June was superb on the Madison and thus far, July has proven to be the same. The Madison River float stretch has been kinda busy, but not like some may think. With all rivers in south west Montana fishing really well right now, the Madison is seeing limited pressure. The wade Stretch is more popular, but if one wants some solitude, just head down to the float stretch. On the 4th of July, I was one of three boats that floated down to Ruby Creek and for most of the day we never saw another boat. Yesterday was slightly busier, with most of the boats hanging high from Lyons to Palisades. Lyons Bridge has been busy around 9-10 am, as expected, so don’t show up then and think you’ll be alone.
I was lucky enough to fish with these two fellas from Georgia this past week for a couple of days. They get out and fish on their own quite a bit and I could tell with in seconds of handing them a fly rod. Reach cast? No problem. Slack line mending? No Problem. Accurately cast small dry flies in just the right spot? No problem. Chuck streamers in the rain? No problem. These guys made my day on the oars easy……of course, the fish cooperated as well and we all had a ton of fun.
The Madison is fishing as well as it ever does…..as good as it did before Hebgen Dam failed back in 2008. We have received a blessing yesterday and today, in the form of rain, hail and some high country snow, so that will help keep the river cool for a little while longer. Cabin, Beaver and Moose Creeks all blew mud Friday afternoon, that means cold water folks! The powers that be (FWP and PP&L) have bumped the flows out of Hebgen Dam to 606 cfs over the past few days and the Kirby Gauge is running 850 cfs due to the rain and snow up high. While this is a little more like normal, it’s not entirely normal out there on the river. The flows are better, that’s for sure. The water is getting warm and with the heat wave this past week coupled with low flows, the river was not cooling down over night. Hebgen is not yet full either and full pond will be tough to manage unless it continues to rain for the next month. The Dam repairs are on going and water will continue to flow off the top of the lake for this summer and next. Get on the river early and get off the river early – that’s the name of the game right now and for the rest of season. Of course, the late evening dry fly angling has been really good as well and that’s hard to miss.
Listen up anglers – fight those fish fast and get’em back in the river as quick as possible. My boat has been pulling over for every single fish, in order to let them go by the bank in the calm water. The bigger fish have needed a little help, so please give it to them. I have not been allowing many photographs of fish to be taken on guide trips as the stress of fighting them is taking it’s toll. We all love photographs, but not at the expense of dead trout. Revive them!
Tomorrow, I’m headed up the Missouri for 5 days of guide trips. Jin and the Boys are in town….fun will be had by all.