2016 Year End Look Back - Bring on the snow old man winter!
Those looking for a white holiday season got their wish this year with Montana looking like the winter wonderland many of its residents cherish. Anyone within the outdoor industry is calmly hoping for continued snowfall and stable temperatures. Both Big Sky and Bridger Bowl are looking great for the end of December, and we are just getting going. After low water and increased pressure taxing our watersheds in '16, the more the merrier. For anglers who like to throw big flies, we are really hoping for high water and the fat/happy fish that big flows lead to. At DWFC, we have been finalizing new colorways for 2017 and are prepared to launch a variety of media and a number of new fly patterns within the next month. We are also excited about a number of new dealers across the country to help get these patterns into your hands. More to come on that as well!
Like the rest of America in 2016, Montana itself was faced with controversial instances especially when it came to water. With the Yellowstone River parasite outbreak focusing the microscope, and the exposure of it being present nearly statewide has a lot of sportsmen paying more attention to conservation. The mussels issue is a huge issue and could impact one of the states top resources in a big way. These watersheds are not invincible, and neither are the laws that protect them. Users of public lands and waters along with anyone who cares at all about their local fisheries need be on high alert right now. Even within the fly fishing industry, a typically conservation oriented community, there is division. The two major brands most folks think of when "fly fishing" comes up couldn't be farther apart on conservation and what they stand for. Be conscious of your choices!
Looking forward to next year, most folks would agree that a big snowpack would at least cool the fire and possibly allow conservation projects that are in the works right now to develop into place to help their cause. Everyone can help by keeping an eye out for their local fisheries, and when using them, treat them with respect. These days it would seem that there are plenty of anglers who are not scared to overuse fisheries, using aggressive tactics to get their net wet and feed their followers. For 2017, I am encouraging anglers to keep it simple out there. Instead of two nymphs, fish the single. You'll be shocked at how much more "clean" things go when dealing with fish. The fish will thank you! Instead of two huge hooks in your next jointed streamer, try one sized for trout and get rid of the other. Your fishery will thank you!
The brown trout above was my "fish of the year." It wasn't the largest by any means, but this freestone thriller was an absolute specimen and was one of the hardest fighters that I have encountered. It was on a wonderful, drizzly day with my better half and a couple infamous friends on one of the lesser fished and heavier irrigated rivers. Best days ever. Sadly, this river was less than 1% of these flows within a month of this day. As great as 2016 was, 2017 is poised to be even better. With more eyes focus on them, our fisheries can be healthier this day next year than they are today.
Thank you to everyone who supported Dirty Water Fly Company this year. Without the dealers, friends, and allies this company would not be possible. Cheers!
Happy New Year!
-Dirty Water Dan