Last week, the 2012 Orvis Western Guide Rendezvous was held in Missoula, Montana. More than 200 Orvis-endorsed guides from around the West gathered to mingle, swap ideas and stories, learn about new Orvis gear, and generally have a good time. As the event organizers, we had to get out there early and set everything up, but we couldn’t resist getting out on the water.
On Thursday, I floated the Clearwater and Blackfoot Rivers with Jim Lepage (Vice President of Rod & Tackle), Steve Hemkens (Head Product Developer, Rod & Tackle), and Shawn Brillon (Product Development Specialist, Rod & Tackle). Our guides were Dave Meador and Pat Kane of PRO Outfitters in Helena. They showed up to the event a day early to show us where the fish live. A couple days of very warm weather had caused a minor runoff event, making for high, muddy water, but that didn’t deter us. We don’t need to catch fish to have a good time. . .but it sure does help.
The next day, I hit Rock Creek with my friend Lisa Savard, who owns Lopstick Lodge in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. Lisa and her husband, Tim, spend April at their house on the creek, before heading back East for their fishing season. Lisa and I go all the way back to middle school, and we had a great time reminiscing about the old days (and catching fish, of course). The water was high and off-colored, with about a foot-and-a-half of visibility, so I used the dead-drifted-streamer technique that Drew Price wrote about yesterday, and did quite well.