Gallatin and Madison County, Montana, September 19-20, 2009
A report from Jin
Day 1
They say you should always listen to the guide.
My sister came with me to fish the Madison River in Montana. This was her first fly fishing trip and she was having problems mastering the art of the dead drift. Joe Moore, our guide from Big Sky Anglers, took the rod to explain how to cast, mend, and drift the fly naturally over the fish. Of course at the end of this lesson a big rainbow slammed the fly at the end of the drift as he started to pick up line.

Known as the "Fifty Mile Riffle" the Madison River, located in Southwestern Montana, flows at a steady 5 miles per hour making the river easy to fish from a drift boat or by wading. The headwaters of the Madison are formed by the
Firehole River and Gibbon River. The river flows into Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake (which was created by an earthquake in 1959) then begins a 50 mile run to Ennis Lake. This is the famous "Fifty Mile Riffle", a stretch of water that runs cold throughout the year due to water releases from the dam at Hebgen Lake.
Caddis were coming off and the fish were keying on emergers. The twitching and swinging action that normally gets guides upset was just the ticket. We pounded fish for an hour. The boat was less than 50 feet off the ramp. I wish it kept going this way but that was most of the action for the day.

We dry fly fished for rest of the day throwing caddis, ant, and hoppers to picky fish. We landed half a dozen but missed probably two times that number. The fish would come up underneath and suck the fly down. They were so quick we could barely set our hooks.

Day 2
Summer contines in the Madison Valley. Temperatures reaches the high 70's as we spent the day casting to rising fish.

We launched in the wade fishing area in the
upper Madison above Lyons Bridge. It was good to finally get out of the boat and wade the riffles.
Once again, the first slot was the most productive of the day. I landed half a dozen rainbows and whities (whitefish). We could have kept going but decided to move on and fish other water.

After lunch we switched to hoppers and beetles and started getting into fish right away. The trout were keying on the beetles but the take so usually very subtle or slow and deliberate. The larger fish would come up underneath the fly and sip the beetle from underneath. Proper hookset required patience. You have to wait until the fish take the fly and tilts his head down before setting the hook. I ended up being slow with the little ones (missed the strike) or set too quick and pulled the fly out of the fish's mouth. We landed a decent number but had to earn every fish.