Big & White

Upon asking several friends the question, “what streamer can you not live with out in Argentina?”.

I received this answer – “big & white”.

Madison River Fishing Report 02.19.2013

Today was the day.  You missed it, actually just about everybody missed it.  Fortunately for you, there will be a few more days like this one….maybe.  By chance, I had the day off and ran to Ennis to take care of life.   After a quick stop at the Madison River Fishing Company, I got on down the road and headed for the river.  A south wind was cranking on Cameron flats as I drove towards West Yellowstone.  I stopped at Windy Point and aired the dogs – still windy, always is.  Heading upstream, along the wade stretch of the Madison an unusual thing happened – the wind laid down.  It was noon, 35 degrees and hardly a breeze was blowing.  Speeding up to Reynolds Pass and only seeing two other rigs, I quickly wadered up and grabbed both rods.  One can always use two fly rods in the winter as re-riggin for nymphs is a pain in the ass.

FYI – if you don’t take two rods, the wind will surely blow, then lay down for thirty minutes, blow again once more and then lay down again.

Walking along the banks of the river, midges were tumbling and clustering up, I walked faster.   Nearly breaking a sweet, I finally made it to a likely spot for rising fish.  The slick was packed with heads, so I sat down to observe and tied on my new #16 Compara-buzz (shown below and recently picked up by MFC).  My first cast was sloppy, it skated and then got slammed by a ten inch rainbow.  Both rainbow and brown trout were throwing themselves at the fly today, some of which taped out at 16-18 inches…..they rose like it was July.  The river was alive.

Luck was on my side this afternoon, as it’s a rare day for the wind to stop blowing once it has started.  Better to be lucky than good.

So true

But fly fishing possesses a timeless quality. No matter how long you fish, there is always more to learn, new water to seek out, new flies to try and fish to catch. You can never fish it all. You can never know it all. Anyone who claims to is a damn fool.

Jake McGlothlin

Madison River Fishing Report 01.19.2013

Took a drive down to the Madison Valley this afternoon, hoping for minimal wind and 20 degree temps.   The wind was up, just enough, to make the 25 degree weather feel like it was 10.  After walking down to $3 Bridge from the highway, I noticed a rig in the parking lot next to the old sign in box.  Driving down to $3 is not a wise decision this time of the year. The snow pack is not too deep, but the wind is the biggest factor here.  There are two spots where drifts can build up and stick a rig.  You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone willing to come down there and drag you out.  The road base is pretty solid, and since it stayed cold, the road was passable.  However, this is risky business.  I never drive down there this time of the year…..

After carrying two rods down to the river, hoping for risers and not wanting to change out nymphs for dries, I rigged up the Freestone 906 and got to nymphing with a rubber leg and a zebra.  As expected, the angling was pretty good.  Our Madison River trout occupy some sexy water on during the winter.  As most of you know, there are not that many deep and slow runs, so watching a bobber is not akin to watching paint dry.  The takes are a bit more subtle, as you should expect, but the fish are hot – jumping and running their way around the river.  I caught a mixed bag of browns, rainbows and mountain whitefish, nothing smaller than 10 inches and not one fish was over 15 inches.  Never did see a rise, but with the wind cranking up, most of bugs were blown into the bank and unable to sit on the water long enough.

Madison River Flows

below Hebgen: 1110 cfs

@ Kirby Ranch: 1160 cfs

Madison River Temperatures

below Hebgen: 35.5 – 36.5 degrees

@ Kirby Ranch: 33 – 37 degrees, however there was a cold spell this past week where it rarely got over 34 degrees.

Forty-six below

Fifty years ago, only a few hearty souls lived in West Yellowstone year-round.  The reason?  Because of temps like this.  Tim Daly, a true local, once told me a story of going house to house, with snow banks to the roof,  looking for milk at 50 below.  Milk came via airplane about twice a month, if I remember that right….fresh veggies arrived the same way…..fresh veggies meaning potatoes and onions.   Remember this – a vegetable is defined as an edible plant or part of an edible plant, and Idaho has lots of them.

While looking out the window this morning, with coffee in hand, the sun blasting the snow made me feel warm and fuzzy.  Then I went outside to grab a few more logs for the wood stove (our only heat) and felt the air smack my wet nose and throat – it made me cough.  No fishing today, however, it may be time to run through all the stupid little clear hockey pucks full of flies and get an inventory on what needs to be churned out from the tying bench.

These cold days bring memories of summer – feet wet from wading, sun gloves wrapped around my hands, floating down the river just above the Cameron Flats and waiting for that brown to explode from the river – hooked to angler in the bow of my boat.  Said angler is always surprised when this happens, yet we are fishing. That is why fishing is so damn fun.  It takes your mind off everything, relaxes one to the nth degree and allows one to be surprised by what you are trying to accomplish.

Summer is coming…….but who knows when.

2013 – A Thank You

First off, Happy New Year from West Yellowstone, Montana.

The past 12 months was filled with wonderful memories on and off the river.  Thanks to those of you who diligently return to fish with Big Sky Anglers each season, and to those first timers who trust in our word, we continue to thrive in this competitive fly fishing world.   With out the support of you – the reader, the traveling angler and our own families, BSA would not exist.   So, hats off to all of you!  We appreciate it more than you will ever know.

While sleeping sitting on the couch the past couple of days, I have been running through photos from the past year.  I picked a few…… I hope you enjoy.