You should be here now

Big Hole 302 cfs
Beaverhead 133 cfs
Jefferson 670 cfs

Weather conditions and river flows could not be any better for this time of year. The leaves on the trees along the river are just starting to turn color and to top it off the fishing is great.

Art and I were at the shop this morning and after awhile Art couldn’t stand it and asked if he could take the van and just go fishing some where. I have been waiting for his call and fishing report but that van does mysterious things to you. This van is a true trout bum’s delight. It has a comfortable bed, chest of drawers and all kinds of places to hand your rods and fly vests and such. It has comfortable captain chairs up front and a great stereo system on a auxillary battery. For the most part it has a mind of it’s own. When you get in it with all your gear packed it’s like a sense of freedom and has a gps with a direction for fish and fun. The last time Art took this thing he wound up in the far reaches of Alberta, Canada. Like he said, it was no fault of his own as this thing has a mind of it’s own.

The investigation has been completed on those two diversion dams that I had filed an official complaint on. The Mile High Conseration Committee has deemed that both those dams were placed in violation and the first one has already been removed and the second was being worked on. This action had to be done but has come at a high cost to me personally. I regret having lost some very good friends in the ranching community.


  1. Al –
    Over the last few weeks, it has been easy for many of us non-residents to voice our support of your “dam-busting” endeavors and emplore you to “give ’em hell”. However, I don’t know that any of us fully appreciate how far you’ve hung it out on the line ending up with what will likely be long-term reprocussions. I know that personally, I have turned a blind eye to the actions of friends and colleagues at times for fear that my criticism of their behavior will damage our relationship. I think that we all need to stop and take note of the fact that while it is easy to say “you’ve got a friend in New Hampshire” or North Dakota or Washington or Maine – it may pale in comparison to the fact that you’ve lost a friend in the Big Hole Valley. I guess you can say you did it for the fish, but those beloved creatures can be heartless bastards when the bite is off!

    I can’t fully appreciate what it is you did for the river, the fish, and for all us sportman and conservationalists, Al. I can say thank you though – and at least let you know that we understand many of the sacrafices that you’ve made. I personally can say that I don’t think I would have the balls to do what you did.


  2. Local resident

    Give it some time; those who were truly friends before, will be again. They should realize that the few who were in wrong, made them all look bad. But they should also realize that your complaint was not aimed at those in compliance, but only at those in the wrong. The rules and regulations were put into place to protect all involved, and all need to abide by those rules. You did the right thing…even those on the other “side of the fence” know that.

  3. If I had a van like that, I’d never be heard from again.

    Al, you did the right thing. Period. The laws are there for a reason.

  4. I for one am glad to see someone in the outfitting commuity stand up and be counted on a issue like this. Too often the outfitters are nowhere to be found when it come time to delve into conservation issues. You are definatley help change this stigmatism! Good job!

  5. Well put Buggerman. Everything you said, times two.

    I think we need to get some photos of this great and spacious van. I covet your great and spacious van…

  6. Ryan Reichle

    Congratulations Big Al!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ranchers are ruining the river. There are laws in place to prevent them from ruining the river but these laws are loosley enforced if ever until a brave and true soul like yourself steps up and speaks his mind in order to right the wrong. Good job and keep it up. I hope this isn’t the end of the battle, maybe just the beginning. Without future vigilance we will only continue to see more violations. Let me know what I can do to help. Talked to Art today about a river cleanup day next week. Let me know if you’re interested.

  7. john bradford

    Every time I’m tempted to write a letter to the editor, someone else beats me to it and says it better than I would have. Such is the case with comment #2, by a local resident. Ranchers have a right to water, so do trout. Ranchers don’t have a right to take more than their share, and should be called on it when they do. They should be ashamed.

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