Wabash Blogs Freshman Tutorial: Fly Fishing in Montana

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Drews '13 Spent Day Fishing with Alum

Will Drews '13 - Waking up this (Wednesday) morning proved to be one of the most challenging tasks of the day.  The trip yesterday to Yellowstone sapped the energy out of everyone, especially my roommates and I.  We had two alarms set for different times, but neither was sufficient to even make us turn in our sleep. So we all unfortunately had to hurry, with less than a half an hour, to get cleaned up and grab a bite to eat before hopping in the van to go on our second day of fly-fishing.

Before I go on about the day, I would like to acknowledge that this has been one great trip, and I thank Professor Hadley for being able to organize such an endeavor. The fly-fishing experiences we have had on this immersion trip have just been so awesome. I’m still dumbfounded about how lucky each of us signed up for this class have been to be able to spend a week in this beautiful part of the country, allowing us the chance to get to know some fellow classmates and learn so much before school even starts. 
The fly-fishing guides we have been able to work with are amazing.  In our eyes, they seem to have mastered this difficult activity, which has often been labeled as impossible to master.  In what appears like a sixth sense, the guides are able to identify the most likely spots for fish to lie, easily multiplying our chances of catching a fish.  One of the great aspects of our fly-fishing experience has been the opportunity to work with a couple different guides and learn different techniques from different guides.  At the same time, we have also been switching fishing partners, allowing us plenty of time to get to know one another.
Today, I was partnered with Jeff Perkins '89, and our fishing guide was Chuck. Jeff and I thoroughly enjoyed the day of fishing on the Madison River. Chuck was great and allowed us to fish on the boat and in the water. We floated down the majestic river, taking quick glimpses of the beautiful countryside in between the long stretches of hard concentration on our flies as we fished.  Several times we stopped in some shallows to feel the crisp, refreshing water as we waded and fished. 
While some people might say that our catches of the day were disappointing, with both of us catching only a couple of fish, I would say that it was more rewarding. 
Jeff had been striving to catch a fish after many close calls on Monday and today.  The accomplishment beaming from his face after his first catch would easily outshine a pro catching a hundred fish in a day.  Even though I thoroughly enjoy the feeling I get when I’ve set a fish and am challenging it in the battle of fishing, I am just fine with only getting a couple of catches. If you are always getting fish to hook, then you miss part of the excitement and anticipation that builds up when you’re waiting for that fish to bite; something Jeff and I experienced a lot today.
It was hard getting out of the water and knowing that this was the last time we’ll be fly-fishing, at least for awhile.  However, after the long day on the river all of us were exhausted and were ready to just relax.  We finished the day with an eye-opening presentation from Laura Ziemer of Trout Unlimited and dinner.  This was a nice way to end an exciting, tiring day on the river.

In photos: Top right, guide Chuck shows off one of the day's catch with Will Drews. Center left, Drews and Perkins head down river. And at bottom right, Drews with Professor David Hadley.