“The only constant is change” has been the theme for fishing the last week or so, with rising and falling river flows, drastic temperature changes, and varying degrees of water clarity. Overall, fishing has been quite good, but that too has had its variances.
The latest stretch of trips began on May 13 with Gunnar Folsom guiding his client, Steve, into some nice trout. They found success with streamers and Stonefly nymphs. An interesting highlight of the day was the discovery of a large Salmonfly nymph under the rocks; a precursor of the next evolution of the season.
On May 14, Dan and Marty snuck away from the shop for a day, with local artist and streamer designer extraordinaire Bern Sundell. A cold North wind blew stiff all day, and the water was quick and cloudy from a partial runoff, which kept fisherman away in droves. The trio didn’t care about the conditions, and neither did the fish. It was a great day for streamer fishing, and while they met a handful of friends at the launch, they floated 17 miles without another boat in sight.
The day produced many nice fish; mostly Browns, with a few Rainbows caught mostly toward the end of the float. Some strikes were hard, but most were softer due to the water temp in the low 40s. The cold water also made the fish less willing to chase, so a near dead-drift with twitches worked as opposed to stripping the streamers. The key to finding the fish in the quick, colored water was simple; find slower water. Fish were stacked in the expected spots; against the bank, behind the rocks, etc.
Multiple streamers were thrown, but the fish were particular on colors, striking only olive or olive/black. The far-and-away best streamer of the day was the Delektable Double Screamer, Black/Olive, Gold Belly.
On May 21, the day started with Dan and Capt. Marty working on a project together in the fly shop. The electricity “magically” went down and the job was finished with flashlights. Then the lightbulb in Dan’s head went off; no power, no work – casting break!
Off he went behind the shop in the 2,900 CFS flow, and a couple nice fish slammed the Delektable Double Screamer in Black/Olive as he field-tested the shop’s new 9-foot, 6/7-weight Presidential rod.
He jumped back into his rig and drove above Windy Point and fished a 9-foot, 5/6-weight Rocket Launcher with a double nymph rig of Delektable Flashback Hurless Stone and Delektable Flashback Mega Prince. The combo caught Browns, Rainbows and Grandpa’s favorite; lunker Whitefish.
The trip was on the third Saturday of May, which made it very special; Dan and his late dad, “Grandpa” to everyone, would always fish the upper Madison on the third Saturday in May. And thanks to the power shortage and the cooperative lunker Whiteys, Dan could hear Grandpa saying, “I need the net now!”
Also on May 21, new shop worker Emmett and his dad hoped to avoid the dirt, so they decided to head up river to just below Hebgen Lake. The previous evening the fish were rising, but thunder ended the trip.
Above Cabin Creek, the water was nice and clear, even though the rain was torrential. Emmett fished streamers while his dad was fished nymphs. In the continued rain, the rises of the previous evening weren’t to be found, except for the occasional leap. Lots of people were fishing the only 300 yards of river that wasn’t off-color in the vicinity, so the fishing was challenging.