Things have slowed down a little around here….finally. Busy is good, it means there’s money in the bank. Paperwork has stacked up, once again, and if Stella doesn’t take all my time today I might actually get to it…doubtful. Fishing would be a great way to spend this day, but breaking ice out of the guides is not quite what I have in mind. Training a new birddog, inside, is more like it.
Yellowstone National Park’s snowpack is in great shape for snowmobiliers and snowcoach riders. The best in years. The daytime temps have been a bit chilly lately, 30 below on Jan. 1, but yesterday and today are quite nice – 20 degrees. Lots of wildlife has been in plain view during the past week. Foxes, coyotes, otters, eagles, bison, elk, bobcats, swans, cygnets, various waterfowl and wolves. There are wolves on the Gibbon River, just south of Terrace Hot Springs, eating on a bison carcass which they took down about 5 days ago. Some think this is the Canyon Pack, some say the Mary Mnt Pack. Honestly, until Doug Smith (head wolf biologist) says which pack it is, I won’t believe what the folks are saying. It could be a splinter of the Gibbon Meadows Pack which lost its alpha male this past summer….who knows.
Yellowstone winters are fabulous. A bit cold, but tolerable. Having a fine lady to keep you warm at night is a must. Thankfully, I found one willing to tolerate me and all of my fishing oddities. Which include, but are not limited to: stacks of paperwork – unopened for weeks, rigged flyrods hanging from the window frames, dirtbag friends without a lady in their life, hunting dogs, boxes fly tying materials, multiple sets of old waders still needing to be sent off to Recyled Waders, the ability to organize flyboxes to a T – but unable to keep my shit straight around the house and the seasonality of the fishing business, just to name a few. The fishing gods must look down upon Molly, sigh and shake their heads. Poor girl, they think. She just might be paying her dues because when she gets in the boat, she hooks plenty of trout – on dry flies.
Bird dogs have a special place in my heart. Right next to old shotguns, eastern Montana diners, canned beer and upland birds. They all fit together, you know. Stella is growing up fast. I have begun some training. Mostly of the kennel kind, “No” and some fetch. Zac White, former fishing guide and owner of a half sister to Stella, mentioned to me that it is never to early to start. So, I got an old cooler and started her on “Whoa”. Just a few mintues a day. Needless to say, she squirms around a bit, but it will pay off in the end.