Each fly fisherman has their favorite river; and, in most instances, like myself, that river is their favorite because of several different factors, including favorite time of year, favorite section of river, favorite fishing technique, and, of course, largest fish caught.
For me, my favorite fly fishing river and section of river is the lower Madison River, very near Bozeman, Montana, where I live.
Last week, during the Labor Day weekend, I started fishing the lower Madison once again. During the summer months, the lower Madison gets too hot (in air and water temperature) that fly fishing it is generally futile.
This year, the Labor Day weekend was moderately hot so I knew that I would still have to dodge the mid-day ‘bikini hatch’ - - On particularly hot days, college students love to ‘inner tube’ (or float) down the river; so, one has to constantly look over your shoulder to avoid the ‘obstacles.’
Now, one may ask why I would fish in the middle of the day on the lower Madison anyway. Well, it’s because of my favorite style of fly fishing. I love to nymph and chuck wet streamers because I have always had the most luck fishing them.
For me, ’fishing wet’ or ‘below water’ is the most enjoyable and most productive way to fish. Fishing wet means never having to ‘mend’ your line or dry your fly with a repetition of false casts. I love fishing below water because it’s easy, relaxing, and, damn, you can pull up some whoppers, even in the middle of the day.
The one thing you need if you’re going to fish below water, and, especially in the middle of the day, is patience, however. I fish my favorite leech pattern (which I tie myself) on the lower Madison, during the whole month of September. According to the fishing log that I write down each and every year, this particular wet fly, can be very productive during two narrow time periods each September day.
Last weekend, my log book said that late afternoon would be a good time to be on the lower Madison; and, sure enough, a few hours after noon, I was able to pull up a 15 inch rainbow…All it took was patience…knowing that if I waited a few seconds more after swinging the fly into a deep pool that a larger fish would come up a bit and take it.
Of course, my fishing log also stipulates another time of day, during this week of September, that does exceedingly well. It’s so early in the morning, however, (basically, the crack of dawn) that I almost dismissed it this year.
Wow, I’m sure glad I dragged myself out of bed and high-tailed it to the lower Madison at the crack of dawn, today. This morning, I waded out to one particular pool, in the middle of the river (another reason the lower Madison is my favorite - - how easy it is to wade this river) that had some interesting mid-day fishing bites, the previous weekend. On my first cast, I chucked out a streamer at the head of that pool and hooked a fifteen inch rainbow, immediately. Fifteen minutes later, I ‘slapped’ down the same streamer on the edge of an eddy, and I caught and fought a 17 inch brownie…sweet!
Today was my best fly fishing day of the year, so far; but, of course, with patience, I knew this would happen during my favorite time of year to be fly fishing, with my favorite lure, and on my favorite stretch of river.
What’s your favorite? :)