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Up at my usual 5:45 and down to the dining room for coffee. All of the rest of group had arrived late Saturday so breakfast was a time of catching up and sharing my adventures from the previous day. There were a total of five of us and we had all fished together before at hazel Creek in North Carolina. We met our guides and mine for the day was the owner of the lodge. I became aware that the sniffles I must have caught on the plane had turned into a full blown cold by the time we left the lodge but I was too excited with anticipation to be bothered by a cold.
That Sunday morning was chilly, overcast and windy. After talking with guide Steve Gamble we decided to go over the mountain to fish the Yellowstone River. Winds were around 20 mph in the morning with forecast of winds up to 30 mph by mid afternoon. We got on the river about 9 am. I must say that the Yellowstone River is impressive indeed. It is big.
It was quite obvious that Day 2 was not going to be like Day 1. Because of the wind there were almost no bugs and the fish were just not active. We went through beautiful run after beautiful run with nymphs and streamers to no avail. All of the fish we saw rising were very small and because of the persistent wind I had real issues with putting my dry fly where it needed to be. I realized pretty quickly that Western wind at a consistent 20 to 25 mph and my fly casting skills were not a good match. I made a note in my journal to practice casting on the windiest days that I could before I made another trip out West. By early afternoon the wind was approaching 30 to 35 mph when we hit the canyon stretch. This was just not going to happen today and that cold that I swore would not bother me was bothering me enough that when Steve said the take out was only a few hundred yards downstream I was actually pleased. I was so stuffed up my sense of taste was all gone. After I ate my appetizer I realized I was not going to be able to enjoy any dinner. I ordered one of my favorite Scotches, Lagavulin, and was shocked to find out that even that heavily peated nectar had no taste. A hot bath and early bed was the only sensible option.
I awoke feeling better but still very stuffed up. Fortunately, though windy, not nearly so as on Sunday. Steve and I decided that the Madison would be the river today. Fish were a bit more active. I was able to pick up my first Montana brown. It was very colorful and about 14 inches. Hooked and landed several small rainbows in the 12 to 13 inch range and finally a very nice rainbow of about 19 inches. The Madison is a beautiful river and though we did not the find the big Brown that this river is noted for and we worked hard for the fish we found I rated the day as successful. Still could not enjoy my dinner so I went to bed early. It really began to sink in how special my Day 1 had been. But I slept the sleep of anticipation for the next 3 days of fishing.
Madison River Rainbow
Great story and fish. The river is beautiful. What a wonderful fishing trip.
Having been all over the world, Montana has a special place in my heart. The most beautiful country I have seen, wish I had an opportunity to fish while there
Gorgeous scenery! Great story, also, David!
I find myself more and more living vicariously through your adventures. Thanks for taking me on this story of stuffiness and scenic beauty with you!
There's a reason they call it Big Sky Country, fersure!