Shape-Shifters Fly Fishing In Montana
We spent the holidays bingeing on TV. The world appears to be consumed by vampires, zombies, shape-shifters, warlocks, witches and extraterrestrials. Not bad if you’re describing the political class but as a fly fisherman I seek a soft stream with gentle riffles and quiet rising fish. The following is the opening paragraph from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, the all-time big fish story. The opening sentences express a longing for water to open up the soul and shake off the drudgery of the world.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
My God is this beautiful and sends me rigging up a fly rod heading towards a stream leading to an ocean with the same shared feeling as Melville.
“Fly fishing is a grand and mysterious enterprise that should be experienced by all.” Mike Geary: Fly Fisherman, Outfitter, Owner of Healing Waters Lodge and Lewis and Clark Expeditions, Interpreter of Rivers, Streams and Dreams and Eternal Long-shot Player.
**The following is an unabashed solicitation for your business to go fly fishing with us in 2018:
Whoever declared that “April was the cruelest month” never fished the Big Hole. April is the month where we land the biggest fish of the season. It is also the month where spring extols her virtues through stately blue-winged olive hatches as well as the formidable Skawala hatch on both the Big Hole and Jefferson Rivers.
FLY FISHING SCHOOLS: Healing Waters Lodge runs two fly fishing schools that are six-nights and five-days dedicated to piscatorial pursuits including lodging, food, beer and wine, guides, loaner equipment, flies, rivers, knowledge and more fun than most mortals can handle. The price is $3,000 per person. We will have you fishing on the Ruby, Big Hole, Madison, Jefferson, and Beaverhead rivers as well as smaller streams that haunt your fishing dreams. Our fly fishing schools are for anyone that would like to improve their fishing skills. The first school is April 22- 27 and the second school is April 28 through May 3.
SMITH RIVER FLOAT TRIPS: We are the largest outfitter on Montana’s Smith River with 26 of the 73 permitted commercial launches. The Smith is one of the most unique floating, fishing and camping opportunities in the United States. Our Smith float trip is five-days of fishing and four-nights of camping for 60 river miles. This portion of the Smith River is a state park operated by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department, where they allow nine launches a day on the river. Once, you launch the next stop is 60 miles downstream. The floating season opens in April (which may be the cruelest month on the Smith) and ends sometime in July when the water becomes too low to float.
Smith River angler
The Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis once asked a Coptic monk what he called God. The monk responded “Awe.” The power of the Smith River around every bend is being in the presence of something greater than yourself. When I am on the Smith River I feel this sacred “Awe.” Plus, you are casting flies to fish that are hidden from the madding crowd. The riddle for most anglers explaining why fishing is always more than fishing. On the Smith River, the fishing is wonderful but it is also a good place for the soul.
Our Smith River season starts in May and runs through the middle of July. Each float trip is capped at taking eight clients and offer good guides, good food and great camping accommodations. We supply everything you need for a trip that mixes fly fishing with the sublime.
HEALING WATERS LODGE: So much water and so little time. We fish the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson and Ruby rivers along with a host of smaller streams, lakes and ponds; turning our area into Never Never Land for fly fishermen. We float the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Madison and Jefferson Rivers in drift boats and rafts. Our goal is to be agile and mobile putting our guests on to some of the Planet’s great fly fishing opportunities. Our private water options grant us the opportunity to guarantee angling solitude which is an inherent virtue in all fly fishing, while taunting trout with dry flies. These small intimate streams tease up memories of large fish in a quintessential western setting. Healing Waters Lodge is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, hidden creeks, an abundance of wildlife and skies that go on forever.
We are constantly working on improvements to the lodge and grounds. I have a line about Restoration Hardware (a high-end furniture store) that it’s a place where you lose your mind and open up your wallet. You will see quite a bit of Restoration Hardware furniture on display in different rooms around the lodge. I love the rustic décor, the feel of furniture which subtly purports a sense of history, warmth and security.
The success of Healing Waters Lodge is directly linked to all of the people we employ.
Our success as a lodge is directly linked to all the people we employ. The housekeepers, guides, chefs, groundskeepers, shuttle drivers, dishwashers, waitstaff all giving us a 100% effort throughout the season. If it wasn’t for these people on the front lines of our operation, we would be collecting unemployment checks. We are only as good as the people around us.
When is the best time to fish? Anytime you would like to shake off the November in your soul and feel the strong current of life in the form of a shape shifting trout at the end or your line.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
January 13 – Orvis – San Antonio– 3:00 p.m., Mike does a presentation, contact Landon Rowlett at 210-812-3017 for more information.
January 20 – Orvis – The Woodlands – 2:00 p.m, Mike does a presentation, contact Jose Delgado at 281-203-6150 for more information.
January 23 – Orvis – Houston – 3:00 p.m., Mike does a presentation, contact Benjamin Gossett at 713-783-2111 for more information.
January 27 – Orvis – Baton Rouge – 10:00 a.m., Mike does a presentation, contact Ian Huang at 225-757-7286 for more information.
February 2 & 3 – The Fly Fishing Show – Atlanta – Mike Geary hosts a booth.
February 23, 24 & 25 – The Fly Fishing Show – Pleasanton – Mike Geary hosts a booth.
March 23 & 24 – The London Fly Fishing Fair – London UK – Mike and Laura Geary host a booth.
April 1 – Healing Waters Lodge opens for the 2018 season.
April 22-27 and April 28-May 3 – Fish Like a Guide, But, Live Like a Client fly fishing school at Healing Waters Lodge. Six nights and 5 days of brief classroom instruction and guided fly fishing on local waters, lodging, meals, and loaner equipment included. Great class for any skill level.
July 4-9 – Host Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing – PHWFF participants and guest-sponsors at Healing Waters Lodge for 6 nights with five days of guided fly fishing. If you would like to be a guest-sponsor, please contact Mike Geary at 406-459-2030.
Healing Waters Lodge is an Orvis endorsed fly fishing lodge vacation destination and throughout the season we are hosting groups from Orvis Cleveland, Orvis Houston, Orvis San Antonio, and Orvis Chicago.
Please contact Mike Geary at 406-459-2030 for more information.