………and they had a blast. At this point, I am not sure who enjoyed it more – the twelve fishing guides from West Yellowstone, or the eighteen kids from our school. Honestly, I think both the guides and the kids gained a whole lot of respect for each other over the course of the day. Sunshine followed by rain, jumping trout, a dunk in the river, more sun and then rain with more jumping trout, sun and rain. When the clouds broke, there was a fresh glaze of white in the Madison Range.
It started out as a bunch of youngsters, wide eyed and bushy, climbing out of the Karst Stage Coach and then on over to the array of fishing rigs parked at $3 Bridge. There was an introduction from Mrs. Hoovler to us all; followed by waders, boots, backpacks full of necessities, a flyrod and a rain jacket. In my mind, this was the field trip of all field trips – a pimpn’ bus ride along Hebgen on through the old Madison Canyon around Quake, dropping into the Madison Valley along the Slide, an entire day of fishing on the Madison (just a few days after the Opener) with a dozen fishing guides waiting patiently for a day on the water. We knew the fishing was gonna be good, yet they had virtually no idea of what to expect. A few of them had some experience on the river, but for the most part they were as green as grass. To watch these kids boil about with excitement made my day.
This was not just any day as these kids were from our town. A town where most of us live year around and see each other on weekly, if not daily, basis. We knew some of their parents, but most of them didn’t know us. The guide community is pretty tight, many of us hunt and fish together in off season or work together in YNP during the Winter. Three of the guide’s spouses teach at the school and one of the guides has four kids currently enrolled. West has around 1000 year around residents, but there are folks who have lived here whom you’ll never meet, except for times like this.
As a child, I have memories of times like this. It was all so new, so fresh and very real. Experiences out-of-doors teaches us all about life. Do yourself a favor – Take A Kid Fishing. Your river karma will go through the roof.