The Varney Bridge on the Madison River is coming down. No, its not because of floods, or fire, or vandalism. The bridge is just too old!
Work has begun to dismantle and replace this old icon. This bridge was born In 1897. The structure was supported by a mid-river pier that will be removed. Ice has built up during spring run off and closed the bridge in the past. The single lane bridge is 12 feet wide. The new bridge will have 2 lanes. The 2-foot shoulders will also have guardrails attached.
The bridge is named after Osmond Varney who lived in Virginia City. Varney owned a business that transported goods in SW Montana. He eventually owned a famous horse ranch that boasted 5000 acres and 10,000 horses!
Perhaps the most popular drift along the Madison River is from MacAtee Bridge to Varney. This 13-mile float flows through what may be the best trout water in the world. During the salmon fly hatch in late June, parking and open areas to fish are at a premium.
The bridge will be replaced with a newer and more modern bridge. You will no longer get to climb up into the bridges infrastructure and jump off. The old boards will no longer creek and crack. The background and ambience of this old bridge will no longer be a destination for wedding pictures.
The fish won’t care. They will still enjoy shade and structure. Toward the tail of the long pool below the boat ramp, trout will continue to rise and feed.
There is a rock on the west side near where the water flows into another pool. This rock has my boat paint and name on it. For some stupid reason, it is the rock I always seem to hit. I hope they remove this stupid rock from just below the bridge.
Please keep the new bridge Graffiti Free!
For more Montana Grant, find him getting ready to drift at www.montanagrantfishing.com.