September 4-5, 2015
Four months ago I was contacted by the Madison River Foundation about presenting “Four Seasons of the Yellowstone Trout Bum” for ‘Ennis on the Madison’ Fly Fishing Festival held annually in Ennis, Montana. I’m home for a change with a break between events. I considered saving the time for fishing but this is a good cause and Scientific Anglers generously sponsored me to speak. I said yes.
The Madison River Foundation was founded in 2003 and works to preserve, protect and enhance the Madison River ecosystem to benefit its wildlife and the people who enjoy it. This year’s Festival took place Friday and Saturday and had numerous presentations from well-known anglers including Bruce Richards, Mike Lawson, Bob Jacklin, Kelly Galloup and Dave Whitlock to name a few. There were also casting contests and fly tying demos all while reps and fly fishing manufacturers displayed their new products for 2016.
I didn’t speak till Saturday at 4. I could have stayed home till mid Saturday afternoon but instead made my way to Ennis early Friday morning with a stop at Quake Lake to fish with friend and fly casting legend Bruce Richards. Bruce is one of the world’s leading authorities on fly casting and headed-up fly line design and development for Scientific Anglers for many years.
After my two hour drive I arrived at Quake Lake at 7:30 AM. Bruce was already there ready to launch his boat. We were surprised to find the weather at Quake to be cold, cloudy and windy at such and early hour. I was in my shorts and t-shirt but quickly switched to warmer gear including my Simms PrimaLoft puffy jacket. I’m so glad I had it.
Bruce and I knew beforehand this would be a short outing because he had a casting demo at the Festival at 2 PM. But before we arrived at the area I wanted to fish the wind kicked up a notch from windy to very windy. It became a race to catch a few fish before we got blown completely off the lake. Miraculously there were a couple fish rising on a slick protected behind a stump. Bruce and I took turns drifting our dries and I eventually fooled a rainbow on a Thorax Mahogany Dun.
Other than a miracle fish I caught out of the whitecaps on a Parachute Adams after the first, the dries got put away because surface activity became hopeless. I grabbed my 5-weight and hand-twisted a callibaetis nymph and a chironomid and lucked into a brown. Bruce went with a leech and caught a chunky nice brown. At 11 AM we left while we had the chance. The wind was blowing ridiculously and although the sun was peeking through the temps weren’t rising but rather dropping. Fall is here.
Bruce returned to Ennis for his casting clinic and I went to West Yellowstone for and errand then took my time working towards Ennis visiting places I once fished and camped regularly. Back in the 80’s I fished the Madison almost every single day off. I was possessed by this magical 100 mile riffle. One place I frequented more than any other was the famous Three Dollar Bridge. I was such a trout bum back then it was hard to come up with the $3 but fishing was so dang good I always scraped enough change from the floor of my old Dodge Aspen.
I made it to the Festival Friday night in time for the showing of the latest Hank Patterson movie, Reel Montana Adventure. Hank is one hilarious dude! After the movie there were some parties then we wandered to the Gravel Bar for some beers. For each beer purchased the bar donated $1 to the Madison River Foundation.
I spent all Saturday at the Festival meeting people and catching up with friends. The weather was close to horrendous with rain, hail, wind and high temperatures in the 40°s. Could that be because I was in town? “Monsoon Currier” or not, attendance was great and I had a terrific crowd for my 4 PM show.
We finished up the day with a delicious barbeque and live music then around 9 PM I made the 3 hour drive back to Victor. I’m not sure what my next fishing will be but Granny and I are sure to be camping and fishing on Tue and Wed. We’re gonna score as much fishing time as we can before the snow flies!