The other day I decided to enjoy a weekday afternoon of fly fishing along the Lower Madison River. My plan was to strip streamers and nymph along the east bank near Warm Springs access. The water looked great!
Normally, September is a great time to fly fish Montana. The Summer tubers have stowed their floats for the season. Hunters are afield, tourists have left, school has started, and the water has cooled down. Brown and Brook trout spawn in the Fall which means they chase streamers aggressively.
Like so many great plans, this one went South in a hurry. The parking lot and most pull offs were filled! During the next few hours over 30 drift boats went by. All but a few were guide trips. The Cheery Creek access was also packed.
Fishing was fair. Several browns chased my streamers, but my best luck was using a crayfish pattern. None of my catch was over 16 inches and all but one was missing a lip, scarred, or showed signs of poor Catch and Release. I did catch one Brook trout that was 12 inches. The male Brookie was getting his Fall colors and looked amazing.
I also encountered 3 Rattlesnakes along the bank! The snakes were sunning themselves and started singing when I approached. There were also Bull snakes along the bank.
It was wonderful to hear and feel the water again. Sadly, the “Local Only” time seems to be getting shorter each year. The Madison is a grand Public Fishery. It seems that everything has a price!
Our fisheries are changing. Like it or not, the pressure is increasing and for those of us that remember the past quality of fishing, size and numbers of fish has declined. We all hope for some relief soon. The FWP is hopefully addressing these changes.
Fishing is great but catching…
For more Montana Grant, find him getting ready for ice fishing at www.montanagrantfishing.com.