Fly-Fishing on Montana's Big Hole River: Signs of Climate Change

"Nature is a powerful economic driver here, and livelihoods depend on cold water and healthy fish. People know it’s warming, but few will say that's climate change."

"Anyone who takes fly-fishing seriously behaves like a scientist. These anglers are biologists, knowledgeable in what's eating what, when and how. They are hydrologists, studying riffles and stream flow. They are naturalists, observing clouds and sunlight and the circulation of air as their rods flick back and forth across the big sky. They are, in a sense, climate scientists. And some, but not all, are deeply concerned about the effects of a warming climate on the cold-water species that inhabit blue-ribbon trout streams.

But to the extent that they act as climate scientists, partisan politics plays a role in many anglers' understanding of climate change. Here in Montana, with pristine rivers that are home to some of the best fly-fishing in the country, a majority of votes went for President Trump—and climate change is considered by many of them to be a natural phenomenon beyond human control. Nonetheless, climate change is having a profound influence on fly-fishing, from the timing of insect hatches to the long-term survival of the fish that give this sport its meaning.

The classic account of angling in Montana depicted in Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It implanted iconic images in the collective consciousness, and they are not false. But will they survive the century?"

Meera Subramanian reports for InsideClimate News June 7, 2018.

Source: InsideClimate News, 06/12/2018