Last winter we received an over abundance of snow that seemed as if it would never stop falling. All the drainages in the state were well above normal levels. We started our season in April due to the unusual winter and had some good fishing locally. The Missouri River fished really well in mid-May and into June. Around about mid-June, we were in full run off mode statewide.
The Madison is the most heavily used river in the state. From FWP (Fish Wildlife and Parks) numbers.
Over the last four years the upper Madison River has seen a steep increase in use, doubling from 88,000 to 179,000 angler days from 2011 to 2015. Estimates for angler use during 2017 were 207,000 angler days and were obtained from FWP. Outfitted angler days during 2016 and 2017 on the Upper Madison River was 20,018 and 19,662, respectively. The Lower Madison River extends from the outlet of Ennis Lake to the beginning of the Jefferson River. Recreational use numbers on only the lower Madison River were estimated at 750,000 user days during 2017. Outfitted angler days during 2016 and 2017 on the Lower Madison River was 2,284 and 2,724, respectively.
It’s time to bring out the heavy artillery and target those pumpkin colored brown trout that get super aggressive in the fall here in SW Montana. If you are going to be throwing streamers all day it’s best to have the right equipment. Streamer fishing is tough work, but the payoff can be tremendous.
Love them or hate them, they do make a difference for the nymph fishermen. We all enjoy casting dry flies to eager trout, but as we all know trout only eat off the surface a fraction of the time. So, fishing nymphs is a productive way to catch more trout. Using a strike indicator takes nymph fishing to the next level.
There aren’t a lot of knots that you need to know for fly fishing. But there are a few that you need to learn to ensure you have success out on the water. Whether you need to change your fly or replace your fly line, these knots will teach you the basics you need to know. Remember to moisten all your knots before you tighten them to avoid friction heat, which may weaken your connection.
The past few months I have sat in on a few of these committee meetings. They move awfully slow, but they seem to be making some progress on coming up with some suggestions for the Fish and Wildlife commission. It will be interesting to see where this leads.
If you have not been to Bozeman, Montana before, you might be surprised about the amenities for fishermen in the area. It is a college town of about 50,000 residents. It boasts many diverse restaurants for every taste. You can find mom and pop diners to really great steak houses and lots in between.
I can’t wait for spring. The snow has been falling, the polar vortex is blanketing the US, football is over, I officially have cabin fever. I have been sitting at the tying bench cranking out flies and letting my mind wander to days in shorts, rowing down the river soaking up the sun, and looking for trout poking there snouts through the surface and delicately slurping in insects.