Monday, December 16, 2019

Dawn Patrol

   The sun pokes up behind the Madison Range as I barrel toward Ennis. It's 5:30am on a Saturday in July, I'll be damned if I let tourists and their guides beat me to the river. As I slide into the town stop sign I glance left at Fan Mountain and the fisherman statue then right towards a less traveled road that leads to the Ruby. Sometimes I struggle on which way to I veer left and opt out of shitty gas station coffee and keep swigging my home brew.....the only brew..... Dunkin Donuts Medium Roast.

   The town is silent. Not a person in site. The Gravel Bar must of done a number on these out of towners. I see guides down side streets rigging up their boats for another day on the river. Another day tossing hoppers and chubbies towards the banks. I smile crossing over the Madison, knowing I'm about to poach lots of good fish before they rig up for the day.

   First light on the Madison is a must during tourist season. After 10am the river turns into a complete circus of drift boats floating the most famous river in the lower 48. I'm first to the fishing access site and get out of my truck already wadered up. A groggy eyed tourist staggers out of their tent staring at me with a puzzled look on their face. I pay no attention, connect my 4 piece together and bolt to the river. The jagged tips of the Spanish Peaks hold the sunlight from hitting the water. I'm on a mission and start tight-lining all my likely buckets above the parking lot. Action is intense from the get-go. Fish are after a #10 tan caddis larva on the tag. Some hefty browns, a few plump bows and a foul hooked white fish had me wondering if a namer was on the agenda for today.

   That wasn't going to be the case today, honestly it rarely is. I sometimes chuckle when I hear stories of regular 24 inch trout getting caught on this river. It's not true, but what is true is that all fisherman are liars.

   I make it .5 miles upstream catching fish in each likely holding spot. I don't spend much time hammering the holes, I'm after those willing to eat, 10 drifts and move on. Cover water, catch fish, repeat. By the time 10:30am hits I start seeing the tourist flotilla. I've already bagged enough fish to make any fisherman happy, but I opt for the skinny side that boats can't reach. The depth is only deep towards the bank so that's where I focus my attention. Every 5 feet gives up a fish, some surprisingly big. The side channel connects back to the main river where I catch a glimpse of 5 more boats coming toward me. I've wreaked havoc on this stretch and don't want to compete with all these people for the fish. 

I walk back to my truck happy to know I had one hell of a morning. As I'm unrigging in the parking lot 10 more boats are getting ready to float. The talk is focused on new rules being proposed on the Madison to maintain the healthy fishery that it is. Change never sits well with anyone, especially those trying to make $$ of these trout all summer long. Whatever ends up happening I hope it's the best decision for the TROUT, and if greed get's in the way well I guess I'll have to start leaving Bozeman at 4am on Saturday's instead of 5:30.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say thanks for your wonderful post,Very enjoyable to visit this blog and find something exciting and amazing.

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    I think you not ever Seen this type of traditional and primitive fishing!!!


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