Monday, September 14, 2009
At this time of year when chill morning air and shortening days signify a transition from summer to fall, I find myself caught between seasons. On one hand I'd like to be roaming the high country, flushing blue grouse and learning the haunts of wapiti. On the other hand there is some fine fishing to be had right now. I've managed to do a bit of both, but the fishing has been winning out of late.
Over the past week or so I've had some incredible fishing in SW Montana. The upper Madison (wade section) was particularly kind to me. In fact one fish from that stretch of water is still haunting me. It started out no differently than the other half dozen trout I'd landed over the previous hour, my indicator hesitated and I set the hook, but this one felt different. The fish immediately gave a couple of head shakes and then held tight in the current, wouldn't budge, it made no play, no run. I suspected that this was a big fish, I pressed my luck and perhaps unwisely put the pressure on it to make an upstream run (vs. downstream) and wouldn't you know it, the size 18 serendipity popped out, I nearly cried.
Since then I've been fishing the Gallatin, my home water now that I'm living in Bozeman. I'm still learning the river, but have had some good days over the past week. I've worked some great looking runs up in the canyon recently with varying success both on top and drifting nymphs deep. Terrestrials are still in play here and along with caddis and mayflies have the fish looking up. Of course going deep will pad your numbers a bit and will bump up the average size of your catch. Double bead stoneflies trailed by a small shop vac or pheasant tail have been doing the trick.
As I drive to and from fishing destinations, passing the trailheads leading into the high country, I'm torn. The day will come soon when I bid adieu to summer, leaving the rivers behind and journeying into the mountains in which they are born.
Posted by Will Jordan at 10:54 AM