23 July 2008

Watching the Berkely Pit Fog and Eating Well (and trout fishing) in Butte Montana

We had a tremendous lightning storm and downpour yesterday late afternoon, glad I was off the river for that one. Fishing in the canyon can be excellent during a thunderstorm and with hail etc, for some reason, fish often bite like crazy on anything you put in front of them at that time. But it's a little hair-raising to be standing in 3 feet of water and waving a graphite stick around with lightning bolts crashing on the ridges above and behind you.

Anyway, after the storm we were treated to a unique Butte, Montana, weather phenomenon: Pit Fog. The Berkeley Pit is Butte's notorious toxic lake full of acidic metals-laden mine waste water (click the BP link for a photo). The pit generates another entity, Pit Fog. On cold, still winter mornings, Pit Fog rises up and drags its belly over Butte. Pit Fog also comes alive when the air over the valley (and the pit) cools suddenly, as with yesterday's storm. Here is a view from our front porch in Walkerville of Pit Fog creeping up the Moulton Valley, with the Lexington gallows frame (aka mining head frame) silhouetted at right center:

Reminds me of that line from Yeats' poem, The Second Coming:

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

Well, man (and woman) live not by poetry alone. What's for supper? Fresh Big Hole River trout:

For some years I tried embracing the diehard absolutist catch & release ethic of flyfishing for trout (many days, I still practice the ideal). But, as friends such as Chad Okrusch noticed, I salivate while releasing trout. Yesterday morning, I released nearly all of the trout I caught. But, mouth watering, I could not resist the temptation of two fresh trout and a bottle of chilled white wine (and thou -- that is my wife, Jan Munday). Mmmm good. All of 'em.


troutbirder said...

My goodness that fog and its origin is creepy. I would think Butteians would flee in terror. Lightning also does it for me. Twice, once on Pebble Creek in Yellowstone, and another time between Holter Dam and Wolf Creek in a canoe, we were caught in a very violent lightning storm while the fish were biting like crazy. What a choice!

Anonymous said...

i live on the flats and wonder about the unhealth effects of the fog. in the winter when it gets real cold is the worst.
the EPA always says No Problem. that's what they said about Agent Orange too.