It was one of those rare Montana summer days, bright sunshine, warm temps, no wind. Me and One Fly and Lonnie were guiding a group of retired business execs from St. Louis. Fishing was pretty good in the morning…me and Lonnie were doing well using trudes and yellow Sallys, while One Fly’s angler caught a couple of beauties using a #8 Prince Nymph, 2X, no dropper, no bobber, tumbled not twitched.
We floated past the Rail Fence Hole and tucked back in a side channel is a white drift boat with a man and woman sitting there having a snack. I get closer and they wave. I wave back. It is the couple from San Francisco who were in the Wagon Wheel the day of the fight.
Their boat had a rainbow peace sign stenciled on the bow.
I finished the trip and headed for the Wagon Wheel and called Butch the Game Warden-asked him to come down for a cold one.
The Shewmaker fire was still the hot topic around Town. The final tab came to $28,680… the landowner, sheriff and the county wanted answers and wanted someone to pay. Butch the Game Warden met with me and Skeeter at a back table in the bar. He told us the sheriff was convinced that we set the fire and he was ready to come down with charges and lock us up for arson. They had evidence; the fire starter can, the cooler lid and they knew we were on the river that day. Also, supposedly they had “eye witnesses.”
I told Butch, “Look, our crew had nothing to do with this. Give me 24 hours. I have an idea.”