We are in peak season here in western Montana and most Missoula fly fishing guides are working everyday. We are fortunate to be able to do something we really love for a living, but we still cherish our days off. The small bank accounts and cold days of winter usually cause us to book the month of July pretty solid. Working 20 days straight doesn’t sound that tough when we’re sitting on the couch in January. It’s all hitting home right now and the reaction are funny. The young guides are thrilled to be working. They have youth and exuberance on their side, and even a pocketful of cash and a long night at the bar doesn’t slow them down. For the most part their season just started in late June and their days will dry up by the end of Sept. The veteran Missoula fly fishing guides have been on the water since mid-March and the boat won’t go into the garage till late Oct. This is barely the half way mark and a 20 day stint can seem like an eternity to a guide with a wife, kids, and other responbilities. I always try to schedule with the best of intentions, two days off here, a three day weekend there. It just seems to go out the window when that long time angler calls for dates and I just can’t say no. It all works out in the end, but it means that a day off isn’t really a day off. We just trade oar strokes, lunch prep, and fly changes for oil changes, tire rotations, bank deposits, and gear maintenance. I had a day off today and other than sleeping in a little, I haven’t done a thing that wasn’t related to guiding. It’s 9:00 p.m. and the lawn needs mowed. Next day off for this Missoula fly fishing guide isn’t until the end of July. Still, it beats the hell out of an office cubicle!
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