We woke this morning to warm temps, broken clouds and sunshine. Looking west past Horse Butte and towards the Madison Valley, the weathter didn’t look so promising. As we rounded the north shore of Hebgen, lots of anglers could be seen fishing the lake. There is still some ice from Kirkwood to the Hebgen Dam, a boat would make it easier to fish the last of Ice Off. Of course there were still anglers inbetwix – it just wouldn’t be right if there werent – but at 9 am the Slide was empty. With about 12+ inches of visibility, the river looked very sexy. Exactly how long this green phase will last is up to Mother Nature. Quake is becoming more brown each day, but if the cold weather sticks around, then the silt won’t come out of the mountains as fast. North of here, near Big Sky, the rain won’t let up. Hwy 287 is closed this afternoon as Greek Creek has blown out of her banks and is flowing over the road.
Normally, we like to float on opening day, but with the rain and northwinds, we opted out and went wading fishing instead. The Madison is dirty, but not blown…..more green than brown. The West Fork is brown, but not flowing all that hard. By 12 o’clock high noon, there were lots of anglers around all the fishing access points, but it wasn’t too hard to find some solitude. $3 Bridge was by far the busiest and the West Fork came in a close 2nd.
We caught our fish on a rubber leg and a fire bead red worm. We did wittness a fish rise to a midge up on the Slide, but didn’t feel like switching the nymph rod out for dry flies. I made about 50 drifts with a large dryfly at everyspot we fished, except the Slide, but not one trout wanted my big fly. Oh well, we tried. Nymphing was good enough and if the Madison had a few more inches of vis, the dry fly bite would have been better.