Over the past 10 days, our weather has been a crazy as it gets. The Big Hole dropped 4000 cfs and then jumped 7000 cfs in three days. Snow, wind, all day rain and a little sunshine – but not much of the latter, is to blame for Montana’s crazy flows. My 10 day stint up on the Missouri was top notch. The Chicken Boys had some unreal nymphing and once again were a joy to fish with – Thanks guys, see ya next year. The double dirt snake rig crushed’em below the Prickly Pear and deep nymphing with sow bugs and baetis nymphs was spot on. Some folks from Quincy, Bob and his grandson Luke, hit it right. The weather was as wet as the river, but the trout were very hungry. Personally, I don’t live by the body count style of guiding, but Luke wanted to count on his last day of fishing, so we did. He landed 15 and hooked another 18. While I love teaching beginners to fish, it can be very refreshing to row down the river and net fish all day long. When I left the Missouri yesterday afternoon, the Prickly Pear was as big as I have ever seen it – 2500 cfs – about the same flow is coming out of Hebgen Dam right now.
On my way home from Craig, Montana, I stopped at Reynolds Pass for a look see. The Madison is brown with about 6-8 inches of visibility. Even with these high flows and off color water, I managed to land a fat brown after about 30 mintutes of nymphing a rubber leg and lighnting bug. The Madison is pretty scary right now and wading this river is not something one should think about for too long. Wade fishing soft spots along the banks is easy enough and will produce if you keep at it. The Madison is void of anglers and that is something which doens’t happen too often. Below the West Fork, the Madison is completely blown out. With any luck, the river will be fishable by the first week of July. Cross your fingers for a green Madison and Salmonflies.
This afternoon I took a spin into Yellowstone National Park and checked out the Firehole. The rain showers stopped late yesterday afternoon and today was very nice with sunshine and warmer weather. The Firehole is on the drop ( down 800 cfs from two days ago) and I found a few fishing willing to rise. Where, you ask? Can’t and won’t tell ya. Get out and search around. Rising trout are hard to come by this time of year and those who know where they are, won’t tell a soul….not even my wife knows exactly where I was when I was late to Madison Junction. Note to self – when one’s wife is riding her bike from West to the Junction, dont be late…..I failed to remember that it gets cold once the sun drops below the mountains. Opps, sorry honey…….fish on the brain…..again. God bless the wives of fishing guides.