Flyfishing Fantasies and Thinking of Summer

Logo of the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited

The last couple weeks, in the depths of winter, I’ve been watching tennis from the Australian Open from Melbourne, Australia, where it’s mid-summer. Sorry to say, I couldn’t stay awake through the wee hours to catch some of the marquee matches that started around 1 a.m.

I’ve also spent a couple afternoons learning to tie some different trout flies. I remember reading about a professional flytyer who figured he really hadn’t learned a new fly pattern until he’d tied a hundred dozen of them. Sorry to say, as a hobby tyer, I won’t live long enough to tie a hundred dozen flies, much less have patience to crank out a hundred dozen of anything.

Still, that doesn’t stop me from trying to imitate other peoples’ imitations of nature or whimsy as to what might trick a trout into biting a bit of fakery.

While watching tennis from the other end of the world or tying flies won’t make it summer, and to be clear, we need cold, snowy weather now, there are events coming up that help us cope with winter.

First is the annual Fly Fishing Film Tour of 2019, or F3T, the annual celebration of fly-fishing filmmaking. It’s a sad fact of life, but most of us will likely never go to dream destinations around the world in search of fishing adventure. But, it’s easy to go to a theater and enjoy an evening of vicarious adventure.

This year, the F3T show will be on the evening of Saturday, February 9, at the Mother Lode Theater in Butte. The local showing is sponsored by The Stone Fly fly shop here in Butte, and you can stop in at the store for more information or advance tickets. For information on other showings in Montana and around the country, go to

The other big event is the annual fundraising banquet of the George Grant Chapter of Trout Unlimited, scheduled for Friday, March 1, 2019, at the Copper King Hotel and Convention Center.

The TU dinner is like most conservation group fundraisers, with a great dinner, with raffles, games, drawings, silent and live auctions, all with the goal of having a fun evening while you spend money relatively painlessly.

I’ve been to a lot of these dinners over the years, for various organizations, but the TU dinner is always one of my favorites, as so much of the fly-fishing merchandise is stuff that I like and use. More importantly, the funds raised by TU are used to fund conservation projects right here in southwest Montana.

While the banquet committee sent out a mailing to alert people about the upcoming event, all the advance ticket sales are done online, and as of a week ago, the event sold out. If you want to get on a waiting list in case of cancellations, go to Mark Thompson, the current president of GGTU says, “It’s going to be huge!”

While we might daydream of fun on tennis courts or trout streams, we keep returning to reality, and a reality that keeps getting bigger and more ominous is the government shutdown, which has now gone over a month.

As a retired federal employee, I’m concerned for my brothers and sisters in the federal service who are either at home, or on the job and working without pay. Unlike the president or most of the people in Congress, these are people who work for a living and need a regular paycheck to pay for food, housing, childcare, college tuition, student loans and all the various demands that working people face.

Some readers may choose to disagree, but I put the blame on the shutdown on the chief resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

Regardless of who gets the blame, the work of the people is not getting done, and even with agencies that are open, things are grinding to a halt as agencies run out of resources. Even when the shutdown finally ends, there will be huge backlogs of work. It could take years to fully recover.

Note: the above commentary on the government shutdown were written and submitted to the newspaper I write for prior to the shutdown. I’m hoping Congress can come to some agreement and convince the president to accept it. This nation cannot afford another shutdown such as we just had.

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