Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reflections of Summer

Summer is officially over, for the first time since last winter I froze my ass off while out fishing.  It wasn't extremely cold but I was still in summer mode and did not dress as warmly as I should have.  The fishing was good, but I am already missing those golden days of summer.  As I stood in the rapidly cooling water, with melting snow slowly dripping down my neck, thoughts drifted back to warm sunlit days on the Madison River.

Three Dollar Bridge can get a little crowded (by Montana standards, not New Jersey) on a July afternoon but the fishing can be remarkably good.  I will usually walk a distance from the parking areas before fishing, but on this day I just walked to the river bank and started fishing my way upstream.  No doubt, fishing in the footsteps of many anglers who proceeded me.  It did not seem to make a difference though.  The fish came very regularly to small nymphs drifted through likely looking lies.

Some big...

Some small...

But they were plentiful and in a 100 yards of river I bagged a dozen or more fish under a blazing mid day sun. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  But there were signs that this section of river is maybe seeing too much angling activity.  More than once I observed fish that should signs of being hooked a few times. Then I caught this emancipated looking fellow.

More snake than trout, not a very healthy looking fish, I doubt it survived the summer.  This was the only day we fished that section of river.  After that we looked for water off the beaten track to give these fish a break.  More anglers should do the same.  The Madison is a big river with fish everywhere.  It still amazes me how many people (myself included) flock to this particular place, and how good the fishing could be inspite of it all.

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