For those willing and able, wade fishing on the Madison is quite good right now. The Upper is hard to wade with it’s fast water, slick rocks and uneven ground. If you really and truely want to become a better angler, then book a trip – all by yourself – and ask to wade fish. This is what Pete did and he was very happy with how his day went. I was able to give him instruction, demonstrate the right technique and since he payed attention, he caught some nice trout. Pete had the perfect attitude – ” I don’t care if I hook a fish all day, I just want to get better.” That he did. When wade fishing, the drift is all up to the angler – there is no boat and oarsmen to row the drift.
I thoroughly enjoy single angler guide trips. We can sneak around the river and fish water that I would fish it, if I were on my own. No offense to 2 person guide trips, but about half the time (or more) – when I leave an angler on a spot – it is never fished exactly the way I would have fished the spot. The angler’s approach is different, their drifts aren’t alway perfect and then I have left their side unable to give pointers. I realize that sounds arrogant, but it’s true. Some of the spots we fish while on walk trips are spots I have fished since the early 90’s…..fish live there…really, they do.
What Pete understood, is that his time on the river is very important to him. He really wanted to learn something and didn’t care about catching fish. Therefore, he caught more fish. If you are serious about fly fishing and want to be guided – book the trip by yourself. You will get more for your money resulting in you becoming a better angler. While on the trip, if something comes up which you don’t understand, then ask the guide to demonstrate the technique. Watch the guide closely as they fish. Rarely does any client get to watch a professional fish – this is a huge learning experience. I can’t tell you how much I have learned from watching others – good anglers – fish. Good anglers fish second nature – which means they fish enough for their techniques to become second nature. They don’t have to think about stripping in the slack or putting the line back under their finger……they glance at the line to see where it is in respect to the fly and upcoming currents, noticing the point where the fly will drag……they make the right cast the first time or miss short or wide as to not spook the fish…..they move upstream with awareness of everything around them. And, most of the time, a good angler won’t miss the strike.