Another day in paradise started off with a boat full of snow and a slick wet harrowing drive over the pass to Livingston. Four inches of new snow greeted me this morning just after I spent the previous day washing the truck and spit shining the drift boat. I got an early start so I arrived in Livingston with plenty of time to spend another ten bucks at the Car wash in Livingston, clearing the snow that drifted from the back of the truck into the boat. After clearing the snow and getting the boat ready for the day I headed to the shop to meet my clients for the day. Livingston only got a dusting but the rain and warm weather from the previous two days had caused the Lamar to spit out a plug of muddy water and it was just about to hit town. On the ride over I was greeted with a weather advisory for a high wind warning from Livingston to Reed Point. The mud coming down the valley left us with no option for escaping the wind and we had to commit to a float below town to stay away from the mud.
The clients were ready and eager when I got to the shop at 8:15 and after the usual paperwork, looking over the gear and picking out a few flies for the day we made our way for Springdale. Rob Olsen was my guide partner for the day and we were being joined by four ministers from around the country. Jeremy was from Memphis, Glenn resided in Washington D.C., Bill was from Austin and Tom hailed from San Antonio. They were all minister that meet in seminary school and had been making an annual trip somewhere each year to catch up and enjoy each others company.
When we got to Springdale Doug and Mike were at the ramp getting their boat ready in a steady 20 mph wind with gust into the 30's. I talked to Rob to see if he was interested in changing our plans and wading the Boulder instead of taking a sailing trip down the Yellowstone. He told me he was up for anything so I headed over to talk with the group about the new plan. They were open to anything and told me all they really cared about was catching some fish, seeing some nice scenery and having a good time. My job was to guide them through the day and make sure they had a great time. I headed over to Rob and told him they were up to driving the extra distance to try and get a break from the wind. We left Doug and Mike and wished them luck with their sailing venture. When we arrived in Big T we dropped the boats at the Super 8 and headed up the Boulder Valley. As we crossed the river at the 8 mile bridge the river was pretty off color, I hoped it was just the West Fork and by the time we got to the next bridge the river had turned to a rustic red color and I had thoughts of spending a wasted day driving around burning fuel for no good reason.
We arrived at the Forks and thankfully the West Fork was the culprit and the Main stem of the river was in great shape. The guys pulled on their waders and Rob and I rigged the rods. The wind was still blowing pretty hard but at least we had a bit of protection in the river bottom with all the trees and high banks. We headed down stream and got everyone into their fishing positions. I set Tom in his spot and headed a bit further downstream with Glenn. Glenn hooked and landed a nice rainbow right out of the gate and I knew we had made a good choice. We spent the rest of the morning landing some very nice rainbows and by lunch we were pretty satisfied with the fishing. The river was starting to get some color as the day progressed and when we met back up with Rob, Bill and Jeremy it had gone from gin clear to a couple feet of visibility.
We had a very nice lunch on the bank of the West Fork and after everyone had a full belly we headed back to the truck for some more fishing. We headed up the river to another spot and when we arrived at the new access the river clarity had taken a turn for the worse. Clarity had dropped to around a foot and there was starting to be some floating debris in the water. I was sure that we were in for a quick end to the day but as the afternoon progressed the clarity got a bit better and we ended the day with a foot and a half of clarity. The afternoon fishing was not as consistent but we did manage to catch a few more fish and the hot bug of the day was a wire worm. The day ended with a few more fish under the bridge and we sent the ministers for a quick sight seeing trip up to the natural bridge. I headed back to town to fulfill my fatherly duties and attend the coaches T-Ball meeting to pickup the equipment and the team roster for the 2008 Season. We should have a fun team full of friends and cousins who will surely bring plenty of smiles and laughs to all of us as they swarm after the ball.