Trip Report

Winter Layovers

Trip Reports - Stories|Winter Layover

It’s important to winter in a town as fishy as you are. Don’t forget there are places where rainbow trout don’t swim in the backyard. Avoid that geography and understand the trade-off. We live in a cold, old house where we feel, through the floor boards, the crash of trains coupling in the nearby rail yard. We also live in the Monte Dolack painting of someone else’s vacation, where trout are just a ten minute drive up the canyon. Worth it? On everything but the windy days, the answer is yes.

You can’t go cold turkey on river time, it’ll do bad things to your mental health. So, both returning from full-time seasons in Idaho to our winter home in Western Montana, we wean ourselves off slow. Our adulting muscles are atrophied. We run errands for a few hours, spend some computer time, then throw a bag of sour gummy worms and some Miller Lite in the boat and escape.

Must be the lucky new streamer, he says. Or maybe the lucky new streamer rod, I reply.

These stretches of river aren’t pristine, they are even wild-ish. The roar of I-90 hits my right ear as the rumble of the trains harmonizes in my left. The trout don’t mind though. The water’s just cold enough, just clean enough. It isn’t the biggest contiguous wilderness area in the Lower 48 and that’s the point. We are re-accustoming ourselves to noise, to people, to busyness. I slide one of his hand tied streamers along the bank, averting my eyes from the grocery sacks and power-ade bottles blown off the road. SLAM. The rainbow hits the streamer with the force of those train cars in the rail yard.


Photo by Casey Jones

Fish on. Fight it, picture it, release it. Must be the lucky new streamer, he says. Or maybe the lucky new streamer rod, I reply. My hands are cold from a winter’s-coming wind and the trout-temp river. Soon, this water will be clogged with ice, the boat just a mountain of snow in the driveway. Soon we’ll think longingly of these days on the water - but both fish and guides need a good winter freeze to rest. Until then, we shake ourselves of the summer and of the river slowly, letting our city trout lead the way back into the real world.


Photo by Casey Jones

Streamer Setup


If banging the banks with large streamer is your game, the PREDATOR rod family is built for you. The PREDATOR 696-4 has the power to turn over the streamers needed to lure trophy trout out from hiding. With the extra length, line handling becomes a breeze from both the boat and the bank. The carbon drag in the RISE reel provides smooth and powerful performance that can stop any trout in the system. The unique large arbor design makes the reel ultra-lightweight, allowing for all day casting comfort so you don’t miss any part of the bank on your next float.


  • rise color rose gold