Saturday, July 7, 2012

Southwest Montana

Montana '12

The anticipation had built in my mind for quite some time. My chance had finally come to explore some of the better trout fishing waters this country has too offer. We wasted no time when our plane touched the ground. Every second would be precious on this trip and we wanted to conserve every bit of it for fishing. We took off down the Madison Valley. With mountain peaks lining each side of the valley the beautiful Madison river effortlessly carved through the middle. As we made it down to the middle fork of the madison river we set up camp and headed out to the river. The wading was quite different than what I was used to back home, as the water was often quick and sometimes deep. We still managed some success in the couple hours before dark. I hooked up with a couple rainbows, and Mike pulled in our first Madison River brown trout. The next morning we awoke early to try our luck at a different area of the river. We had somehow perfectly timed our trip to match up with the famous salmonfly hatch, which brings hoards of people to the Madison river each year. Big fish on big dry flies! Hard to beat! We each threw on our flies and tried our luck. It took some time to figure out how to fish the water. The quick current threw a different dynamic at us than we were anticipating. We soon concentrated our efforts on the banks. This method proved highly effective as we began to catch and miss numerous fish. I missed one good fish in a deeper run on the bank, catching a glimspe of his side, just to see him dart up stream. Mike got us started catching a couple browns. Shortly after, I hooked up with what would have been my signature fish of the trip. But it broke me off after a short fight only to leave me wondering what could have been. Then came the night. I have never seen anything like the hatches that go on in the evenings on the Madison river. Around 7:00 masses of caddisflies would hatch. Almost so much many they would cloud your view at times. This is when the fishing really turned on for us! Mike caught a very nice brown and I got a hold of a healthy rainbow slab. Danny lost a GOOD rainbow after he chased him downriver for about 50 yards. During midday we had dropped up onto the middle fork of the madison where Danny got a hold of a nice brown. Almost every run had a fish, and they were hungry too. Sizes were smaller but it made for some fast action in the midday when the larger river cooled off a bit. The next couple days we tried our luck in the park on the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison rivers, and also a short stint at Slough creek which was still running high. Timing seemed to be the issue in some places. We noticed early morning and evening were of course our most productive times. So to give a fair shot to the Gibbon and Firehole we fished them midday with only one brown to show for. However we tore it up on the Madison river. Each of us pulled in a number of brown trout over 15 inches. It was our most productive stretch of water of the trip. And tough to leave, but we wanted to sneak in a short amount of time at Slough Creek. Mike worked a quicker run at Slough for a while and managed to hook up with a fat slab Cutt! Ended up being the biggest fish of our trip I believe. We ended the trip with some time on the big boy. Without a driftboat we feared the Yellowstone River would be a lost cause, but we couldnt go all that way and not throw a line in. What we found out was quite the opposite. Wading was fairly simply in spots and we had very good luck. We pulled in a number of Cutts and Cuttbows, headlined by Danny's catch out of a smaller channel breakoff from the main stretch of water. We wrapped up the morning and gased it back to airport, with five minutes to spare to check our bags. Plenty of time in the Bozeman, MT airport. The trip was well worth the time, and provided an experience that we will never forget. Below are a few pics from the trip, but many are still on there way, along with the video I will produce in the near future. Til Next time...


Mike fishing the Firehole
Camground just outside of Yellowstone in Montana
Throwing a line to the banks
Nice Madison River Brown Trout
Surverying the options
Brown is the color
Slough Creek
Finally casting in a line on the Yellowstone River
Nice pull from a some channel of the Stone
Healthy Yellowstone Cutt pull by Danny