Back on the Madison River

Nearly three months of Montana and it is beginning to feel like the end is near. I’m back on the water I started at, The 50 Mile Riffle.

If I were to do it over from the start I would have been up here at the beginning of June at the latest.  It seems like the Summer blew past and now I’m having to confront my lack of planning. Where to go from here? Where is my next paycheck going to come from?

I don’t have to worry just yet. Instead I’ll look back and list the famous (and not so famous) Montana waters I’ve spent time on this year.

  1. Madison River (Quake Lake to Kirby)
  2. Cliff Lake
  3. Ennis Lake
  4. Grassy Lake (near Axolotl lakes)
  5. Ruby River (Below dam)
  6. Ruby Reservoir
  7. Homestake Lake
  8. Silver Bow Creek
  9. Georgetown Lake
  10. Clarks Fork River
  11. Rock Creek
  12. Blackfoot River
  13. Monture Creek
  14. North Fork Blackfoot River
  15. Boulder River (near town of Boulder)
  16. Hyalite Lake
  17. Gallatin River (Stormcastle/Lava lake/Taylor Fork)
  18. Taylor Fork River
  19. Madison River (Raynolds Pass, again)
  20. Lamar River (Wyoming, Yellowstone)
  21. Missouri River (below Holter dam to Craig)
  22. Limbergh Lake
  23. Swan River
  24. North Fork Flathead River
  25. St. Mary’s Lake (Glacier National Park)
  26. Middle Fork Flathead River
  27. Blodgett Creek (Bitterroot tributary)
  28. Bitterroot River
  29. Big Hole River
  30. Beaverhead River
  31. Poindexter Slough (near Dillon)
  32. Clark Canyon Reservoir
  33. Ennis Lake (again)
  34. Madison River (Valley Garden)

Not all of them were winners and a few were outright stinkers (looking at you Rock Creek). A few had me walking  away with zero fish even showing themselves, let alone grabbing my fly. Several resulted in one or two small fish, which I always prefer to an outright skunk. The Missouri River was the best, once I figured out the Trico game. The Madison was great in early July, but no so much now that it is September.  The Big Hole had some high moments but the Beaverhead can go right to hell.  Seriously, it’s a ditch by the interstate!

Hopefully the Madison will have a great run of big browns up into Yellowstone and I can depart Montana on a high and happy note. We’ll see.

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