Admit One

I got a late start today, I knew that it would warm slowly.  High winds were forecast too.  I made the drive anyway, figuring that I could always do the Livingston fly shop tour if I got blown off the water. 

It was blowing in town.  And…it was blowing where the creek entered the Yellowstone.  When I arrived at the "Big House", I expected whitecaps.  Surprisingly, it wasn't too bad.  Betty was waiting for me at the door.  New Years Day was  a busy one on the creek she said.  Lots of anglers.  Today, I'd be the only one.  At least so far.

It was thirty-one degrees at 9:30 a.m.  Overcast.  Snow hung low over the Absarokas.

Steely morning sky over the Absarokas, DePuy Spring Creek, Montana

No hurry today.  Just the way I like it.  I got settled in and built a fire in the barrel stove.  Chunks of snow from the boots of the previous days anglers were frozen to the floor of the hut.  So, I did a little housekeeping and swept the floor.  

With the chill off, it was time to get rigged.   The fish probably saw a little of everything to start the New Year.  Today, I'd offer up a little muddler.

Got several chases.  A few pulls.  One hookup.  A brown.  The first fish of the year.

Before the fish, afterwards too, iced guides were a nuisance.  I missed the first couple of fish because I was fiddling with line that wouldn't feed through the guides.

Cold fingers?  For sure.  Especially on the finger that pinches the line against the cork.  I keep intending to drop one of those instant heat packs into my wader pocket to warm my hands.  Heat packs?  I've got some.  But…for some reason they don't work very well when left in the car.

Noontime was break time.  My back said so.  So did my fingers.

Back at the hut, I added wood to the barrel stove.  The stick soon smoldered and burst into flames. It's hard to beat the cheer of a fire.  Dancing flames. The crackle and pop.  The smell of woodsmoke.

A simple lunch.  Tea.  Fresh bread.  Jerky.  Home-dried plums.  Dark chocolate.

Time to ponder.  Done for the day?  Maybe a few more casts.  A tactical change.  Nymph time.  

So, I re-rigged and set out.  It was warmer.  The wind had stilled.  Geez, maybe I need to get a later start next time. 

Took a little walk. Fished a few runs. Got a nice colorful rainbow.    Done?  Nah, a couple more casts and I'm rewarded with a chunky rainbow, the best of the day.  Now I'm done.

I quit fishing a little after 3p.m.  The sun was just starting to peek out.  It was the best part of the day.  It had warmed to a toasty thirty-eight.  Without the wind, it was comfortable, beautiful.

I finished the day by driving through the property and snapping a few photos.  It's hard to beat the late afternoon light of winter.

Til next time….keep the fire burning…...


  1. Glad you had a good and comfortable outing on the water. What a beautiful location. Today's high temp here in NY was 3 degrees F., no chance for fly-fishing. We did get out on the 1st for steelhead when it was snowing and 16. Gotta be tough, and a little crazy.

    1. Sixteen and snowing? Great weather for elk hunting. Anyone with the "cajones" to stand in the water under those conditions deserves a fish. Make that two.

      But yes, it is a beautiful location. More trips to come.

  2. and it also hard to beat a wood fire on a cold January day Les..nice..

    1. I don't get to build a fire when I'm out camping in the summer. So…I have to get my fix during the winter fishing season. It's nice being able to huddle around a stove to ward off the chill.

  3. Best, most beautiful, post so far this year, Lester. Absolutely love your words and the photos are sublime. I have never heard of the Absarokas, so that was informational and I am also curious about "the property" you drove through. Is that a private residence that allows a certain amount of passes at DePuy Creek? Sure is lovely property. I am, however, quite fond of the pics you have shared of the hut. It seems such a special place.

    1. Thank you Lydia. A little history….. DePuy Spring Creek is a private property that allows public access to fisherman for a daily rod fee. There is about three miles of fishable water. Interestingly, the creek originates on another property and there, is known as Armstrong Spring Creek. It flows a half mile before crossing the property line to become DePuy's.

      The huts are a nice touch. A great place to get in out of the wind and weather if need be. Several simple wooden benches are scattered along the creek that allow one to sit, contemplate, and take in the beautiful scenery. Anymore, I think that the scenery is a bigger draw for me than the fishing.

      The Absaroka Mountains dominate the skyline and flank the eastern part of what is known as the Paradise Valley.


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