While out in Bozeman, Montana, for the Simms Ice Out Guide Event, I was lucky enough to get to fish on the upper Madison River just outside of Ennis, Montana. This is a river that I’ve never fished prior to this trip, but it’s one that I’ve read a lot about. It was a real treat to wet a fly line on this storied river.
It was a also a treat to be the “guide customer” for this trip, being guided by my buddy Ryan Eisfeldt, whose parents live in Traverse City. Michigan. The day was warm. Very warm, in fact. With the previous days in the mid- to upper-70’s with full sun, there was snow melt to contend with, muddying, and raising the waters of the nearby West Yellowstone River and Gallatin River.
Nevertheless, we forged on and launched our drift boat. What an absolutely fantastic experience to be able to fish on such a fabled river with such spectacular scenery. The fishing wasn’t as good as we would have desired but, at least for me, I didn’t really mind—I was thoroughly enjoying the experience of being on a new river amongst such gorgeous settings. I will say, however, that Ryan was a bit perturbed by the slow fishing.
By days’ end, we probably landed 8, or maybe even 9, fish. A nice mix of deeply-colored rainbows and some beautiful brown trout all came to the net, and our highlight was a scrappy 19.5 inch brown that thoroughly engulfed my fly with a vicious take.
Relaxing over a few beers back at the lodge, it was great to have spent some time on the water with a buddy. Although this was my first trip on the Upper Madison, I’m sure that it won’t be my last. The wheels are already turning, and I’m thinking about when my busy guide schedule will allow me to slide back out to Bozeman to once again wet a line.