Fishing Alone – An Oxymoron

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT
I must admit that I am a loner when it comes to fishing. It’s not because I don’t like to fish with other people, but taking the effort to organize and coordinate two or three schedules just gets in the way of being on the water. I’d estimate that 9 out of 10 times I am on the water I’ve made the trip alone. I think the real reason I get to fish alone is that I almost always try to get on the river before dawn. That can mean some pretty early alarms, especially in mid-summer when the destination is 120 miles from center. Most of the guys and gals that I do end up fishing with don’t know how to get out of bed before 8AM. I tell them they can sleep in the car, but that rarely moves the needle. So, many more times than not, I am on the river at dawn, alone, hunting trout. This is where the Oxymoron comes in.

Bald and Golden Eagles watch me fish on the Big Hole
Bald and Golden Eagles watch me fish on the Big Hole

You can never be alone on a Southwest Montana or Yellowstone River at dawn. Where ever I go, nature – the birds, mammals and fish – are there. In some places they are almost omnipresent. Their absence would be noticed. I fish a stretch of the Big Hole River outside of Twin Bridges at least a half dozen times every season. Less than a mile upriver from the put in there’s always a watchful Bald Eagle high up in a Cottonwood snag. At times the Balds are accompanied by a pair of Golden Eagles. They watch as I slowly fish past their home rarely leaving the snag.

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