.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

02/14/09

I am calling this series Yellowstone Journals and Additional Information. It is a collection of a
rambling mixture of experiences on the streams with some notes, tips and additional
information thrown in. Some of this comes from my video tape logs (record of video shot)
and  notes made on my daily note books.

Fly Fishing the Upper Madison

Since I have written some about the Firehole River and the Gibbon River, let me
cover some things about the river they form - The Madison River. The area
where the Madison River starts is called Madison Junction. From there
downstream for about a mile, the river flows through a large meadow. Like much
of the Madison River in the park, it is a very deceptive stream. Well, maybe not
to those who have lived there and fished it all of their life, but to most of us that
fish there as well as many other places, it is deceptive. I have fished it for
several years and during all parts of the season. I have to get used to it each
time I try to fool the trout that live and migrate there.

The first meadow looks like the typical meadow stream. It is fairly smooth flowing
water, not runs and riffles or pocket water. There are no trees along the banks
in that location as well as the other meadow sections of the stream. It has a
bottom that varies considerably even though the surface makes it appear the
bottom is fairly level. There are drop offs, level areas, bars, channels, area that
are up and down, and deep holes underneath that smooth flowing water. There
are many undercut banks. In addition it has a heavy growth of vegetation that
comes near and to the surface in many places. That makes the current change
directions and speeds a million times, so to speak. The entire river is a
"conflicting current". Getting you fly to drift drag free is a huge problem.

Generally, this area of the river (and most of the Madison in the park) fishes
better in the early part of the season until about mid July. It really depends on
the snow pack and rain. The locals call them wet years and dry years. If it is a
wet year, the water stays cool and you can catch trout throughout the season. If
not, the hot summer is not a good time to fish. The added heat from the Firehole
River pushes the water temperatures into the high sixties and even the low
seventies in low water years. The larger brown and rainbow trout migrate to
Hebgen Lake to spend the summer and don't start returning until near the end
of summer when the water cools down. You can catch small, resident fish during
the summer when the water is really too warm, but overall, the fishing isn't good
and it doesn't help the trout to catch them under those conditions.

I got away from the first meadow but I had to mention some of the things about
the Madison in the Park that are typical of much of the river or what I may say
otherwise, may not make a lot of sense.

I will pick back up here tomorrow. Thanks for reading these posting.


Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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