Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
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The Montana Chronicles

Three weeks in Montana, in the middle of our winter, during the closed season.

The idea was enticing.

Marek Rosin, a whitewater rafting guide and experienced fly fisher from Red Lodge, had been insisting we come over. Marek had stayed with us several times and he had extended his hospitality to us if we wished to take it up.

I couldn’t help myself, I phoned Michael at Impex Travel just to get a quote so I could continue to dream, unable to afford the airfare. Michael came back that day, only a couple of hours later.

United Airlines had a deal offering that very day. All the airlines do this, have few seats at a remarkable discount as a teaser to get people to book. I jumped at it. Total impulsiveness but at this great price, why wouldn’t I?

This was the same day the English foiled a plot to use explosives to bring down United Airlines flights across the Atlantic. Tullamarine was chaotic, every bag had to be searched, every paste, liquid, lotion, spray can and duty free liquor had to be confiscated.

The queues snaked around the airport. The same routine in Sydney. Halfway across the pacific I finally started to relax, only had to survive Los Angeles, Denver, and finally Billings in Montana, and I would be there.

Marek greeted me at the bottom of the stairs with a big hug and great delight. The news wasn’t good, rivers were low, temperatures high, bushfires everywhere and the ever-present effects of drought dominated.

The answer lay in the tailwaters and the headwaters. This would be where temperatures would be tolerable for the fish.

The Yellowstone had been closed from 12 noon until midnight every day to protect the fish. Fortunately the next few nights were to prove cool enough that the restrictions could be lifted.

I must confess that arriving in Red Lodge after 30 hours of flying and airports, my body clock was scrambled with jet lag. The first two days I found difficult. I had been suffering a cold before I left and 30 hours of incubation in aircraft air-conditioning had turned into a monster. Red Lodge was 6,500 feet above sea level also, the air was thin and dry causing great pain in the sinuses.

All irrelevant because I was here to fish. I headed down Rock Creek to fish where it ran through the town. Rock Creek is a continuous fast flowing rapid. I fished a stretch about 200 metres for three small rainbows. Now I could die happy knowing I had caught fish in Montana.

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