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


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 Madison River in September - Part 1

One of our favorite times to fish the Madison River in the park is near the end of
the month of September. Things really liven up in anticipation of the return of
the big brown trout. Although it is almost always the first of October before this
happens, it seems no one is going to stand around and wait. You will see a lot of
locals fishing. You will even see a lot of guides that are not busy fishing. They
know very well that if someone could catch a few large brown trout there would
be a big rush of new anglers to fish the park. If anyone catches a large brown in
front of anyone else, they are not going to get by with keeping it from being
known by everyone in West Yellowstone. The next day there will be a rush to the
very place that fish was caught.

What I have said so far, has nothing to do with why we like the latter part of
September on the Madison. In fact, it is one thing we don't like about it. I am just
not going to get in line to fish one of the "holes" the large browns rest in before
progressing on upstream to spawn. I have to wait in line at the post office every
once in a while and I really hate that. I am not going to stand in line or sit in line,
to fish. I will take one if I happen to hook it when it is not resting in one of the
favorite local holes but that opportunity is not what I like about it either. It is the
blue-winged olive hatches that take place.

I guess I like being frustrated because that is usually what happens. When you
stand in a stream, or on the bank for that matter, and watch large 16-18 inch
wild rainbow trout sipping in one BWO after another, it has a tendency to get
your hands to shaking just a little. At least that is what happens to me. I do my
very best to get into a position to cast to the fish without being seen (by it or
anyone else). What usually happens next, is that a small rainbow about twelve
inches long takes my fly and runs circles around the water, effectively shutting
down the other trout. I usually cast for a few more minutes knowing darn well I
am waisting my time, or sometimes, I just stand there and watch. The results is
always the same. I climb back out of the Madison and find another trout to

I can name a number of other frustrating things that happens, of course. These
trout are not in a secret spot in the river. They are often right below a parking
area along the river in full view of anyone. They are right before your eyes
anywhere past the seven mile bridge upstream. All you have to do is just look at
the water and you will spot one. I have even waded in place to make the perfect
cast when a tourist came down to the water and started pointing at the very fish I
was going to try to catch, getting closer to it than me.

Yes, of course, I have caught my share of these rainbows and I will tell you more
about that tomorrow.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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