March 6, 2013

Spectacular First of Spring Fly Fishing

Winter fly fishing is a beloved past time for locals in SW Montana, but personally, I’m a bit of a wimp. If I have to dip my rod in the water after each cast to clear ice build up on the eyelets, I’d rather be crossing country skiing. So, I was thrilled to see a forecast of partly cloudy, 45 degree high for March 3rd. No ice buildup with those temperatures, so it was time to hit the Madison River!My husband (and Madison Valley Ranch Executive Chef), our dog Lila, and I arrived at Varney Bridge at about 11:30 am and took off to the ‘honey hole’. During the winter months, the trout tend to stack up in the slower water to save energy. While we didn't see any rises, after tying into a monster whitefish on a weighted nymph on my 2nd cast, we knew we were in for a treat!Taking turns in the small run with a dreamy pool at the end, Scott was up next. A perfect cast, with his Orvis Helios rod, led to a marvelous mend, and BANG! A feisty rainbow was in the end of his line. Tempted by a brown girdle bug, this big guy jumped and fought. I couldn't believe it; the large rainbow not only had huge shoulders, but also a thick girth throughout. Early spring fish can often have huge heads and skinny bodies due to a decrease in food supply. Clearly, this trout had been feeding all winter long!With action on the end of our lines at least every 15 minutes, I had to remind myself to take a moment and enjoy the beauty of spring fishing…snow capped mountains, flocks of birds overhead, comfortably rigging up on the side of the banks…the stuff winter dreams are made of.I can’t say enough about how feisty and aggressive the trout are in the spring. Not only is Montana’s landscape starting to brighten up and come alive, but the trout are right in sync. The River flows were perfect, and I even saw a few bugs fluttering around.With tired arm muscles, I’d resolved to take a quick walk along the banks with Lila, as Scott took ‘3 more casts’ before we called it a day. Of course, the three more casts turned into 7 more “1 more cast”. About 100 yards away, I suddenly heard the yelps I've become accustom to over the years ~ Scott had a big one on!Sprinting down the bank, I quickly grab the camera and was ready for a “framer”. His brown wild trout was AWESOME! The ~22 incher took a Mega prince perfectly. As I sit here looking at the photo, I’m mesmerized by Scott’s huge, yet tired, smile, the Shinning Mountain range filled in with this years’ 100% of normal snow pack, and a brilliant Madison River brown trout. Another amazing spring day fly fishing safely tucked away in my memory bank, as I eagerly anticipate the next ‘warm’ day. I’m telling you folks, if you haven’t experienced Spring fly fishing for yourself, get out here! You won’t regret it :)