14 hours ago
Saturday, November 12, 2011
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.
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.