to ride up front and fish, while I rode in the back and wrangled the dogs and Micheal rowed the raft. I had fished enough, and just wanted to see Michael take care of his mom on this float.
It was a beautiful mild summer morning when we got on the river around 10:00am. Michael rigged Ann up with a Hopper/Dropper rig and we were off. Ann's casting form was as beautiful as I remembered. She has a beautiful cast and she can mend her line as good as any guide. It did not take long for her to catch her first fish, a little rainbow that grabbed the hopper!
We were fishing behind four guided drift boats, so the water had been picked through pretty well, but Michael continued to put his mom on fish after fish. None of them were huge, but they were all beautiful.
Michael giving his Mom some instructions
It was very special seeing Michael "guiding" his mom down the river. I clearly remember Ann's dad doing the exact same thing. It was like I went back in time 25 years...the river was the same, Ann was just as beautiful sitting up front casting a fly rod, but instead of Greg, it was our son rowing the boat and telling Ann where to place her fly. It was beyond special how this life comes full circle.
We had an absolutely amazing day, filled with lots of fish, good food and tears at the end. It was hard for Ann to leave this special time and place. We said our goodbyes to Michael and River, loaded up the cars and headed back to Camas with tears of joy streaming down Ann's smiling face.
Montana is a special place, and this was a special day.
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