December 20, 2010

The 2010 Fishing Season in Review

It was quite the year! With consistent flows in the Madison River, as well as the Fish, Wildlife, and Park’s hard data of historically high trout numbers, our guets experienced first hand the thrill of the Madison River during the 2010 fly fishing season! Overall, the cool spring, summer and mellow fall also kept all our area rivers in ideal shape for catching wild trout.Spring fishing was not about the quantity of fish caught and released, but the quality. Day after day, guests and guides delivered photos of colorful 18-20 inch brown and rainbow trout. Not too mention some truly spectacular native Montana whitefish; these 20 inchers were fat and fiesty! Two husbands celebrated Mother’s Day right by treating their wives to a fly fishing adventure over the weekend. I only wish the famous spring caddis hatch would have come a couple days earlier for them to experience the quintessential Mother’s Day caddis hatch that the Madison River makes famous.We took a break from fishing during the early June run-off, and the Ranch was trasformed into a magical wedding venue for two consecutive week-end weddings featuring over 100 guets per event. Check out the photos on the website.Like the July 4th Ennis fireworks, summer fishing hit with a bang. After the longer than normal run off, the trout FEASTED in July! Despite naturas fluttering about, it was tough throughout SW Montana to get a trout to slurp a dry fly in early-mid July. Instead, they were going crazy for nymphs. The red copper john stole the show, and became more valuable than a gold line during the Montana 1860s rush. I wish I knew why the trout were kyed in on this fly, but I’ll be satisfied in just knowing it produed beautiful wild trout day after day.I guess a ’shame on you’ is in order for us Montanans getting caught up in an esteemed publications’ (aka NY Times) report predicting an ‘epic hopper season’ in 2010. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of trout aggressively attacked all kinds of hopper imitations. The size 6 red CFO ant flew out of the fly box! Our cooler August kept the hoppers from booming but the rivers flowing with perfect water temperatures. On the flip side, more traditional dry flies such as #14 lime trudes and cripple caddis produced fabulous takes (and heart wrenching last minute denails) from July to September.Especially around the Ranch, flying ants were prolific in August and September. Dan Delekta’s cinnamon flying ant was a must-have pattern. We also experienced a fabulous yellow sally hatch, where suprisingly, an elk hair caddis seemed to do the trick and entice trout to the surface.Our season ended on the same high note as it started, but this Fall our guets experienced record numbers of trout caught. One large return fall group proclaimed they caught their most fish ever, with one gentleman proudly noting he may have caught more fish in this trip than all his other fly fishing trips combined!2011 is already setting up for a fantastic fly fishing season with great snowpack in early December! With this great start to winter, we may not have another fishing report until spring :)