Just found some time to post a report on our trip to Montana. Two weeks off put me behind on everything around the house.
We made the drive from Chattanooga to Ennis, Mt. Left Saturday morning around 4:00 and got to Sioux Falls S.D. about 8:00. Got up and on the road around 6:00 the next morning. After a 'layover' in Mitchell S.D. at Cabelas, we fought 40-50 mph crosswinds most of the way to Ennis, arriving around 11:30 local time. How's that for a road trip ? We spent Monday to Thursday morning on the Madison, fishing two days at Three Dollar bridge and floating two days from Varney to Eight Mile ford. Totally different days at the two locations.We had good baetis hatches at Three Dollar while the float trips had no hatches. We caught some decent fish nymphing on the float trips. We never had any luck steamer fishing for the bigger browns but this was influenced, I would say, by the nice weather we had while floating. Can't say enough about the scenery on this stretch of river. Wow. More than made up for the lack of success we had. Very few people were out on the river here. There were a few more up at Three Dollar, but not many. Saw numerous types of insects on the warmest day that we fished here, around 67 degrees. Found quite a few fish rising in the slower runs. Thursday afternoon found us driving up past Quake lake, heading over to Einos, about ten minutes outside of West Yellowstone. Nice accomodations, great views. We spent the next day and a half fishing the Madison inside the Park. Our first day was overcast with spitting snow and squalls of baetis. Nevermind the streamers, again. We hooked some good fish here, rainbows to eighteen inches and saw other nice fish. The Barns pools that morning just did not produce anything with streamers or girdle bugs, but the afternoon made up for that. The second day here was not as good. The baetis came off again, but too much sunshine kept the better if not most of the fish period, from rising. Drove through the park to Gardiner, spotting some Bighorn sheep, and again, very few people. The rest of the way out to the interstate through Paradise valley was as always, beautiful. Arrived in Ft. Smith around 11:30........tired. The next six days were spent fishing most of the day, except two days we took to hunt the early mornings on the river, and then we spent a few hours those afternoons to fish. The weather on the Bighorn was strange. The wind would howl through the night and then let up later in the day. Sometimes, vice versa. Some days the temps were cool, bringing the baetis out, then one day it was warm enough to get the black caddis going, and the fish would respond. The most memorable day, and I've had a lot on this river, was the day it rained from about 10:00 to 3:30. It stayed very cool, in the upper 40's. Not a huge hatch, but every insect you saw was floating on the water, not flying. The cold kept them on the surface and the shoal we spent the entire afternoon in was LOADED with nice browns and rainbows. You could honestly see dozens of noses and backs at any time you looked across this shoal. Looking back, I would have traded three or four fish for the video camera, which I had but kept put up because of the weather.
This was the second late fall trip we've made to this area and again, well worth it. Very few people and the dry fly fishing we encountered was very good.
I've got some pictures I'd like to share, but I'm not sure how to post these. They are on a disc and some are prints that my buddy shot. Some tips from other members on doing this would be great.
This was most likely the last fishing trip for a while as waterfowl season is about here and weather permitting, most free days will be spent in the blind.