working it deep.
We rolled out of West Yellowstone around 10 am and had a beautiful drive through the Madison Valley. Windows down, coffee in hand and drift boat in tow. We saw four eagles, more elk and two large herds of antelope. We showed up to Varney and there were 5 boats and a 4 pontoons already in the water. Not too many boats, but we were hoping for less. Avoiding the weekends is a good idea if you want to eliminate some of the boat traffic. This was by far the earliest we have ever floated the Madison River above Ennis in a driftboat. Most years, it is too snowy and cold to float before April. Not to mention the snow on the boat ramps that makes it a bit hard on getting a boat out. NOT THIS YEAR.
This one at a #6 Rubber-leg stonefly.
We fished hard out of the boat, but there were areas that fished better if we got out to wade. We could tell if someone had fished the run before us. Instead of hooking 4 or 5 per hole, we would only get one or none. There were midges coming off, but not much eating them on this windy day. We checked several side channels, saw a small fish rise, but didn’t feel like changing flies. Should’a, could’a, would’a…..didn’t.
There are trout eating flies and if you work at, they will eat them more often. Stoneflies, SJWs, flies with pink them…..egg patterns, midges, etc. We found fish on the banks in the green buckets, but not everytime. We found browns mid river behind rocks and rainbows in the seems of islands down deep. Quality mending is key……and setting the hook on the slightest of takes was important. If the bobber slowed up in deep water, we set the hook. Trout don’t move too far in cold water to eat your fly. SET THE HOOK.
Floater’s note: While there is fishy water below 8 mile, the river is a bit low (704 cfs) to float down there. Watch out for those gravel bars!
Nice one Mic!