I was lucky enough to have a few days off and so with the blessing from my wife I packed up my new 6w rod and set off for the mecca of fly fishing - Montana. Connecting through Salt Lake at 10 am I boarded a plane that had no less than 30 other heavily armed fly fisherman in search for those fantastic summer waters of the Madison and Yellowstone. With a destination such as that one cant help to smile as you circle the valley of Bozeman while the plane lines up for a landing.
For me it was a two part trip. Not only was it a chance for me to angle for wild Montana trout but it was also a chance to spend some quality time on the river with my father, who is just in the beginning stages of learning how to cast a fly. He had always been a fisherman but since he has moved to a place with such legendary waters and devoted fly fishing community he has picked up a good fly rod outfit and began the frustrating and rewarding pursuit of fly fishing. As he puts it 'The trout give him just enough to keep him coming back, but that's about it'. Last winter in a frozen section of the Madison he hooked into a rainbow of a lifetime and I sure wish I could have been there to see him pull it in.
So when the plane landed at 1pm and I met my dad the first thing we did was to head over to the Fin & Feather fly shop at Four Corners right next to the Gallatin River for a few flies and a licence. By 3 we were on the river which has to be one of the quickest airport to river times in history. The following pics are just a taste of the great fish and scenes I had on the trip.
On my last day we took to the Upper Madison where we were told that the fishing was hot and heavy. As it turns out we must have missed the big fishing because after six hours all we had show for our effort was a few very small cutthroat and a sunburn. Of all the other fisherman on the river with us we only saw one other guy and his guide hook into a six inch trout so we moved to another local slightly down stream.
It was there that I hooked into one of the better trout in my life. The size is surely not the biggest and the picture does it mo justice but this guy fought me hard for the better part of fifteen minutes in a stretch of very fast and powerful water. Of all the fish that I have hooked into in my career I have put not more than two trout on the reel and only one of those tested my drag. This guy hit my rubber legged stone with a fierceness of any eastern trout three times his size. Immediately after hooking him he ran and made my Abel reel buzz until I had to chase him down river. With my backing threatening to show he held up in a little eddy where I was able to gain on him. He made a total of four more runs just like the first and by the time I actually had a net on him he had dragged me down river more than 75 yards. After letting him rest I gently released his tail and he swam away to do battle again. It might not have been a record rainbow but it was surely a memorable fight with the prettiest and most powerful fish of the trip.
For me it was my last fish of the trip and a good one to end on. With a fierce hail storm and thunder echoing through the valley, we packed up and headed home tired but elated.