Cool evenings, dropping water temps, and a hand full of beatis . Just a few of signs that fall is just around the corner. This week, south west Montana has seen the weather begin to shift into autumn like conditions, and the trout have been responding appropriately.
Quick Yellowstone river fishing report. This week Yellowstone Park has seen a fair amount of rain and has sent several mud plugs through the Paradise valley. If you have your heart set on the Stone, look for water with at least two feet of visibility. For me, flashy streamers with a big lightning bug dropper have been key to finding fish in the dirty water. Also, water temps have been a little cooler and the fish aren't so desperate to hold in the deep fast stuff.
Big things are happening here in south west Montana. Salmon Flies, Golden Stones, and Caddis on the upper Madison and theYellowstone have anglers pounding the banks with foam, feather, and fur. If bobbers are your thing, the nymphing has been outstanding later in the afternoon after the trout have lost interest in dry flies and quit looking up.
Just a quick report before I run out the door. Yesterday I floated the Yellowstone with hopes of finding trout eating beatis in the back waters and eddies, but the sun quickly snuffed that idea out. So it was all nymphs and dead drifted streamer for most of the day.
Today I took my trout starved wife, Sarah, to the Madison for a few hours of fishing in the Varney bridge area. After being on the water for an hour or so, Sarah rolled a rock and found a good half dozen small stoneflys and one large one. Sure enough, a little brown rubber leg was the ticket to fooling several nice sized fish. Spring is here and the trout are shifting out of their winter habits.
Yesterday I took Mary Seed and her son Miles to the lower Madison for my first guide trip of the 2013 season. Miles caught his fist fish on the fly on his third cast of the day. Not a bad way to start the season. But the lower being the sensitive stretch of river that it is, the fishing slowed down when the sun popped out an hour or two after putting in. That's when the guessing game of "what fly will the eat now" began. I found no consistency in what they would take.
It's getting late in the summer and the trout are getting smart. They've seen hundreds of drift boats, thousands of foam grasshoppers, and an army of gortex clad wade fishermen. But this doesn't mean the fish are uncatchable.
Thanks to all of the big bug crazed fisherman running to the upper Madison, the lower was almost void of anglers and full of cooperative trout. Nothing much has changed, bead heads and buggers. The White Miller caddis were coming pretty heavy when we were pulling off the river tonight.
The lower Madison is still fishing really well as long as you get out before the inner tubers start bumbling aimlessly down stream. The summer floaters have decided the the water is warm enough to invade the river. Get out early, and if you can, try to fish on the week days for peace and quiet. This week, bead heads seemed to be the ticket.
Rain, warm days, cold nights, back to rain, and then back to warm days. Combine that with river levels being spiked 500 cfs every day for 5 days straight and then dropped 1000 cfs two days later, and you get fish with a serious case of lock jaw. Those sort of inconsistent conditions are a night mare for fishermen looking for trout on the lower Madison, especially when it's the only fishable water in the area.