The First Fifteen

I know that I'm not the only one that feels the seasonal sense of urgency.  All of us who live in northerly climes know it.  The clock is running.  The big W is around the corner.  We can't keep it at bay, but we can sure make the most of the remaining days.  

September?  Glorious.  There's just not enough of it.  Bob Garnier recently posted about it on his great little blog, Trout on Dries.  But then, as an Albertan, he knows about urgency and winter. As a Montanan, I appreciate Alberta.  Heck, they send us weather.

No matter.  Back to September.  It's an embarrassment of riches.  Back when I bowhunted avidly, I'd spend weeks wearing out boot soles by chasing elk in the high country.  Now, other vices have supplanted the pursuit of elk.  

There's birds and dogs to chase, high and low.  Trout to catch that now revel in the cooling water.  Just pick a river to fish.  And, heaven forbid, steelhead, if.....

So far we've spent a day in the high county where the daytime temperature struggled to reach fifty degrees.  It never made it.  But, the bright sun and blue sky made for a perfect day.  There were blue grouse.  The elk were still there too, at least their tracks anyway.  The birds were pretty wild, but the girls, two and four legged, did their jobs admirably.  Grouse for dinner.

Blue grouse hunting

I wrote about the Henry's Fork and it's stubborn rainbows.  A beautiful day on a tremendous piece of water.  I appreciate challenges.  I'll return in order to continue working on the learning curve.

Ruffed grouse.  My favorite.  Tough this early.  The woods are in full leaf.  Six flushes.  Two shots. Two birds.  Good job girls.  Grouse for dinner.

Then to the valley.  It's big country. Hun country.  A big prairie sky. Well, it is the "Big Sky Country.

Release the hounds.  Find those birds.  Miles and hours later, they do.  Again, the girls do their jobs well.  Huns for dinner.

And then, another day to fish.  I'm up early, the Madison calls.  It's a beautiful morning sky.  I wonder, "Why does anyone ever sleep in?"

I hope that the water, now cooled, will stir the trout into feeding actively.  I ask myself "Can the browns come out to play?"  The river is generous.  The fish answer......

Madison River brown trout.

There aren't enough sunrises.  I hope to be present for as many as possible.  How about you?

And, as for the next fifteen days?  Who knows?  Choices, choices.....

"That's the sweetness of September.  It's a month of tomorrows."  
                 Gene Hill, from A Hunter's Fireside Book


  1. The next 15 open up the choices alright, and also bring October when, around here, the place goes nuts with outdoor possibilities. Thanks for the pleasant reminder to make the most of time.

    1. You're right Walt, October just gets better. Even more outdoor options.

  2. Les: Nice post and review of your outdoor activity in early Sept. Great pics as usual. Like that brown trout! The first picture in the post reminds me of a Russell Chatham(sp) painting.
    Thanks for the plug on my blog. Enjoy the rest of sept.

    1. You're most welcome Bob, I'm sure you'll put up some more good stuff on Trout on Dries before the snow flies for good.

      You're right, the intro image does have that soft Chatham like feel. And, as for the brown, I called it good for the day after catching him. How much better could it get?

  3. Lester
    You are living the life that a lot of us envy, including me to have a place like that to fish and hunt is truly a gift. How I wish my ancestors had settled out west instead the south. By the way I just noticed your slide show, which has some unbelievable images; that has to be one of the most colorful trout I have ever seen in the slide. Thanks for sharing a great post.

    1. Well Bill I'm glad that you found the slide show. Interestingly, that fish was the only colorful one that we have ever caught out of that particular lake. All of the others have been "run of the mill" cutthroats.

      And yes, I most certainly appreciate where I live. I still get antsy sometimes though. The compass always points north.

  4. It's a great time of year for sure. Eh, Les? In fact..probably the water and hot flushes..

    1. You bet Mike. Just keeps getting better too, doesn't it?


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