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

03/02/09

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 Madison River in September - Part 3

There are basically two ways to fish the late season Blue-winged Olive hatch in
the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. One way is to blind cast when
during the hatch. The other way is to watch the water, find a good fish feeding
on the little olives and target it. The first method is fairly easy but usually results
in mostly smaller trout. You may get a good surprise blind casting and catch a
large rainbow, but it will be one out of a huge number that you catch. If you want
quality size fish, you need to target specific trout that you know are large.

These blue-winged Olives hatch in just about all of the different water types in
the Madison River. You will see them in the meadows, the long riffles and the
pocket water. The heaviest concentrations are in the meadows. As I said in part
one of this series, there are more than one species of BWOs that hatch in the
Madison. The
baetis species are the larger blue-winged olives which are a hook
size 18. The smaller or little blue-winged olives range from 20 to as small as 24
depending on the species. They are by far the most difficult hatches to fish.

The easiest and fastest way to catch trout during a hatch is to fish the riffles.
The problem is the fish usually run even smaller. Now there are always
exceptions to this but in general, you will catch larger trout fishing the meadows.
The trade off is that the meadows are more difficult to fish. When you are fishing
the riffles or pocket water sections, it is best to make a lot of shorter upstream or
up and across cast. Keeping your fly in the current seams will usually produce.
The fish we catch this way in the riffles seem to average about eight to ten or
eleven inches. It is a lot of fun, of course, but unless you get real lucky, most
likely you will soon start wanting to catch a larger trout. If you blind cast in the
meadows, you the fish may run a little larger but then it may only be ten to
twelve inches on the average.

In the meadows you can easily observe where the action is. Just stand on the
bank and watch. Don't start out by walking up to the water. Stay well back and
watch the water along the bank. You may spook some of the better trout. Often
you will see several trout taking the olives. They may appear to be spaced at
random and not occurring in the same place. If you will pick out one fish that
takes a fly from the surface and watch that specific spot for a couple of minutes,
that will usually tell you if the trout is continuing to feed in the same place or if it
is moving around.
It is difficult to tell if the trout is large from just observing the rise ring at a
distance. The little trout splash the water a lot and that may indicate small trout
but the large ones leave a small ring usually just like many of the smaller trout.
You need to actually see the trout. That is much easier if you are watching the
water from a high point on the bank. The lower you are to the water, the more
difficult it is to see the fish.

Continued tomorrow

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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