....................... ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
Destinations: We hope you enjoyed the past two destination links to our "Streams" section of our Perfect Fly website. Today, we are linking a river we believe all of you have heard of - The Madison River, Outside of Yellowstone National Park. It is one of the, if not the, most talked and written about trout stream there is.
Although it is rarely though of as a tailwater, it's a fact that all but a very short part of it that is just across the line from the park's boundary, is a tailwater. Hebgen Lake starts almost immediately after the river leaves the park. Below its dam is a short section of the river and then you have a nature made lake - Quake Lake. Water flows over the earth dam created by an earthquake and proceeds downstream for forty miles. This section is called the Forty Mile Riffle because that pretty well describes it.
This is one of the best trout streams in the nation, and in our opinion, without question the top tailwater stream in the nation. Yes, I am including the Big Horn. It is a great stream too but in our opinion, none is as good as the Madison.
As you probably know, this river is formed by two other great trout streams - the Gibbon River and the Firehole River. The Madison inside the park is a great stream for much of the Yellowstone season but it doesn't compare to the river below Hebgen Lake.
The Madison has a huge population of aquatic insects. One thing that makes the population so high is Quake Lake. The surface of the water warms some in Quake Lake and since it is a surface flow over the earthen dam, it brings that warmer water into the forty mile riffle. The water is never too warm for the trout but it is warm enough to support a huge net-spinning caddisfly population. The algae provides the food needed to sustain the population of Spotted Sedges and many other species of caddisflies. That plus the fact that the bottom of the river is crawling with huge Salmonfly and Golden stonefly nymphs. It also has a big population of mayflies.
In addition to the aquatic insects, there are many other things for the trout to eat. Sculpin, leeches and various minnows and baitfish are plentiful. No wonder the trout grow large and fast in this great river.