Tonight, the shot guns will slide out of their cases for a once over as the upland season is upon us in just under a week. More ants need to be tied up at the vise and I could probably use a few more boxes of 2 and 3/4 inch number sixes. Tomorrow will be along day in the back country of YNP and I have to prep for that as well. The next three months are an exciting time and perhaps the finest portion of the three hundred and sixty five days I live each year. While I do love winter, nothing compares to a change of a season and Autumn’s turn is spectacular. Aspens on the north shore of Hebgen already have a slight yellowing to their leaves and the river bottom Betwix the Lakes is gorgeous – you should see it.
It’s also that time of the season where an angler’s skill level can make or break their day on the river. While luck is something we all want on our side, from time to time, actually being good at this sport will bring home the bacon. Which really means, the river can fish as good as you can. Sure there are some days when the river is just plain tough, but preparing for your trip is essential with regards to fishing Montana in the fall. You won’t get that second chance on that juicy rainbow taking dries out of a slick. Nor will that fat brown eat your streamer again after you miss-strip on the strip set. Get outside and cast that fly rod folks, it does make a difference, honestly…..it does.
Some anglers believe that the Madison is not a technical river and that one should be able to plop a Royal Wulff along the bank and catch some fish. Not true…..not one bit, especially during the next two months. After a summer full of good and bad drifts, our trout in the Golden Triangle are smart as shit. Fishy anglers who read water and know where the fly should be, before it gets there, will absolutely catch more trout this time of the year. Those that believe in the fly and the river will definitely catch more trout. There are folks out there who don’t believe the Madison holds the ghost anymore. They have some hours on the river, but not the days or weeks or even years on the river that it takes to understand how the Madison works. I’m not saying I have all the time in that it takes to fully understand the Madison, but I get it, or rather I get how it works – put in enough time and the Madison will open up the doors to some unreal fishing.
Most anglers don’t have enough patience these days. They want it now, yet they really don’t know what “it” is. Patience, my friends, is a large percentage of what makes an angler fishy in the first place. Patience is probably the single most important trait an angler can possess. Being patient shows the ability to relax and except the day for what it is – a day on the river. I know for a fact, that when I’m relaxed on the river, that I catch more trout and usually some larger trout show themselves as well. I pay more attention to everything around me when things are at peace in my head. I notice the tiny black ant that blew by and landed near the bank, the subtle change in depth of water that a nice trout will possibly slip into and eat naturals, the slight flash of refusing trout a few feet below the surface and I also forget about the time of day. Sometimes, I don’t even remember what day it is. The next time you find yourself on a piece of river or lake, try to slip into this realm. Forget about everything else and just go fishing.