June 2, 2010

Spring Fishing Recap

BIG, healthy wild trout and a healthy mountain snowpack sum up the Spring Fishing season at the Madison Valley Ranch. When our first group of the season returned to the Ranch after fishing in some cold temperatures with “evidence” (photos, friends and guides simultaneously collaborating the pictures) of four of them each catching a 20 inch trout, I knew I was in for something I hadn’t seen before!The theme continued throughout the spring with guests consistently catching 18 inch plus trout each day. Unlike past years folks generally were not catching huge numbers of fish daily, but instead the trout caught were big with a lovely chunky girth to them. By the look of the trout caught and the tales of fights that took folks into their backing, it was not a hard winter for the wild trout in our local waters ~ they clearly ate well and enjoyed feasting on big bugs this spring!In fact, brown & black stone fly nymph imitations brought these big boys out of the winter doldrums. The pearl zonker trailed by a red copper john also seemed to consistently result in big rainbows and browns! Scott and I even made it out into the Channels right behind the Ranch for the Opening Saturday in May. What a morning! Scott caught (and I nervously helped net) the biggest rainbow trout either of us has ever caught. Check out his photo on the wall at the Ranch.The dry fly action was sparse despite great March brown and caddis hatches. While there were plenty of naturals around; wind or simple resistance to try a dry when such great results were happening sub-surface kept the dry fly imitations in the fly box. Although, 2 days after the opening of the Channels section (3rd Saturday in May), Barb, still recovering from knee surgery, casted out a March brown imitation right behind the ranch and was reward with a nice take, bringing in a solid trout!Our great spring fishing took place in a mix of warm spring days punctuated by repeated cool spring rain and snow showers. While we are looking forward to the consistently warm and dry summer days, the spring storms filled our surrounding mountains with precious snowpack that will feed our Madison River all summer. The late spring storms brought the snow pack up over 100% of normal. We’ll take that, and enjoy it all summer! Surprisingly, the Madison River still had great clarity over Memorial Day weekend as our run-off got started. The next post may not be till the end of June, once run-off has ended and we are back fishing the amazing waters of SW Montana….