Spontaneous fly fishing trips can be exciting. That’s what I did last week. We decided on a whim to fly fish the Madison River in early July.
I was reading the Blue Ribbon Flies weekly newsletter on Facebook and told my wife how good the fly fishing was supposed to be. We’ve usually made our fly fishing road trips in late July and August and stopped at fly shops to get the latest scoop and hear the following words – “you seem to be between hatches”.
My wife said “we should go and fish when the fishing is supposed to be good”.
Well, we took off two days later for the Madison River.
What did we find? Better dry fly fishing than we usually see.
The fishing gods were smiling down upon us because I was able to find lodging at the very last minute. We split our stay between cabins at Campfire Lodge and Galloup’s Slide Inn.
Staying close to our fly fishing is always the goal and one of the “lessons learned” I wrote about in the post – Lessons Learned from Our Fly Fishing Road Trips.
We fished around $3 Bridge mostly. Our routine was to get up at 6 am, have coffee and a quick bite and be at $3 Bridge by 6:45. Here’s what it looks like at that hour.
And what it looks like around noon when we quite fishing.
Most days, the parking lot was full.
Or how about Raynold’s Pass Campground?
Yes, it was a busy time on the river.
We stopped fishing around noon or 1 pm and headed back to the cabin for lunch and nap. I found I can’t fish from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm any longer. Maybe it’s an age thing. We returned to the river about 5 pm and fished until 9:30 pm. Fishing was the best that last hour.
Our strategy of fishing early and late worked really well. Most of the time, we were able to fish the water we wanted.
One of the reasons I really like fishing the Madison River below Quake lake is the spectacular views. I never tire of them.
Early morning at $3 Bridge
Pools above $3 Bridge
Sunset in the Madison River valley
You might be wondering why we focused on dry fly fishing instead of nymphing a 50-mile riffle.
Well, we really like to see fish rise to our flies.
I enjoy the challenge of fishing new water to see if we can locate rising fish. Sometimes it works and other times we stare at the river.
The other thing we found is another lesson learned – Every day of fishing will be different than the previous day, even if you fish the same water. We had terrific fishing one morning only to return the next day to few or sporadic rises.
But we caught some beautiful fish.
Here are a few bugs we found flying around.
The best flies we used to catch most of our fish were a tan X Caddis
and PMD Sparkle Dun.
To say we had a terrific time is an understatement!
Lastly, I’ve been asked how I complete posts to RiverKeeper Flies. Well, when a thought hits, I work on it!