S3:E50 One Fine Day on Nelson’s Spring Creek

fly fishing

Nelson’s Spring Creek flows from the hills of Paradise Valley, just south of Livingston, Montana, and into the Yellowstone River. It’s only miles away from DePuy and Armstrong spring creeks, two other amazing fisheries, but Nelson’s is something extra special. In this episode, Dave interviews Steve about one fine day on Nelson’s Spring Creek. Since Steve failed to invite Dave along, Dave was not there to verify the number or size of fish, but Steve says he kept a journal. It truly was One Fine Day.

Listen now to “One Fine Day on Nelson’s Spring Creek”

Great Stuff from Our Listeners. At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” It’s the last segment of each episode, where Steve reads one of the comments from our listeners or readers. We enjoy hearing from you, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experiences.

Have you ever had one fine day on a spring creek? We’d love to hear your stories. Please post your one fine day stories below!

More Episodes in Our “One Fine Day …” Series

    One Fine Day on the Madison at Bear Trap Canyon

    One Fine Day on the Bear Trap

    One Fine Day in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

    One Fine Day on the Madison at Baker’s Hole

    One Fine Fall Day in Yellowstone National Park

    One Fine Morning on the Little Jordan

    One Fine Evening on Wisel Creek

    One Fine Day on the Blue River

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The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists

We’ve published a book for regular-Joe-and-Jane fly fishers called The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists: Life is short. Catch more fish.

One person who purchased the book called it “cliffsnotes for fly fishers.”

To switch metaphors, perhaps it’s more like a handful of potato chips. It’s an entire book of lists. The goal is to help you find practical help quickly and in an easily digestible format!

Buy it today on Amazon for only $13.99!

S2:E22 One Fine Day on the Gardner River (Day 1)

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The Gardner River near the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park is a gorgeous fishery – with the added bonus of deer, bison, elk, and grizzly bears. In this episode, the first of a two-part series, we describe in detail one of the best days we’ve had fly fishing. We caught lots of fish (browns, mostly), got freaked out by a grizzly track along the trail, and was reminded of several key nymph fishing tactics. Click now to listen to this episode.

Listen to our episode “One Fine Day on the Gardner River (Part I)”

At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” We read a few of the comments from this blog or from our Facebook page. We enjoying hearing from our readers and listeners, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experience.

We’d love to hear your stories of a fine day this past year on the river. Please post your stories below.

Download a Podcast App on Your Smartphone

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast feed. You can do that on your smartphone or tablet by downloading a podcast app. The most common app used by 2 Guys feed subscribers is “Podcasts.”

Or you can simply subscribe to the RSS feed here:

Subscribe to 2 Guys and A River2 Guys and A River

View some of our most recent podcast episodes on iTunes or on Stitcher, if you have an Android.

Rate the 2 Guys Podcast

We’d love for you to rate our podcast on iTunes.

That helps fellow fly fishers decide whether the podcast is a good fit for them.

S2:E14 Lessons from the Yellowstone River Closure

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The Yellowstone River closure late last month confirmed once again how fragile our rivers are. In one week, about 4,000 fish (mostly whitefish) died due to a parasite. Some sections that were closed have been reopened, but jury is still out on the source of the parasite. In this episode, we tell our stories of the rivers we love and how the Yellowstone River closure makes us appreciate each moment on the river.

Listen to our episode “Lessons from the Yellowstone River Closure” now

At the end of each episode, we often include a feature called “Great Stuff from Our Listeners.” We read a few of the comments from this blog or from our Facebook page. We enjoying hearing from our readers and listeners, and appreciate your advice, wisdom, and fly fishing experience.

What rivers hold a special place for you? How do the lessons the Yellowstone River closure apply to the rivers you fish?

Download a Podcast App on Your Smartphone

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast feed. You can do that on your smartphone or tablet by downloading a podcast app. The most common app used by 2 Guys feed subscribers is “Podcasts.”

Or you can simply subscribe to the RSS feed here:

Subscribe to 2 Guys and A River2 Guys and A River

View some of our most recent podcast episodes on iTunes or on Stitcher, if you have an Android.

Rate the 2 Guys Podcast

We’d love for you to rate our podcast on iTunes.

That helps fellow fly fishers decide whether the podcast is a good fit for them.

Links Related to This Week’s Episode

    More Sections of the Yellowstone Reopened

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Press Release

The Fly Fisher’s Inconsolable Longing

The fly fishing community is a rather diverse group. Some fly fishers are plumbers, others are professors. Some are Supreme Court Justices (think Sandra Day O’Connor), others are leftover hippies. Some are college basketball coaches, others are musicians.

What you get from such a varied group of fly fishing enthusiasts is a lot of great stories.

Thankfully, a few fly fishers have written them down for the rest of us to enjoy.

Shortly after I moved to Helena, Montana in 1987, I was browsing in a bookstore in Last Chance Gulch (downtown Helena), and I purchased a little book written by a retired English professor at the University of Chicago. He had reached his seventies before his two children finally convinced him to write down some of the stories he had told them when they were young. The opening paragraph of his little book captivated me, and the story he told touched me deeply. The book begins:

    In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout waters in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ’s disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.

By now you probably recognize the book and its author: A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean.

The Angler’s Soul

In this book, fly fishing is simply a window into life. Two themes stand out to me:

The first comes from the final sentence of the book: “I am haunted by waters.”

These words emerge from a deep place in an angler’s soul while fly fishing a river in the cool of the day at twilight. It’s what the Oxford scholar, C. S. Lewis, calls “the inconsolable longing.” In his essay, “The Weight of Glory,” he talks about how certain experiences provide the “scent of a flower I have not found, the echo of a tune I have not heard, the news from a country I have never yet visited.”

I remember a poignant moment like that one April evening on the Yellowstone River in Montana’s Paradise Valley. I was fly fishing alone, fighting 16-inch rainbows in the setting sun. As I looked at the red
glow on the snow-covered Absaroka-Beartooths to the east, I thought of bow-hunting elk with my dad in those mountains before cancer took his life. I thought of my grandparents who were buried in a little settlers cemetery on a ridge beneath those peaks.

The rhythm of standing in the river at twilight with fly rod in hand stirred up in me that inconsolable longing. For a few moments, I, too, was haunted by waters.

Fly Fisher’s Inconsolable Longing

A second theme is the book’s big idea, which surfaces a few times right near the end of the story.

After Norman finds out about the death of his brother, Paul, he drives to his parents’ home to tell them the tragic news. Norman says about his mother: “She was never to ask me a question about the man she loved most and understood least. Perhaps she knew enough to know that for her it was enough to have loved him.”

Later, his father wants to know if Norman has told him everything about Paul’s death. Norman says, “Everything.” His father replies, “It’s not much, is it?”

To which Norman replies, “No, but you can love completely without complete understanding.”

His father says, “That I have known and preached.”

I think about that conversation when I reflect on the life of a buddy in Helena, Montana, with whom I often fly fished. He was one of the happiest guys I’ve ever met. Or so I thought.

A couple years ago, his wife notified me that my friend had taken his life. It turns out that he battled depression for years. I was his pastor and his friend, yet I did not realize the emotional anguish that cut deeply into his soul.

I thought I understood him, but I didn’t. As the elder Maclean said, “It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us.”

News of a Distant Country

Fly fishing has a unique way of forcing me to think deeply about life. I fly fish for joy of catching trout. But some evenings on the river stir something deep within me. I think about those whom I love yet fail to understand. And the poignant ache, or inconsolable longing, gives me the news of a country I have never visited.

In those moments I, too, am haunted by waters.

(photo credit: Jim Keena, Bozeman, Montana)

The Most Overlooked Fly Fishing Danger

The dangers fly fishers face are well publicized. Drowning. Lightning. Bear attacks. Rattlesnake bites. But little gets said about one of greatest dangers to your well-being when you plan your next fly fishing trip. It’s the most overlooked fly fishing danger.

It’s the same one facing hunters and airline passengers.

This danger comes from the vehicles you drive or pass on the way to your favorite river or hunting spot or airport. Statistically, the drive to the airport poses more danger to you than the airline flight you will board.

So it is with fly fishing:

1. Animal Encounters

It’s not enough to keep your eyes peeled for the rattlesnake on the trail to your favorite run. It’s the bison or the deer or cattle on the highway that can mess up you, your truck, and your trip. (Okay, the likelihood of hitting a bison is small unless you’re mindlessly driving in Yellowstone Park.)

One fall morning, my friend, Harry, and I left before dawn from Montana’s Gallatin Valley to drive to Henry’s Lake. What turned out to be a good trip (several nice trout on streamers) was almost sabotaged by a whitetail buck that jumped between Harry’s pick-up and boat trailer as we were driving down the highway.

Harry was alert for deer, and so he saw the buck getting ready to cross the road. He slowed down enough that there was no damage to the deer or trailer wiring.

A more serious situation occurred a couple summers ago involving Bobby Knight, the legendary college basketball coach.

A day before Dave, my podcast partner, and I fly fished the Wyoming Bighorn near Thermopolis, WY, Bobby Knight fished the same water and drove away in a Ford Expedition. It was dark, and he was driving in an open range area. Suddenly, cattle appeared on the road. He hit one of them and totaled his vehicle.

Fortunately, he escaped without injury. If you’ve ever driven remote highways in Montana or Wyoming at night, you know that this can happen to anyone.

2. Errant Drivers

When I was in high school, my brother, Dave, and I were fishing a little stream near Hallowell Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. The stream was below the mountain highway leading up to Bear Lake area. It took us about forty-five minutes to fish upstream to a natural stopping point.

On the way back down, there was a brand new car nose down in the creek—exactly where we had been standing about fifteen minutes earlier!

We learned that an elderly gentleman had fallen asleep because of some medication. He was okay, but we shuddered to think that what would have happened to us if we had been fishing there when the car took a nose dive over the bank.

I rarely fish streams or rivers right off the road. But when I do, I try not to linger too long at spots where errant drivers might land. I know how quickly these kind of accidents can happen—like the time I slid off an icy road and landed upside down in small stream near my home in Montana.

That’s a story for another time.

3. Drifting Vehicles

One day I was fly fishing the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley within sight of my parent’s home. I had walked down to a fishing access that was downriver from the Mill Creek Bridge. Suddenly, I saw a red car floating down the river! I didn’t see anyone in it, so I ran up to my folks house and called the county sheriff. They had already been notified. It turned out that a fly fisher had parked on an incline near the bridge and forgot to set his parking brake.

I now remember to set my parking brake whenever I’m parked on a slope of any kind.

Many are the ways to depart this world while doing what you love. Stay alert. And drive carefully!