The wind has been wicked in the Madison Valley lately (blowing 40 as I type), but it has also been relatively warm this week with temps in the high 40s. So yesterday Nick, Justin, Kris and I jumped on the opportunity to do some winter angling and headed up to $3 Bridge around noon in the hopes of finding some lighter winds and cooperative trout. We found both!
Although there is easily 6” of snow on the ground up there, we were able to drive all the way into the parking area at the bridge. With another winter storm on the way, we may need the snowshoes next time. We stepped out of the truck and were immediately enthused by the calm, warm conditions and the midges in the air.
We got on the board quickly right near the bridge dead-drifting a variety of nymphs and egg patterns. Mostly Rainbows and a couple of Browns. They were all beautiful. With a few fish under our belt, the hunt for risers kicked up a notch.
We hiked quite a ways to an old favorite spot, and right on cue we located a dozen or more good size fish rising regularly to midges. Overcast skies created some very flat light and the wind came up a little making the dry fly fishing pretty challenging. But persistence pays! After 3 or 4 fly changes and dozens of casts, we scored a few good ones with a #20 Glarachute Adams.
All in all, it was a perfect December day for fly fishing the Upper Madison. We will keep our eyes on the forecast and anytime between now and March when the daytime temps rise into the 40s, we will be back out there enjoying the beauty and solitude of winter angling. You should do the same. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes and bad attitudes!
#20 Glarachute Adams
#20 Griffiths Gnat
#20 Tung. Bead Black Zebra Midge
#18 Tangerine Egg
#8 Black/Brown Girdle Bug