Rivers of 2016 Beaverhead, Ruby, madison, green, missouri, Jefferson...

"The stories of life are more like rivers than books," wrote Norman Maclean in "A River Runs Through It." And he's right. Life, like a river, is rarely linear, but twists and turns through valleys and tumbles over rocks. Sometimes the waters are deep and still and sometimes quick and turbulent. Sometimes rivers run beautifully clear and sometimes the water is cloudy with sediment and grit. I spent a lot of time on rivers this year, trying to bring trout to the surface and peace to my soul. My success at both endeavors varied widely. Some people say rivers change, but one of the things I like about them is their sameness. This year I fished the stretch of the Madison River between Quake and Hebgen Lakes that I last fished 20 years ago with my friend Scott Pounder. The river is littered with the ruins of the cabins that washed away when Hebgen dam broke in the Yellowstone earthquake in 1959. In one flooded cabin is an old iron bedstead resting crookedly on three legs. Last time I fished this spot I caught a nice 20-inch brown from under that bed. In July I caught what looked like the same fish in the same spot. I guess it's true...monsters DO live under the bed.

Three views of the Madison, the Ruby, the Missouri, and the Jefferson and Madison joining to form the Missouri. (The Gallatin River joins the Missouri about a mile downriver--hence, Three Forks, Montana.)

Some of the Fish

I suck at taking fish pictures. Too much work. But here's a few.

Madison River Rainbow
Cutthroat from UM Creek


The Green River. Thanks James and KSL for this trip, and thanks Darren the guide. I think he was ready to kill me for missing so many fish!
Sunset outside Harrison, Montana
Missouri River below Holter Dam. Mann Gulch is off to the left about four miles.
Slope of Mann Gulch, where 13 smokejumpers died fighting a fire on August 5, 1949.
Spot where smokejumper Silas R. Thompson fell battling the Mann Gulch fire, August 5, 1949. One of 13 markers that dot this Montana hill overlooking the Missouri River. Read Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire" for the story.
Sunset, Ruby River, Sheridan, Montana
Madison River, outside Ennis, Montana

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