As I was leaving the bar a few nights ago I stopped to talk to a buddy about some upcoming fishing trips. Someone overhearing our conversation remarked to us, “Is it that time of year already?” Both us being hardcore fly fisherman we responded emphatically, “It’s always that time!” Meaning that, regardless of the weather, there are always fly fishing opportunities somewhere around Montana. The following day, while exploring water in the Blackfoot River valley, I had the realization that regardless of your passion there is always a way to enjoy it throughout the year in this great state.
Prime fishing season in Montana typically runs from mid-April until late October. During winter months there are still plenty of options for anglers. Lakes, such as the locals favorite Georgetown Lake, will freeze over and fishing can be very productive through the ice. Plenty of local rivers and streams will flow free, not ice over, and fishing can be productive all year. During cooler months the trout will tend to school up in the slowest, deepest holding water in the river; making them fairly easy to find. Next, we are lucky to have a few world-famous tail waters, such as the Missouri and Beaverhead Rivers, within a couple of hours. The dam regulated water temperatures in these rivers will help produce trophy size trout all year. Finally, one can easily pass the winter months by tying flies, shopping for new gear, or by watching hours of fishing videos online.
Now let’s say that you are passionate about skiing, snowboarding or winter sports; how do you survive the summer months with no snow? Plenty of people that I know switch to going downhill on the Mountain Bike. We are fortunate that the lifts at many ski resorts around Montana, including Discovery, will run all year long. When the snow melts; simply grab the bike, helmet and protective gear and you can still get the thill of screaming down the slopes. If cross-country is more your speed though the winter, then you can strap up your hiking boots and have endless miles of backcountry to explore through the summer. Next, if you live here for the epic snowmobiling then you can definitely make it though the warmer months by hopping on the ATV, Motor Bike, or in the truck and four-wheeling through our beautiful mountains.
What about the hunters, don’t they only get a couple of months in the fall to pursue their passion? The most accomplished and successful hunters I know are preparing for the fall throughout the year. Shed hunting season is just around the corner. Scouting the backcountry, discovering new areas, and tracking the movements of the herds is an ongoing process. Finally, to be successful, most hunters spend lots of time through the summer with target practice. Fine tuning their shot and learning their weapon.
It seems that most people live in Montana, or Philipsburg, because of a passion for the outdoors. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall there is always something available for you to enjoy. And if the weather takes a turn for the worst, and the outdoors are unbearable, we are lucky to have lots of great breweries, distilleries and local bars around the state to help weather the storm.