Big Brown Trout

The angling around SW Montana and Eastern Idaho is pretty damn good.   Things have been so busy lately with guiding, that I have needed to neglect almost everything else.   Tis’ the season, I guess, but it stills feels like we are a month behind with Mother Nature.  It’s just starting to feel like summer and my mind keeps telling me it’s more like early June than early July.  We had a 38 degree morning a few days ago. 

Fat and Healthy. Fooled by a dry fly.

After a day of guiding, a few of us drove back to the river for an evening float on the Henry’s Fork south of Ashton.  Trav (above) stuck this one on a Golden.  This river is so impresive right now.  Bugs, bugs and more bugs.  Fat trout too.   At this rate, the Fork around Ashton will continue to fish for awhile.  Harriman Ranch has been super good as well on Flavs, early and late are key for rising trout.  The Ranch is quite good these days and  I would have to say that the Henry’s Fork is fishing like it used to.  Hand’s down some of the best dry fly activity anywhere right now. 

This one at a Grey Drake Spinner.

Waiting for the hatch. H. Fork.

The Madison River has dropped significantly the past few days and is fishing really well sub surface.  It is not quite green enough for fish to rise, but that is coming soon enough.  There are lots of nice fish eating stoneflies, caddis, and may fly imitations.  Short rigs – 4 to 5 feet in total length – fished to the bank, out of the boat proved to be very deadly today for us.  We had four rubber legs for most of the day.  All those little trout from last summer have grown up and are fiesty.  There are salmonflies on the river, but the fish are not looking up that well at all.  I heard only one report of someone landing a few trout on the Big Bug and we tried it for awhile this afternoon from the Swallow’s Cliffs to Mac.  Only one smal trout took a look.  I saw decent number of salmonflies upstream of Ruby Creek, but not that many.  Any day now….maybe 5,  for dry fly angling.   Beaver Creek, Pappose Creek and Indian Creek are still blowing mud.  I have’t been below Mac yet……when the guides from Ennis are floating high, that means something. 

Floating the Madison. Hooked up.

 The Madison is still pretty big and floaters need to be aware of their skills before drifting this river.  Getting under the bridges is a piece of cake, but Wolf Creek Bridge is still a bit sketchy for novice oarsmen.  Letting go of the oars right now is not a good idea.  Dropping anchor in the middle of the river is ALWAYS a stupid idea.  Especially right now.  I am always amazed when I see boaters drop their hook in the middle of the Madison and bounce along trying to net a fish or re-rig.  Wake up people, sinking a boat sucks…

These are so nice. My favorite.

 Here at Big Sky Anglers we are super jazzed up about the season’s angling possibilities.  Dry fly fishing is just around the corner, with the exception of the Missouri and the Yellowstone, and we are very busy.  August is going to be fabulous on the Madison and the waters of YNP.    This is going to be one of those summers around SW Montana.  Are you coming?  You should.  I would.