Saturday, April 9, 2011

Midge Party at Lower Madison

We are experiencing very happy-fishy weather. Today, temperature was middle 30s, light sun, and no wind. As a resident and angler in Livingston, I thought I may be supposed to go this very meaningful volunteer action......... but I just recalled the event only yesterday and had nobody to ask details (for the first timer) in the area. Shops in the area were closing when I noticed. Should I bring my wader? or just Carhart and gloves? People with or without boats? This sounds excuses but I couldn't push myself into it. Then I admit the fact "gather at 8am on cold Saturday morning" sounded not much attractive. I would for fishing, breeding cows, and date but......just a volunteer with no information....... Hopefully by next year, I should be getting to know more people around here and make more friends and networks to go along.

So I told myself that I shouldn't feel guilty (After all I'm not dropping any garbage!!). As for fishing, I'm getting addicted to the spring hatches as I've been posting. As I wrote the very last post, both baetis and midges hatches were good along Yellowstone River. But I've been hearing mixed information about baetis hatch along Lower Madison. Some say it's started and others say not yet. According to one of the nearest shops to Lower, they haven't seen baetis at all yet. They say it's due to dam repair project at Ennis Lake. Dam was hit by a bus-size rock, I hear. Now it seems completed and a last couple of days and "they (I don't know who)" are changing water releases, which cause changes in water level, temperature, and color. Over all, people at the shop told me midge action would be actually pretty good and even better than baetis. I checked three parking lots along the river and OH YES!! Too many midges were on the water all along!! Now I forgot anything about baetis hatch and dam repair!! This entire foam (or scum) lane was covered like this!!!
They were having parties all along the river!!!

But...... a BIG HOWEVER here, I didn't see any rises at all, period. I observed all the good looking spots; pockets, eddies, slicks, and seams but no surface actions at all. It's not my style to cast dry-flies hoping for the best when I don't see any risers but I did considering the amount of hatch. Then again it seemed very hard to compete with naturals under the condition. I swung my favorite and trusting midge soft-hackles under the surface also but no actions either way.

Now I got back to the information about the current. If no trout are looking up or moving, most likely it's because water temperature is low. Water clarity might have some effect as well. All due to flow changes for the last couple of days.

As the Sun was setting behind me, I tried to avoid the shadow and move onto still bright spots. Then I recalled a little spring creek is coming in right by the parking lot, which is aptly named Warm Spring. By then other anglers were gone!!!!

I can't explain how excited and happy I was when all of my guesses turned out to be right. I finally saw pods of rises at the confluence where Warm Spring merges into Madison. I was on my knees to keep a low silhouette and finally fixed the "skunk" of the day!! Just a little one but I'm really proud of that my observation, perseverance, and theory finally worked!!

After that, I hooked and lost over 10 fish within less than 30 minutes all at the same spot. And all I needed was Griffith's Gnat Emerger.

Here are more commercial pictures for G Gnat Emerger!!

Little brown liked it too!!

Though fish were small, I can't emphasize how happy I was because all of my observation and theory came together at the end. Other anglers that I passed along the trail were with their nymph rigs with bobbers in spite of this heavy midge hatch. I was glad the last person who was getting back to his car (with his bobber rig) was sensible enough to control his dogs while I was kneeling for the midge rise situation.

And I was sure there must have been a couple of 15 to 16-inch trout in that little pod. I just couldn't get close to them or they might have detected my presence or drags on my flies in that shallow water.

I ended up fishing till 7pm and got back home at 9pm. My cattle breeding business will be kicking off in May so I have three more fishy weeks. I'll get out to Armstrong's next week while the rate is $40 a day. And weather seems to keep fishy next week too!! Then I keep my eyes and ears on baetis, midges, and Mother's Day caddis hatches along both Yellowstone and Lower Madison. But also when water temperature is going up, we all know huge streamers bring huge trout at this time of the year!!

I really love this mixed feelings and strategies of spring!!

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