By the time I got to the river- and yes, it is in southern Montana--the skies were the color of lead, but the wind and snow had quit, and the temperatures were edging above freezing. We rigged up and headed upstream, in the clear light of mid-day, with a snow squall off in the high country, but a thin sun coming down on us like a blessing. I didn't care if there weren't any bugs showing, or even if the fishing on big streamers and nymphs was tough. It felt so good to be out after a grueling winter that it was all could do to keep from bursting into song. But on top of all that, we actually got into them. Corey took one right away on a nymph and my first fish whacked a big weighted sculpin pattern, swung deep through a cold green line of current that had scoured out a channel under some old willows. Later, the sun came out strong enough to set off a hatch--Corey called them March Browns--and a few fat squalls appeared, flying slow just above the rush of the water. We all caught good fish during that short stretch of warmth, heavy-bodied natives rushing a floating Adams, rods bowed, whooping and hollering. The cutthroats a deep golden color, black spots, rose bellies, bright arterial blood-red slashes below the gills. Springtime, man. Like the shaggy moose ma and her two leggy young 'uns threading the mud trails in the bottomland thickets, we'd all made it through another winter.