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> > Madison River Montana August 2013

Oldredbarn has attached these 15 pictures. The message is below.
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Madison River Bow
Madison River Bow
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Another Bow
Another Bow
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and another
and another
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A nice Brown
A nice Brown
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and a wonderful Bow...This girl jumped so many times she tired herself out.
and a wonderful Bow...This girl jumped so many times she tired herself out.
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Steve Hoovler and his lucky fishing hat.
Steve Hoovler and his lucky fishing hat.
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Madison below $3 Bridge
Madison below $3 Bridge
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I think a Spruce Moth...Taken on Soda Butte above Ice box Canyon
I think a Spruce Moth...Taken on Soda Butte above Ice box Canyon
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Storm approaching
Storm approaching
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Best sandwich west of Zingermann's in Ann Arbor. The Spencer Special from Ernie's sandwich shop in West Yellowstone...This place kept me alive in 2004 and again this year. Sorry no pic of the potato salad or chocolate chip cookies. :)
Best sandwich west of Zingermann's in Ann Arbor. The Spencer Special from Ernie's sandwich shop in West Yellowstone...This place kept me alive in 2004 and again this year. Sorry no pic of the potato salad or chocolate chip cookies. :)
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OldredbarnSeptember 8th, 2013, 7:52 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Well. I left Detroit on July 29th and didn't make it home until 11:30pm on August 31st. I put 6,128 miles on the Equinox. All by myself. It took me two days to get to Sheridan Wyoming from Detroit. Two days of 700+ miles per day. At the end of the first day, I walked into a motel and in a daze asked if they had a room for me, and then asked if they could tell me where I was. "You are in Missouri Valley Iowa sir."..."Where?!"

I fished for over two weeks and then my wife flew to Bozeman and we celebrated our 25th by driving home through Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons,the Beartooth Highway, the Chief Joseph Highway, Cody Wyoming, the Bighorn Mountains, the Medicine Wheel, the Blackhills, Mt Rushmore, the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, and finally the Badlands.

We woke up one morning in Sloan Iowa...I was tired of hotel rooms and being on the road...I drove all the way home that day only stopping for gas and food. We rolled up the drive at 11:30.

There is no way I can explain this trip to anyone. So I'll stick to the fishing starting with the Madison...A wonderful, wonderful river.

I had a very close encounter of the Grizzly Bear kind, lost a big toe nail, after hiking the 2 miles down to the Hellroaring Creek in Yellowstone Park...Down is a breeze, the two miles back up can kill you. :) The hike was just the 4th day in before all my fishing buddies flew out and we met up near Henry's Lake Idaho.

I spent 5 days on my own before the "real" trip started in Cooke City Montana just outside the northeast entrance to Yellowstone. I love this town! Only 80 year round residents...Great places to eat and drink and just hang out...You are more likely to see a bear or bison in the road than an auto, but I was there just prior to Sturgis! I spent one hell of a few days with nearly 30 Harley's parked next to the truck at the motel...I may have been the only one without a bike.

I am going to digress a tad here and I promise...Just fish there after...

My first night I walked in to the Beartooth Cafe and the host sat me at a table. I have never been there before...They had Molson Canadians, the only place that did for 30 more days! They had a wonderful vegetarian lasagne and after I settled in I started to look around...

I want you to remember that I'm in town with hundreds of bikers...On the wall behind me, screwed to the wall, is a Ralph Steadman drawing of Hunter S Thompson autographed by Hunter to the original owner of the place :"Good luck with your endeavor from the good doctor. Dr Hunter S Thompson." In high school in late 71-72 I read his, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream" the first book that made me laugh out loud...This strange moment of synchronicity made me feel at home, so I ordered another Molson's. ;)

The attached photos are of the Madison, both inside and outside Yellowstone Park. The first week out there I floated two days on the Madison with a guy named Steve Hoovler. He and I fished together back in 2004 at the Third Meadow of Slough Creek.

The odd thing about the float trips...In two days I could count the rising fish we saw on one hand with only one rising steadily...Yet we caught fish the whole two days all down the river. The Madison is lower than normal due to work being done on the dam at Hebgen Lake, but it is still a rambling heavy river. These fish have to travel through serious currents and water to take your fly and they did...Except for the ones I missed. :) Steve said to me, "These fish don't miss your fly, you miss the fish." I was too slow sometimes for the Madison fish, and a couple weeks later too slow for the Cutts on the Yellowstone.

Some of the other pics were taken when I fished on my own in the days after the floats...

Side note: Steve picked me up at these old cabins we stayed in at Henry's Lake at 7:30...The first day I woke up at 20 mins to 6:00 and said to myself that I could sneak 20 more minutes of sleep before I should get up...I looked up to see a bat flying over my head and the head of my room mate! Damn!!!

Remebering "Fear and Loathing", if you have read it...There is a famous scene in there where the main character is seeing bats after injesting too many chemicals...The boys couldn't find the bat after I left and began to think that the old-hippie was fatigued from the long drive, or worse yet he was having a flash-back...Luckily the bat made another appearannce a few evenings later and I was off the hook.

Ok...I first fished the Madison in 1995 and I may scan some of those old pics, especially of $3 Bridge, just for comparison.

The boys out west like two fly rigs...Steve had the Madison divided in to sections, forested, plains, deep bouldered, etc...We usually started out with a Spruce Moth dry fly, and a couple feet of tippet with a 16/18 Tan Caddis dry fly...Some fish ate the moth, and some ate the caddis.

We had a wonderful couple days. Steve is a great angler and a treat to float with.

Spence



"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsSeptember 8th, 2013, 8:08 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Awesome! Welcome back.
Jmd123September 8th, 2013, 10:11 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2379
Wow Spence, great road trip!! Good for you, getting to go out west and fish so many famous places and do such great sightseeing with your wife, for your 25th to boot! Such adventures (all of them, NOT just the fishing) are what we Troutnuts live for. Well done sir and thanks for sharing!

"Remembering "Fear and Loathing", if you have read it...There is a famous scene in there where the main character is seeing bats after ingesting too many chemicals...The boys couldn't find the bat after I left and began to think that the old-hippie was fatigued from the long drive, or worse yet he was having a flash-back...Luckily the bat made another appearance a few evenings later and I was off the hook."

Two comments here:

1) Have you seen the movie with Johnny Depp? Parts of which reminded me rather strongly of...well, in the words of the CIA, "I can neither confirm nor deny those allegations"...

2) There was some serious bat action on the Rifle on Thursday night when I got the big dude...and I was waiting to hook one of them, the Nectopsyche were so thick and I had on a #12 white EHC...

They must like you, Spence. You sure seem to have more than you're share of encounters with them in your sleeping quarters! ;oD

Again, congrats on a great road trip, I can only assume you have more pictures, let's see 'em!

Jonathon

P.S. Good Zingerman's reference!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Kschaefer3September 9th, 2013, 12:11 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Great pictures and report, Spence! Can't wait to see the rest.
Feathers5September 10th, 2013, 9:47 am
Posts: 287Nice photos and report, Spence. Keep 'em coming.
EntomanSeptember 10th, 2013, 1:38 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Excellent, Spence! What a trip...

A few comments:

That sandwich is missing a nice slab of Black Forest ham. :)

Your excellent photos of the stretch below the bridge bring back a lot of memories. Summer afternoons and evenings produced some of the most impressive caddis flights I've observed anywhere. Before the whirling disease epidemic decimated it, the head of fish there was unbelievable. Back in those years, It seemed like every rock had monsters rolling around them.

That spruce moth looks like a species of golden stonefly to me.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 10th, 2013, 4:11 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Kurt,

In 1995, just as the shit was hitting the fan, I was below the Bridge for some of that killer action. That year all you needed was a size 16 caddis and wait until the late afternoon-early evening. Awesome!

Not too sure about the bug either, but what is that big caterpillar?

I am having problems with some pictures. I have three sets. The Canon point and shoot, the iPhone ones, and those from the Nikon. I shot the Nikon ones on fine and they now contain so much data that I can't seem to post them. They are too big. Lucky you! :) I can hardly email them to anyone.

Oh!!! The Black Forest ham would make it a Kurt Special. :) It's the Black Adams all over again. :)

When my flies become famous I want to do like Charlie Ritz. The Ritz #1, the Ritz #2, etc. :)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanSeptember 10th, 2013, 4:17 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Modify the file sizes on your computer before trying to download them, Spence. Look for the menu option somewhere in your photo software or do it from windows pictures.

I haven't a clue about the wooly worm. Perhaps Taxon will recognize it and chime in.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 10th, 2013, 4:30 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Modify the file size? You don't want me to figure this out Kurt! I was gone for over 30 days! You think I carry a slew of flies, the picture number is out there.

My new bird count was wonderful as well.

You said you considered moving to Buffalo Wy, Cooke City Montana is my new Girdwood Alaska.

Have you ever fished the Tongue?
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanSeptember 10th, 2013, 4:56 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Yes, but only once. It was the North Tongue out of Sheridan? If I remember correctly the fishing was excellent, but I've never been back. So many places to fish out here... Fished the three dollar bridge section of the Madison quite a bit during the late '70's and early '80's. Between it and the HF it was hard (for me) to fish anywhere else in that country during those years.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 10th, 2013, 5:18 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
That was my problem this time out. I tried to be everywhere at once and that's simply not possible.

You hang on to those memories sir! I envy them. :)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SayfuSeptember 14th, 2013, 10:20 am
Posts: 560You da man! I fished exactly 4 times all Summer AFTER a few good days on the North Fork (Henry's Fork) in June. My South Fork of the Snake was high, and warm. Now I wait for all the moss to clear out that is dying on the bottom of Palisades Reservoir, and clogging up the river. The water has been drawn down to but 5% left in the reservoir, and doesn't bode well for next year unless we have a big snow pack this Winter. I have never fished the Madison, but sure should have this Summer it looks like.
OldredbarnSeptember 14th, 2013, 6:35 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Sayfu,

I'm going to PM you when I get a few moments. Some locals gave me a place to fish over Idaho way that has nice fish and few anglers. The big bad Henry's Fork is the bigger attraction.

There is another place I missed and was told about when I got home but in this case I've been sworn to secrecy.

Give me a few to get my shit together. I've been running around since I've been back. I am the corresponding secretary at my fishing club and stay away a month has left them in a tether. They want me in more spots than I can be in at one time! :)

Spent today doing our annual fall bird count in a local park. Started at 7:30 and stopped at 4:30.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SayfuSeptember 15th, 2013, 3:21 pm
Posts: 560I have no problem keeping secrets, especially to remote places. I am a boater that fishes/floats close to home, and hike-ins are of little interest to me. Whenever I think of 3hrs. to, and 3 hrs. back after fishing, I generally decide to do a float near home. I do have a few, out of state rivers I make the long trek to every few years, or so. But I do have an interest in learning about those other waters just little interest to fish them...rather weird.
WbranchSeptember 16th, 2013, 9:08 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2505
Nice pictures Spence. The river surely looks lower than I've ever seen it. How in Hades was the guide able to negotiate getting down river with such low water and so many big boulders?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
EntomanSeptember 17th, 2013, 4:35 am
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Your observations are correct, Matt. Three Dollar Bridge is a wade fishing section quite a ways upstream from where boats are allowed. The photos disguise it a little but the river looks to be in fine shape - not low at all based on the way the banks look. It is wadeable because the river's volume is really spread out through here. It is much wider than the pictures show; almost as wide as the Deschutes but not as deep. If you think this section looks rough, you should see the Slide area just upstream coming out of Quake Lake. The river is a lot narrower with even more gradient!

Do you remember where you put in, Spence? Lyon or perhaps further downstream?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
SayfuSeptember 17th, 2013, 11:03 am
Posts: 560Slide area? That must be where Kelly Gallup has his flyshop, and Slide Inn complex, and quite a complex. A lot of $$$$$ involved. I just viewed his website this Summer on the internet when investigating the late "Nocturnal Stone" that was still around. That may have been Classenia. ??
EntomanSeptember 17th, 2013, 2:17 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Yes to everything you said, Jere.

More on the stonefly - the monotypical (only species in the genus) Claassenia sabulosa has got to be the answer. In the past this perlid was variously called Late Golden Stone or Short-winged Golden Stone. The fact that it has never been on many angler radars until recently coupled with the power of the internet explains the sudden popularity of this new common name. This is all assumed as I've yet to see it linked to a species name or good photos making an ID possible. I can't think of what else it could be, though...

BTW - Most perlids are more or less nocternal, especially back East. This common name is only possible in the West where the cooler water/air temperatures of early Summer allow the more common perlids to be seen in impressive numbers during the day. Don't be surprised if Western anglers start calling it the Sabu or similar massacre of the Latin once they find out what it is.:)

BTW2 - I think Spence's above photo is most likely sabulosa.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnSeptember 18th, 2013, 11:04 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
The river was low...By a great deal. The dam at Hebgen is being reworked and won't be completed until 2014 or so. They have been lowering and then raising the water levels and some of the guides feel it has caused some fishing problems, and, as Matt suggests, some boating issues.

When I fished $3 Dollar Bridge area in 1995 it was a tad difficult to wade. Took a few days to get used to. Not so rough this time with the water down a bit.

The Madison is still a hefty river.

Nocturnal or not...The fish didn't seem to mind the fraud floating over their heads at mid-morning. :)

I forgot to mention...I have fished all my life and had never been asked by anyone to see my license...My streak was ended one morning at Lyon's Bridge. I shook the man's hand and said we should take a picture together. He asked why, and I told him that I'm just shy of 60 and he was the one...To finally ask.

I learned a great deal that day how it the system works for the guides. The records they have to keep for each float, how much it costs for a tag for the boat, the guide license, the tax that's paid to the state for each float. So, you want to grow up and be a guide...Not such an easy profession. These boys work their asses off.
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnMarch 15th, 2014, 10:03 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
This has been pulled back up for John S, Wiflyfisher.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
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