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

03/03/09

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 4

If you really want to catch a larger trout, you usually have to work at it. By that I
mean you will usually have to spend a lot of time looking at the water in several
different places. You will do a lot more looking than fishing. There may be
several other anglers in some areas. If so, they usually keep the fish spooked
under those conditions. I would avoid the other anglers because you are really
lowering your odds if the fish have already been spooked or have seen other
anglers. Look for those areas that "don't look so good". That sounds a little
stupid but what I mean is look for the water where it take a lot of trouble to get
too or where it isn't so easy for others to fish.

Once you find a large trout (almost always a rainbow) staying in one place and
continuing to rise to the olives, you want to devise a plan to get into position to
catch it.  Most of the meadows have deep holes that are not easy to see. You
want to avoid having to wade through them. The current seams are dispersed
throughout the water from bank to bank, depending on the grass beds and
depths. You want to take a close look at the water around the trout and try to
figure out the best place to get to cast to the fish. The water around the trout
above and below the fish and between you and the place you need to make the
cast, may be a factor in determining whether you want to cast downstream or
upstream to the trout. If I can approach the trout from either direction, I usually
try to get into position to cast up and slightly across to the trout. I use the reach
cast most of the time. You must land the fly well above the trout but keep it
drifting drag-free until it passes over the trout. The reach cast helps keep your
line and leader from passing directly over the trout. Once that happens, you can
get back out on the bank and look for another trout.

One thing that almost always makes that a tough presentation is wind. It is very
rare the wind isn't blowing on the Madison River. After all you are well above
6,000 feet elevation and wind is a normal thing. It can be very stiff and difficult to
cast at all. The direction of the wind should also be a consideration in where you
should get to cast to the trout. It isn't easy casting a long, light leader and tiny fly
in the wind and getting it to cross over a trout. The fish isn't going to move two
feet to its side to take your fly. There are usually plenty of real bugs for it to eat.
The trout probably want move a foot to the left or right to take the fly. It needs to
come directly over the trout.

If you can cast upstream to the trout, you can get closer to it without spooking it
but you better make a very good presentation. You may not get but one chance.
If you present the fly downstream or slightly down and across to the trout, you
can get by with a few errors with your cast as long as you don't land the line,
leader or fly on top of the trout.

Continued tomorrow

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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