Somewhere on the public-private jigsaw puzzle of northeastern Montana, an unnamed swimming-pool-sized mud puddle sloshes in the prairie breeze. It is a remnant of a drained reservoir, I'm told, whose tributary stream still flows across the adjacent mud flat. It seems vacant, until you near its edge and see the wakes shoot toward the center. The wakes veeeee off the backs of carp that grow up to 10 pounds.
This rectangular oasis sits among a sparse number of arid reservoirs that provide this desolation with some recreation. Most are 10ish-acre impoundments stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and/or rainbow trout, and some have wild bullhead and carp. Each one provides the potential for big fish in small ponds.
It's the epitome of exploratory fishing, lacks bearded and buff-masked flotillas, and holds a piscatorial newness and beauty that's more obvious than you might guess. And my ill-behaved mutt can raise hell as he sees fit. Yes please.
|Clean feet are for waders.|