Madison County, Montana, July 7, 2013
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After spending a few hours doing the grand tour of most of the fly fishing shops in West Yellowstone, we packed the car, fueled up on coffee and Cokes then fished for a few hours on the Upper Madison River before we headed for Ennis, Mont., and our eventual destination--the Missouri River at Craig.

Following directions given to us from employees at several fly shops in West Yellowstone as well as advice from a couple of guide friends, we found ourselves gearing up in a small dirt parking lot about one mile down a narrow dirt road below a campground.
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Other anglers were already fishing the area, a couple of cars were already in the lot and two of them had drift boats attached, but we could not see anyone so we assumed they either went upstream or down and since we weren’t planning to make a day of it we staked a claim to a section of the river and began fishing.
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Jin handed me a fly he bought at Jacklyn’s shop in West Yellowstone--a size 16 caddis. I tied it on and after tow casts I hooked what was probably one of the smallest juvenile brown trout ever caught on the Madison River. But that’s how it went for the rest of the time. I would get strikes, but they always turned out to be very small fish. Jin had better luck casting a Salmon fly and he landed a pretty decent rainbow that boiled up on the fly right across the river from where I was fishing. And Tom and Jack were having fun pounding Whitefish. It turned out that the water was already pushing 65 degrees on the Madison River, this and somewhat murky water from a massive thunderstorm the previous night had put the trout down for the day.

We put an end to our fishing expedition around 1:30pm and headed to Ennis.
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EQUIPMENT: We used fast action 4 and 5 weight rods with floating lines and gentle tapers. Leaders were 12 to 14 feet long with tippets measuring between 24 inches to three feet in length. Flies were in the size 14 to 18 range. It is best to stop at a local fly shop first to see what’s hatching on the river.

LOCATION: The Madison River is 183 miles long and meets with the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers to form the Missouri River. The Madison originates in northwestern Wyoming at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers and flows west then north through the mountains of southwestern Montana to join the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers at Three Forks. The Madison River, from Madison Junction to Three Forks, is classified as a blue ribbon trout fishery and is one of the most productive streams for rainbow and brown trout.