Sometimes, the greatest joy of flyfishing is the solitude that can be found on one’s favorite waters. Other times, it’s found in the camaraderie of a group of friends, sharing in a joyous experience. The latter was the case recently. Our shop had the pleasure of guiding a dozen friends for four days, along with four of their wives one day, for some great times on the Madison River. The group was part of a “retreat” of sorts, hosted by a local ranch owner, client, and friend of the shop. Following the business of the gathering each morning, the group headed to the river for some afternoon fishing.
The fishing was, honestly, spotty, as afternoon thunderstorms conspired against the bug hatches and slowed the bite. But everyone caught fish, including the first-timers, and everyone left with huge smiles and great memories.
Thanks guys (and ladies!) for a lot of fun on the river. Good company with great clients is always the best part of our job. “Marty the Montajun”
While the bug hatches did slow a bit causing dry fly fishing to be a bit weak, the nymph game was all right if you had a rotation and weren’t afraid to stop A LOT and change your rigs. PMD nymphs, Hogan’s red headed stepchild’s, and P.T.’s both standard and soft hackle all in 16’s and 18’s were all great bugs during the rain. I was fishing these either in conjunction with each other or dropped off of one of Dan’s special redback sz.14 GB CN Superflash Yellow Sally nymph’s.
When fishing small nymphs (or small dries) in tandem, I like to fish the bugs eye to eye so as not to create unwanted drag on the first bug. Just take the tippet about to be used for your dropper and instead of tying the tippet to the hook of the lead fly, tie it to the eye of the first fly. Tight lined through the mid-depth and shallow riffles in the middle of the river, fish seemed to be chasing the nymph rigs as emergers, however dead drifted through the deeper rock channels next to rocks was also deadly. And, while two small nymphs were the only real option in strong gusts of wind, hail and lightning, after the storms had subsided the dries did tend to pick up a bit; mainly the rusty spinners. Since we were doing late afternoon floats (4-9 p.m.) we would get a chance to fish the rusty spinner fall from 7-9. A sz.16 or 18 rust colored mayfly fished in the rock slicks or on the bank, behind a trude, became a great tactic and picked up a few good fish. If the spinner wasn’t working, I would trade it out for a sz.14 gray Delektable halo emerger or olive sparkle bug to match the caddis, which were also either in their spinner phase or had been knocked down by the rain.