video url: https://youtu.be/vwKoGPhNFvU
Montana, a Prophet on the burning shore!
It’s getting chilly out there folks! The Madison Valley is now entering its annual offseason. Gore-Tex waders and early mornings on the river have been traded in for blaze orange and mountainous endeavors. Hunters have flocked to the town of Ennis to pursue the almighty wapiti. With antlers of all shapes and sizes being hauled throughout main street, this can only mean one thing... there aren’t many anglers out on the river! Fishing this time of year can be excellent if you’re willing to put in the time and brave the elements.
Nymphing has been the most productive method on the Madison over the last few weeks. Using heavy flies to target fish holding in deep buckets has proven to be effective. As the weather gets colder and fish become more weary, switching to a lighter leader and tippet setup can significantly improve your chances. 3x - 4x nylon leaders with 3x - 4x fluorocarbon tippet has been my go to setup when targeting easily spooked fish. Here’s a list of the nymphs that have been in my heavy rotation:
Eric’s Firebead Sparkle Worm Wine Red (#10 - #12), Wire Worm Red (#8 - #12), BH Globug Egg Burnt Orange (#14 - #16), Zika Jig (#18 - 22), Jigged Zebra Midge Red and Black (#18 - 22), T- Jigged Olive Perdigon UV (#14 - #18), TBH Pheasant Tail Jig BL ( #14 - #18), Red Butt Dart (#14 - #18), GBH Three Dollar Dip Red (#16 - #20), TH Hot Spot Nymph (#14 - #18).
Most of my streamer fishing this fall has been done via trout spey. Throwing a Skagit Head with a RIO Light IMOW Tip 5FT Int/5FT T-8 has worked wonderfully. Attach 2 to 3 feet of 0 - 2x Fluorocarbon via a loop to loop connection to your IMOW Tip and you’ll be up and running. If you’re looking to get into the trout spey game or have any general questions, feel free to stop by the shop and pick our brains! Here’s a list of streamers that have brought me success over the last few weeks:
Sculpzilla Olive (#4 - #6), Sculpzilla White (#4 - #6), Dolly Lama White (#4 - #6) Grandmaster Flash Tan Gold (#6), Sparring Partner White Gold (#4), RIO Extrovert Black Brown (#4), RIO Make It Rainbow White and Black (#4), and Mr. Ole Reliable himself, Black Wooly Bugger (#6 - #8).
Continue to be patient and help others out when you can at the ramp so that everyone can pull out in an orderly and efficient manner. As it gets colder in the year it can be easy to forget your safe fish handling practices. We urge you to wet your hands and keep those fish wet! Avoid fish pictures for the gram whenever possible so that we can continue to have healthy fish populations for years to come.
- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden
Those who are willing to brave the elements will surely be rewarded.