What a year 2020 turned out be.

I don’t believe I have talked with anyone about this past year without the majority saying they are so looking forward to putting this year behind them and moving on to a brave new world.

I agree. It is time to look to the next year with the hope that 2021 is a year that turns out to be a major improvement over the what I have dubbed, “Year of the COVID.”

As an angler, I had plenty of opportunities to get outside and recreate without the fear of exposure to the coronavirus. The fishing was fantastic thanks to a short runoff season and a very dry summer. I managed to wet my fly line throughout much of the northwestern United States safely. The waters covered included not just our local fisheries, but also fabled waters in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, California, Nevada, Colorado and Utah. That is a wide swath of real estate that has both wild native trout and plenty of stocked and wild rainbow and brown trout that are not native to these states, but are now just as wild, for the most part, as the various native cutthroat trout that were once all that inhabited the interior mountain West.

As I look forward to 2021, it is my hope that the Rockies receive much more snow than we have received to this date at the end of 2020. Trout need cold, clean waters in which to survive. When our snowpack is less than average, the temperatures in rivers, streams and lakes warm too quickly and the flows drop to the point where trout cannot hide from the predators that pursue them for food purposes. Since many of our waters are being managed as wild trout fisheries in the 21st century, let’s continue to pray, and or conduct rain dances, for the abundance of moisture needed to maintain healthy native and wild trout fisheries for anglers well into the rest of this century.

It is also my hope to see international travel extended to U.S. citizens again. There are many places where fishing is just as good as what we are privileged to have here in Wyoming. Some of these places have trout. I am thinking of those countries that drain the Andes in South America in Argentina and Chile, or the volcanic mountains of New Zealand and eastern Russia.

Other destinations have saltwater fish species that frequently challenge an angler’s skill and physical condition. Tarpon on the flats of the Caribbean in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Honduras come to mind as the ultimate challenge. Sailfish, marlin, tuna and roosterfish on the west coasts of Chile, Peru, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico are also challenging and pursued at a different change of pace than would be tarpon, permit or bonefish in the shallows of a flat in the Caribbean.

Long ago, New Year’s resolutions quit passing from my lips. I cannot think of one resolution I was able to keep no matter how hard I tried. So, I am resolved to fish more waters for more species in 2021 than I managed to accomplish in the year that will soon be a distant memory. My hope is that each of you reading this has also made resolutions to do the same. I look forward to seeing you on the rivers and oceans and listening to your stories while we gather streamside. May God bless you and these United States going forward into the year and decade ahead.

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