The more I visit Lower Madison, the more I'm attracted to its unique characters. It's different from but also similar to upper section every now and then. There are this kind of "rock gardens" here and there. Then long riffles and glides of flatter waters come next. BTW, it's not sunrise. I ended up fishing till almost sunset.
Well, all above said, I didn't have any hot actions at all. Today, I covered all the good looking spots with nymphs. I usually fish very fast but thoroughly also. And I have confidence in my fly selection and assembling as well as in my water reading. Probably around 1pm, finally my bobber sank like being tugged. This little rainbow bit on a large Rubber Leg stonefly nymph. And this became the first trout for 2011. What a joke?, I thought. But now when I look back this little 'bow, I like its dark spots are vivid on top fins and tail, then body spots seem developing colors for now. It's indeed a native trout in Madison. I take it!!
I started fishing just at 10am as I planned. I was going to finish around 3pm as those hours would be the warmest hours of the day = fish would act more. But I came back to my truck about 5pm. With that, I covered only 2.5 miles upstream.
From Ennis Dam, this 10-mile section is referred as "too dangerous to oar" (except for highly experienced hands) and now I found "too long to cover on foot". It's hard to tell how far I walk on trails in mountains, not like walking blocks in town.
Lower Madison is known to hold more large trout than upper sections (entire trout population may be less instead, depending on sources) as I caught a 19-inch rainbow last October. Furthermore, this Bear Trap stretch is the best bet, I hear.
Did I misunderstand anything wrong? Did I read water wrong? Was my fly selection wrong? Or was I in a poor stretch? Or something going on with trout? Or just the season? I don't think I can figure out by only one or two more visits. Probably the simplest action is to go toward Ennis and fish the stretch below the dam.
Anyway, it was quite a day for me. I didn't expect I would be doing this long hiking & fishing from January!! Then again, I take a cute 10-incher in my book. Slow start seems always good because I usually catch larger fish as the season matures. So was 2010.
Hope everyone is catching your first trout for 2011!!