River Reports

June 20...2018. Latest Fishing Report for the entire state of Montana:Underwater_trout



Upper Madison River: A solid week of rain has upped the flow chart.

Hebgen Dam release: 2630cfs

West Fork: 2930

Varney: 3580

Bear Trap: 4070





June 9...2018.hebgen_alarm Upper Madison Report: flows both into and out of Hebgen Lake are decreasing. Flushing is completed and river has peaked. Clarity is improving.

Hebgen - 1500cfs

West Fork - 2200

Varney - 3430

Bear Trap - 4170


June 6...2018. Fishing Report for entire state of Montana and Madison River streamflow report:







Flows remain high and off color on Upper Madison. Levels are down a bit after flushing.

Hebgen Dam release: 2010cfs

West Fork: 2860 running mud.

Varney: 4330 roily

Bear Trap: 4820



May 26...2018. Madison streamflow report:

Hebgen 2450cfs

West Fork 3550

Varney 5730

Bear Trap 4350

   Upper river is muddy...Lower is off but fishable (barely).kitchen_sink


May 15...2018.  Coach Bob Knight. American legend. 902 victories, three NCAA Championships, good times on the river and some really nice trout!coach_bob_knight_rb


May 9...2018. Rivers in Montana are rising statewide. The Madison is high but still fishable although it is tough sledding. Caddis and BWOs are hatching on the Lower Maddy but boat traffic from Bozeman is heavy. missouri_cfs_5-9-18big_hole_cfs_5-9-18varney_cfs_5-9-18(click on images to enlarge)


     River Flow Report.

Big Hole: 5900 cfs @ Glen

Jefferson: 7020 cfs @ Twin Bridges

Madison: 3260 cfs @ Varney

Hebgen Dam: 1650 cfs

Missouri: 12,400 cfs below Holter Dam

Bighorn: 7630 cfs @ St. Xavier

   The ouflow from Hebgen Dam has been reduced but runoff from feeder streams has swollen the Upper Madison. We have some cooler weather coming this weekend so flows may slow a bit.




Early May Fishing Report...Rivers, Lakes and Streams for the Entire State of Montana:lake_trout_yell_1





   April 29...2018. Madison flow charts: Hebgen Dam release-1750cfs...West Fork-2030cfs...Varney-2440cfs...water temps-low to mid 40s. Weather forecast for SW Montana calling for cooler temps with rain mixed with snow the next few days which will retard run-off a bit. Beaverhead and Big Hole already high and off color.


   April 19...2018. Me and Watson walkin' and stalkin' down low today. The fish had no chance.watson_stalk


River Report for midnight, April 13...2018.IMG_3473




April 10...2018. Tracking them down low. Cloudy, windy, 44 degree water temp...cranes, pelicans, geese, mallards, curlews...where's the fish?baileys4_4-10-18baileys2_4-10-18baileys3_4-10-18baileys_4-10-18


Mar. 21...2018. March of the penguins down low today. Cold, windy, cloudy...36 degree water temp. Great day if you're a harp seal or an igloo salesman.fletch_3-20fletch_3




Mar. 5...2018. Let it snow! We have plenty of it in the hills. Way above average statewide. Good news? Well, mostly:






Feb.19....2018. High Run-Off Predicted for Bighorn River. afterbay_dam

   Afterbay Dam...Bighorn River near Ft. Smith, Mt.


   Most of Montana just got another dump of snow in the high country. Still early, but I am guessing most rivers on both sides of the Divide will be "high and mighty" this Spring. 




Feb...2018. More good news! Montana snowpack above average statewide. Madison Valley 121% of normal.snowpack_1







   Snowpack report for Madison Valley: 112% of normal, 140% of last year...looking good!

     click here to view article: Snowpacksnowpack


Jan...2018. Northern birds are in.northern_bird_2

Jan...2018. Nice view today!dekes_1-18duck_dkes_1-2-18


30-20 Club...Washington state angler lands 30" rainbow on size 20 fly using fiberglass Winston rod.





Nov. 9...2017. Hebgen is fixed! Nine years and $40 million dollars later...nice presentation last night by North Western Energy at Sportsman's Lodge here in Ennis. Lots of good people worked long and hard on this project...Kudos!hebgen_party


   Oct...2017. Close encounter with mama moose and her twins.moose_crossing_2moose_crossing_1



Father-son rainbow...well done Kirk and Luke.barnes_crew Great crew today...



   Oct.11...2017. Montana angler lands potential state record smallmouth bass.smallmouth_lunker

               This fish was released alive and swam away. 






   Oct...2017. Really nice rainbow for Robert today. Caught in a side channel.Robert_big_bow_edit


   Oct...2017. Our crew for today...Claudio was high rod! robert_mark_group_1robert_mark_group_2


   Oct...2017. Red-osier dogwood near Squaw Ck., Madison River.red-osier_dogwood_2red-osier_dogwood

                   photos by Randy Brown



   Sept...2017. Some nice rainbows today for Terry and Andy on the Bunny, Sparky and the Olive/White Streamer. We fished the Lyon to Ruby Ck. stretch. Sunny, 70 degrees, light north breeze...perfect!andy_rainbow



   Sept...2017. Claudia gonna sneak up on da fish!claudia_bushes


    Sept...2017. Andy Stone takin' it deep in the Horseshoe on the O-Leech.andy_stone_horseshoe_1andy_2



    Sept...2017. A good day for Bob and Mdr_bob_biggieike. Several large fish on my Sparky fly!





   Sept...2017. Giant brown trout caught on fly in Colorado this summer. Thanks, Kevin!



   Sept...2017. Some bright colored rainbows for Andrew today!andrew_bow_2



   Sept...2017. Nice rainbow for Robert this morning on the O-Leech!robert_bow_2


   Sept...2017. Big, fat rainbow for Bill Sachs today...caught with #18 PA...mighty fine!sachs_bow_9-17


   Sept...2017. Three really nice browns for Dwayne today...yessir!dwayne_3dwayne_1dwayne_2 Caught on The Little Red Fly and Sparky!




   Sept. 9...2017. Hurricane Irma bashes El Malecon in Havana, Cuba. Headed for Florida Keys!irma_havana



   Sept...2017. Casting to rising trout this morning.moose_ch_1


   Sept...2017. old_school_4Old School Friday on the flats. Had to work hard for five nice rainbows this morning but had fun doing it using traditional gear:


   Rod: Winston 8 ft. 3 1/2 wt. IM6, spigot ferrule. Blank deflected by Tom Morgan.

  Reel: Hardy Lightweight.

  Fly Line: DT 3F by Orvis.

  Leader: 9' 5X knotted by Dan Bailey

  Flies: Deer hair callibaetis spinner home tie, #18 PA (parachute adams) by Dan Baileyold_school_1


   Flats hatch report: a few tricos and midge duns early...then heavy callibaetis from 11:30am into the afternoon. Many risers and slurpers but fish are picky.

    Walk the earth.


   Aug.29...2017. texas


Aug...2017. One of several nice ones for Dennis today. Caught...d_hall_brown


...and released.d_hall_brown_2


   Aug...2017. Monster brown for Drew this morning...caught just above the West Nine in a little pocket of water about a foot deep...nice work!drew_hall_brownie


   Aug...2017. Big bow for Dennis today. Eight nice trout in the net...three other big fish got away...good action.d_hall_bow


Aug...2017. Thirty-five  fish day on the Foamy Ant with Colin and Craig...best action was mid-day between 10am-2pm. Had a tooth pop out in the middle of fighting a fish. Craig said his dentist, Dr. Vinnie Boombatz, assured him the Super Glue would hold. If you, or any of your loved ones have suffered similar discomfort from this dentist, email me at yankamolar.com to join in a class action lawsuit. Neck pain? 



 Craig had his tooth pop out today in the middle of fighting a big rainbow. FISH WITH PAIN!





        I examined Craig's tooth and found it to be barbless!


         Thirty five fish day today with Colin and Craig



   Aug...2017. Heavy midge hatch this morning. Caught five nice bows on the Winston 3 wt. #20 Griffith's Gnat...yessiree.lund_1



   Aug...2017. Beauty of a bow today for John Gibbs...well done!




   Aug...2017. Fuzzy and me...38 years together on the Madison...just getting warmed up! You can see we draw a crowd where ever we go!fuzzy_rb_2


   Aug...2017. Some good ones today for Ray and Eric!raymie__hunter

          Ray Cammack



             Eric Cammack


   Aug...2017. Bill Sachs hooked up solid down low...25 fish on dry/dropper combo today...16 rainbows, 9 browns...yes!sachs_hooked_up


   Aug...2017. Real good this morning for Harry and Barron on the O-Leech and tricos.harrys_bow_2



   July...2017. River Monster sighted between Pal-Ruby Ck. today. Beware!river_monster_2



July...2017. Big finish for Jerry & Tina! We did well this morning on the larger spruce moth imitation...I like to use a #10 EHC (elk hair caddis) olive body to match this hatch. Quite a few spruce moths out and about.

   We caught a dozen nice fish on top and then finished it off with a beauty of a brown trout on the Little Red Fly. Well done!jerry_bggie_1



   July ...2017. Been real good out there with Jerry and Tina and Kitty and the Little Red Fly!jerry_tina_1


   July...2017. Major spruce fly hatch at the gas station this morning. It's on!spruce_hatch_2spruce_hatch_1



   July...2017. They were snapping pretty good this morning with Dr. Jerry Bell.jerry_b_2



   July...2017. Here is the River Report for today...meet me at Wolf Ck...va va voom!tina__rb



   July...2017. Great fishing with old pal Peter Forelli today...Petey Boy!petey_boy__rb


July...2017. RUMBLE AT RUBY CK.geo_rb_2

                  Teaching kids to fly fish is what I love to do!


                   George caught a one-eyed whitefish!


                  James caught a really nice brown trout.


   "HOOT OWL"  Fishing Restrictions In Place for Montana Rivers Effective 7/19/17great_gray_owl



   High temperatures and low flows have triggered partial fishing closures on a half-dozen rivers in southwestern Montana.


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced that fishing would be closed from 2 p.m. to midnight starting Wednesday on portions of the Big Hole, lower Madison, lower Gallatin, the East Gallatin and the entire Jefferson rivers. The restrictions will remain until conditions improve , and more restrictions could come.


These are the first "hoot owl" restrictions to arrive in southwestern Montana. They come two weeks later than they did in each of the last two years but are likely to remain for some time.


Travis Horton, FWP's regional fisheries manager, said in a news release that though the region has benefited from a good winter snowpack and good river flows, "temperatures are high and could stay that way for a while."


The affected river sections are as follows:


• Big Hole River from Saginaw Bridge on Skinner Meadows Road to the Mouth of the North Fork Big Hole River


• Big Hole River from Notch Bottom Fishing Access Site to the confluence with the Beaverhead River


• Lower Beaverhead River from Anderson Lane to the confluence with the Big Hole River


• Lower Madison River from Ennis Dam to the mouth


• Lower Gallatin River from Shed's Bridge to the confluence with the Madison River at Three Forks


• East Gallatin River from Spring Hill Road Bridge to the confluence with the main Gallatin River


• The entire Jefferson River





   July ...2013. when you get caught in a hail and lightning storm and have to hide in a horse trailer in the middle of fishing today. Thanks Julie and Julianne!julie_julianne

   July...2017. Great day on the river with Jackie and Mike!jackie_3




   July ...2017. Epic morning on the flats...26 fish on the fly...25 rainbows to 18"...only one brown trout. Awesome midge chironomid hatch. Hot fly was my PTC nymph #16...had one fish straighten out a Tiemco 2457. One of the best mornings I ever had on the flats...water temps 66-70 degrees.chiro_6




   July ...2017. Some great pics from Wes & Andie!wes_1






   July...2017. My ole buddy Raymie with a nice bow from this morning...#18 parachute adams. One of several beauties for Ray and Tim today.raymie_bow_edit_3



   July...2017. Beauty of a buck brown trout for Cindy B. today on a little dry. Saw him rising and caught him!cindy_b_bigun_2


July...2017. Big brown today for Walt in the Snag Hole.snag_hole_brown_3


   June...2017. Nice big bow for John today caught below McAtee Bridge.johns_bow_2


   June...2017. Great times in the salmon fly hatch with Peter and Laura!laura_3peter_b_1




June...2017. Big bugs showing in Varney...river is still high but clarity is good. Next week-ten days should be fun!salmon_fly_5



June...2017. Beautiful morning float from Palisades to McAtee...we caught rainbow, brown trout and whitefish. Water temp @ Ruby Ck. 10:30AM: 54 degrees. Expect salmon flies any day now. Night water temps of 55 deg. the trigger.



June...2017. Excellent today with Laura and Lindsey. We floated the Windy Point/Storey Ditch stretch. Water temp @ McAtee 2pm: 57 deg. Over a dozen nice fish...black is beautiful! I love my job.lindsay_rb



June...2017. Fun day with Kathy and Sean. Nice big bow at the end that I netted five or six times!



June...2017. Good today with Amy and Justin...a dozen fish on the dark side with  
Big Black. Water temp Cameron Flats 1pm: 54 degrees. River high, clarity good.


June...2017. Some good bows today on the O-Leech!robert_bow_2



June...2017...Spring runoff Report from Bozeman Chronicle:

   The upper Yellowstone River has swollen significantly, clocking flows above 20,000 cubic feet per second in recent days, and there’s still more water to come. One snow monitoring site inside Yellowstone National Park, in the Lamar River basin, still has 27 inches of snow. That’s almost 200 percent of the average level there for this date.


Snow levels inside the park have also buoyed the upper Madison River. Snowpack above Hebgen Lake was recorded at 151 percent of average after the month of May, and at about 97 percent of normal below Hebgen. Streamflows for the Madison in the next two months are forecast to be about 116 percent of average.


A healthy summer is also expected on the Big Hole River. The report forecasts that flows near Wisdom in June and July will be about 146 percent of normal, and 144 percent of normal from June through September. Near Melrose, the forecasts predict 122 percent of normal flows for June and July and 119 percent of normal for June through September.big_hole_flood



May 30...2017. Weather has been hot and dry lately...air temps 40s at night, around 80 deg. days. Flow releases at Hebgen Dam beginning to drop and level off @ 1410cfs, West Fork 2350cfs, Varney 3360cfs.hebgen_5-30-17

    River is high but fishable and shaping up...water temp @ Varney this afternoon: 56 deg.


   May...2017. Here's the fishing report for today:morels_1morels_3morels_2



   May 12...2017. Madison high and heavy...2450cfs @ West Fork...3510cfs @ Varney...Bear Trap roaring at 3860cfs...be careful out there.kelly_br_wreck_4



   May 9...2017. Big Hole river predicted to reach minor flood stage early next week.



One time many years ago I did a float on the Big Hole in June during the salmon fly hatch. The river was way high. Somewhere below Melrose I took a side channel to the right and ended up running aground in a farmer's field surrounded by chickens and ducks. It was a long drag back to the main river.Big-Hole-River-Rock                Big Hole River near Maiden Rock


   May 8...2017. Madison rolling...Hebgen release: 1410cfs, West Fork 1910cfs and mud, Varney 2590cfs, Bear Trap raging at 3100cfs. River is fishable east side below West Fork and upstream at Three Dollar/Raynolds/Slide areas. PM Caddis hatches are heavy but so is the water. Be careful out there.madison_5-8-17



    April...2017. So it snowed all day and got cold all day even though it's almost May in Montana what the hey what the heck? Water temp 40 degrees to start the day. We caught fish and I showed off my primitive survival skills...toasty! claudia_4




   Ran into a heavy midge/baetis hatch at 3pm in the middle of a snow/sleet bluster...many fish rising lined up in a seam between heavy and soft water.


   April 26...2017. Fan Mtn. almost totally covered in snow.fan_mtn_4-26-17

   April 22...2017. Happy Earth Day!tree_hugger



April...2017. Another good morning down low...a dozen rainbows on Brown Leech and Blood Leech. So far in April, 59 rainbows caught and only one brown on the lower stretch. Water temps: 44 deg. @ 9am...52 deg. @ noon.clacka_4-17




April...2017. We went 8 for 12 today on the Blood Leech in the heavy wind. Nice work Andy and Aiden! Water temps 48-54 deg.aiden_bow_good_one








March Precipt. Report...Madison Valley at 176%, Gallatin-127%, Yellowstone-152%. No significant snow melt in high country yet. This is good news for the rivers.Fan_mtn_oct_2013_001

April..2017.  A good day down low. Fifteen rainbows all on the Blood Leech...slow twitch. Fish are podded up, pre-spawn. Water temp 46 deg...50 is trigger temp. for Spring rainbow spawn in Madison. Watson's still got it!






April...2017. FWP releases map showing spread of PKX parasite. This is the nasty little microbe that killed thousands of Rocky Mountain Whitefish in the Yellowstone River last year.parasite_map



March...2017. Excellent fishing today...24 trout to hand, 13"-17"... all rainbows, on Purple Death, Brown Bugger and Blood Leech. We stood in one spot and caught sixteen. The fish are still in winter mode, holding and podded up in the softer current spots. Cloudy, windy, light rain off and on....water temp 44 degrees.fletch_3-17fletch_4_mel_3-17





March...2017. Amazing how the ice gorge in the Channels stretch of the Madison freezes underground and pushes the soil up into mounds and muffins. Now with the slow thaw in the spring, the uplifted dirt and pasture grass will settle back down and disappear as if nothing ever happened.fletch2_3-17fletch_6_3-17fletch_5_3-17


March 27...2017. Snow pack in good shape...latest from Hebgen Dam:hebgen


"Inflows were up to 1400cfs on Thursday but have declined. The last two days have
averaged about 1100cfs. At 09:00 yesterday, outflow was reduced by 10% to the
current level of 1160cfs. The snotel sites above Hebgen are now 113% while the
Madison Basin overall is 104%.  Current elevation is 6527.81ft which is slightly
higher than the 10 year average. Precipitation for the month of March to date is
113% of average. Snowpack, precipitation, weather forecast and inflows are
constantly monitored."





March...2017. Ya gotta be organized!fly_tie_2fly_tie_3



Feb. 5...2017. Super Bowl Sunday!lady_gaga






Jan. 13...2017. Ice Fishin'... Ennis Lakeennis_lake_ice_blowup_3ennis_lake_ice_fish_blowup_1



   Jan. 5...2017...Wintertime, Madison River, Eight Mile Ford, Varney.river_gorge_2_1-17

watch my YouTube video of ice flow at Varney Bridge

                                click here


Wintertime...Pioneer Bar...Virginia City, Montana.bear_pio_2

    Bring your pets, we serve everybody!bear_pio_1



Dec...2016. Northern birdsnorthern_birds



   Dec...2016. Winters can be tough around here. Some critters don't make it through. Found this one today...birds and coyotes had it picked clean.winter_kill_1whitetail_winter_kill_resizeSince this was a whitetail buck in his prime, I would suspect something other than old age, disease or starvation lent to his early demise. 



Christmas Day, 2016...RBMF Base Camp.



December 19...2016. A River Runs Through It...the Ennis Campground, that is. 20 below zero weather and the Madison River gorges up, running over its banks and going wacko wherever it wants, flooding out the campground and running over towards O'Dell Ck. and then down through Valley Garden...wild scene.ennis_campround_12-16_resize




Valley Garden Campground also locked down...but you could jump the fence and ice skate to the river.valley_garden_12-16valley_garden_12-16_2

Valley Garden campground & boat access.valley_garden_12-16_3


Dec. 16,17...2016. ennis_23_below

   23 below zero...FEAR NO ROCK...fear no snow drift...stay inside...work the remote.winter_12-16_3







Ennis High School Mustangs...2016 State Champs!ennis_mustangs_champs


 View from my boat...mouth of Wolf Ck...Madison River...Nov. 2016wolf_ck_nov_2016


Nov.1...West Yellowstone sets all time record for rainfall in Oct. Good news for the trout, good news for the Madison and good news for the flyfisher!west_yell_rain


   Oct....2016. One of many nice bows for John B. on the O-Leech.john_b_bow  


   Oct...2016. Found this "Headway" bong in the river today...it was in pretty rough shape...broke in half...had a few caddis larvae and midge pupae hanging on to it...they seemed real happy!

   I guess half a bong is better than no bong at all.bonger

   Oct. 20016. Fall fishing on the Madison continues...the browns are colored up...here's a good one caught by one of the good guys...nice fish Buddy!buddy_b




   Oct...2016. A really good Madison brown for Andy Stone.andy_stone_brownie




Oct...2016. Fished with these tree huggers today...can you tell we had some fun? Thanks Eiljah and Naomi!Elijah__Naomi



   Sept. 29...2016. Big bows for Will today workin'  the O-Leech!will_bow_5will_bow_1

   Sept. 27...2016. Davey hooked up solid last night. One of those special evenings on the Flats with rainbows on the feed.davey_leach_hooked_up



   Sept.22...2016. Second straight day of rain in the valley and snow in the hills...much needed and thankful!mountain_rain


  Sept. 15...2016. Had some good fishing with Wallace on the flats...went 10 for 11 on rainbow in the morning...nice work on the O-Leech!




   Sept. 14...2016. Check out this beauty we caught today...nice fish Dave!dave_sweet_2

   River is running with low flows...697cfs out of Hebgen Dam...860cfs at Varney...this is the shallowest it has been all year, making for easy wade fishing and some dry fly fishing in the afternoon with hopper and attractor patterns. 

   Waters temps range from low 50s in the morning to around 60 degrees in the afternoon.

   The weather forecast for the next week looks good with cool nights and sunny days in the mid-70s. Indian summer!



   Fishin's been real good this summer with Dirty Mike Elliott and "The Chief" Kent Rockwood.dirty_mike__the_chief_edit



   Late Summer...2016. Ants, hoppers, baetis and night stones on the river...leeches, damsels, tricos and callibaetis on the Flats...a lot to look forward to!flying_ant


       my Deer Hair Callibaetis Spinner

Hook: Mustad 94840 dry fly, size 12

Wing: mule deer flank hair, stacked & tied spent wing

Body: Fly Rite #19 light tan dubbing, extra fine

Tail: blue dun hackle fibers, splayed


       my Callibaetis Emerger

Hook: Gamakatsu L10-2H nymph 2x strong, size 12

Body: Borden's Hare-Tron #4 golden brown dubbing, picked

Rib: gold wire

Tail & beard: drake mallard flank fibers

Head: peacock herl, no bead




              my O-Leech pattern...size 12 is best


   Aug 29...2016. Another big fat brown for Dr. Bell today...caught on the Little Red Fly! Released alive to swim away.dr_bell_brown_close_up




Aug. 28...2016. A beauty of a brown trout today for Dr. Jerry Bell...caught on the Foamy Ant!

   Flows are up a bit with an increase of outflow at Hebgen: 985cfs...good news. dr_bell_lunker

                                 Dr. Jerry Bell


                              Foamy Ant #14



   Aug. 23...2016. Just a dandy big fish for Dennis today on the Little Red Fly! Released alive.den_big_brown_1_resize

Aug. 22...2016. Big fat buster brown, yah it was a good day with Kay and Dennis!den_3


   Aug...2016. Great seeing old friend AJ "Fat Boy" DeRosa. AJ is the owner/outfitter at Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures...check out his website...a unique outdoor experience.



Aug. 14...2016. Big finish today for Cindy B!cindy_b_cg_edit  


   Aug. 13...2016. River otters watching us fish today.otters_crop  



   Aug. 11...2016.Excellent again this morning on the tricos...many sippers, slurpers and gulpers...way to go Mary and Cross...these girls can fish!cross_bow_edit mary_bow_edit



   Aug. 9...2016. A beauty of a brown trout on a dry caddis today...we fished the Varney stretch...nice fish David!david_moss_brown


Aug...2016 Summers Farm & Ranch...two generations of fly fishers and great Idaho potatoes!


          Bert Summers with a fine Madison River brown trout.


                Summers Farm & Ranch...Sugar City, Idaho danny_summers_crop

                                  Danny Summers 1955-2011




Aug. 4...2016...Big release at Hebgen...1550cfs out of the dam...flows are strong...water temps hanging in there: 59 deg. at Varney this morning...Bear Trap is rolling...weather is hot and dry...entire Jefferson R. closed to fishing...we are lucky here on the Madison...I think. thinker



   Aug. 2...2016. Trico madness...hundreds of large trout sipping thousands of tiny flies on top. One of several nice rainbows today for Elly!elly_tues trico_madness




            Aug. 1...2016. The 20/20 Club.

   If you can catch a twenty inch trout on a size 20 fly you are in the Club. Not many can do it. A lot of stuff can go wrong. But every once in a while a plan comes together. Welcome Raney Sachs to the 20/20 Club...well done Raney!raney_crop_2

 Twenty inch brown trout caught by Raney Sachs on a size 20 Griffiths Gnat dry fly








Tricos, Spruce Moths, Adams, Griffiths Gnat, everything worked...all dries, all the time...nice fish Elly!bill__elly_1








Late July in the spruce fly hatch with Jerry and Tina and Kitty and Caroline and Dean!caroline_2

spruce_moth bell_1




July...2016. Always a good time on the river with John, Nancy and Arin!arin_rb_john




July 21...2016. View of the Blue Lake fire this afternoon from our river float trip. Fire is near Axolotyl Lakes in the Gravelly Mts.gravelly_fire_edit



July 20...2016. Callibaetis in town...tricos, too. Flats alive with risers...water temps: 64deg. South end...72deg. North end...hot and glassy!



cally_2_edited-1cally_3_editJuly14...2016. Mottled sculpin, "cottus bairdii"...local name: "bullhead"...the big trout love them...they eat them...this one is a lunker!rbbullhead

Sculpins are canniballistic. Males are known to eat their young if one contracts some kind of virus or fungus. The males also eat small females. Therefore older females are usually chosen for mates over younger females.bullhead_maddy




July 8...2016. Fuzzball in his element, Madison Flats, slick calm, heavy midge hatch, smooth.fuzzy_adobe_2_edit





July 5...2016. Several large trout for Dianne and Amy Catherine...great day!Amy_Cs_bigun_edit_resize



Happy Fourth of July 2016!american-flag-1flag_clacka_001





June 28...Always a good time on the river with long time clients Paul and Ellen.gulbas_edit




June 26...A good day on the river with Joe H. We like the salmon fly hatch!joe_heard_4_edit_2



June 24...Whopper brown today for Dylan C. on the bullet-head sofa pillow...22 incher...nice! 

    River is clear...most of the flow coming from the feeder streams since Hebgen Dam is now cranked down to 545cfs...1210cfs at Varney. Big flies concentrated between McAtee & Varney.dylan_lunker_edit



June 23...Hit the salmon fly hatch with Peter and Vy...many big trout on the sofa pillow...12 fish 16 to 21"...awesome day on dries!peter_bow_2_finalpeter_lunker_1_final_try




June...2016... fun day in Varney with Kaitlyn and Troy. A few big bugs in here and lots of caddis, sallys & mays. Water is low.kaitlyn_varney



Wild roses in bloom along the river means salmon fly time!wild_rose_edit


June 19...Good morning on salmon fly nymphs

 with Mike Treloar and Hunter Shumacher...we floated the Storey-Varney stretch. Salmon flies starting in Varney. River is low and clearing.salmon_fly_nymphs_001treloar_-_hunter


June 18...Excellent on the Flats before the wind came up...seven trout all on the O-Leech..six bows and a brown...quite a few fish rising to a tiny midge/chironomid. The salmon fly hatch came and went in a hurry over on the Big Hole. Headed out to look for big bugs on the Madison today.drowned_salmon_fly_002



JUNE 13, Great day on the river with Elise and Byron...caught 10 nice ones to 18"...we floated the Lyon to Palisades stretch. River is green and very fishable...running 1050cfs at West Fork...Squaw Ck clear, Standard Ck. clear, Horse Ck. clear, Moose Ck. clear, Wolf Ck. clear...Hebgen Dam is buttoned down to 663cfs...expect an early salmon fly hatch this year...elise_byron_rb_2



June, 2016

Gettin' Ready...salmon_fly_hatch


May, 2016morels_5-16


mushroom photos by Randy Brown 




APRIL, 2016  

Workin' at it...rollin' them out.bunny_bucket_edit






MARCH, 2016rb_st_pats


 2016 Fishing Season

Madison River is Open for Fishing Year Round. From the Quake Lake outlet to Ennis Lake we are open! Come to Montana and go fish!Ennis_Bridge_2




To all the good labs...past, present, future. 




Toots The Wonder Dog





Dec. 2015...




December...2015...Ice, Ice, Baby!ice_gorge_12-15_editice_gorge_edit_2ice_gorge_edit_3

watch video of Madison River Gorge




Happy Thanksgiving from RBMF!






northern_bird_11-15                                            Northern bird


Montana Fall Colors...hen mallard, wigeon, green-wing teal.duck_colors


Nov...2015. Having a hard time landing this morning!snowduck_edit






   Oct...2015. Late October dry fly brown...caught below Kelly Br. on #12 PMX...nice fish Bernie!Bernie O


   Oct...2015. Whopper brown trout from Jefferson R...guided by Mike Treloar.jeff_whopper_crop_edit



    Oct...2015. Overcast day in the Channels means large trout on the prowl with Andy and Terry.Andy_Stone_lunker_004_crop2


              October Channels brown...caught by Andy Stone...released alive.Terry_channels_bow_002

     Fat Channels rainbow caught by Terry Lamplugh on his rubber legs home-tie...released alive.


   Sept...2015. A pair of nice brownies today on the Little Red Fly!...with Bill and Tanya Sullivan.sullivan_brownies_004



   Sept...2015. Beast Mode...monster rainbow caught above Varney...with Mike Treloar.treloar_big_bow_2_001


   Sept...2015. So here's pretty much the view we had on today's float trip in between the black clouds/lightning/hail/rain/north wind/south wind/chilly factor...did I mention it snowed a helluva lot in the hills?fan_mtn_9-17-15_005



Sept...2015...The kinda bow I'm talkin' about...with Mike Treloar.treloar_bow



   Sept...2015...Going down...channelsfred_margy_004



Sept...2015. Nice bow caught by Doug Brown fishing with Bill Sachs today!doug_brown_bow_001



  Sept...2015. We be catchin' and noodlin'...fun fishing the Channels with Ronnie and Fred!flats_ronnie_fred_006





   Sept....2015...Really good this morning on the flats...many risers, gulpers and sippers...eleven trout...all rainbows...Parachute Adams and my PTC Midge home-tie. Good job Edward!flats_hailstorm_edit_1008010




Sept...2015...Excellent late day with Jim and Connie...25 trout on the Foamy Ant...we fished the Palisades stretch...the fish are looking for ants and by the looks of the weather report for the next several days they are going to get their wish! Watch for the flying ant hatch this week!FlyingAnts



Sept....2015. A great day in Varney...a dozen nice trout on the RB Bunny and the Little Red Fly. Good job Cindy B!rosy_dillion_bw


   Aug. 26...2015. Major girth on this rainbow caught by Dennis Hall today on Cameron Flats. 

   Have seen some big bows this summer on the Madison...longer and fatter than ever before. Yessir!dennis_hall_fat_bow_005



   Aug. 25...2015. Big ones today on the Little Red Fly...thanks Tom & Bob!





   Aug. 24...2015. Good day on the Flats...thirteen rainbows to 19" on the O-Leech and PTC nymph. Nice midge hatch AM then a good cally hatch mid-day. Still smoky. Water temps 62-66 degrees. No brown trout today.sachs_davey_022

                                         Trophy crawdad...Madison Flats


   Aug. 21...2015. Upper Madison flows and water temps...good news!

Hebgen- 900cfs...West Fork-994cfs...Varney-1020cfs...water temp @ Varney this morning: 58 degrees. We are in good shape!brown_trout_channels_2



   Aug. 20...2015. Ghost trip today on the Flats and in the smoke. Many risers to midges and dusky duns. Caught four bows and a nice brown.watson_lund_boat_bw



   Aug. 19...2015. Red hot on the Flats today...16 fish...all rainbows and one big, fat 20" brown trout...all on the O-Leech. Stood in one spot and caught a dozen...fun day!madison_river_brown_6olive_leech_5



 Aug...2015. Raney's excellent adventure... Girls Gone Wild Fly Fishing Hip Hop and Bee Bop Club.rainey__girls_006

                   Raney's 18" rainbow on a dry fly...yo!

                   Photo bomb by Peaches...yo!



rainey__girls_007                     Headed for the river...yo!






Where are we?...yo! 






                    Focus, breathe deep, be the fish...yo!


   Aug...2015. My callibaetis spinner home-tie (speckled dun).salmon_flys_flats_flys_003_edit_crop


hook: Mustad 94840 #12, #14

tail: blue dun hackle fibers splayed

body: Hairline gray dubbing

hackle: blue dun

wing: drake mallard flank feather (I use the E. Hille Wingcutter to form the wings)



   Aug...2015. A dozen big trout for Bill Sachs today...all on dry flies. #20 Griffiths Gnat and #12 calli spinner were the hot patterns.sachs_davey_002sachs_davey_014sachs_davey_003


    Bill caught this 19" rainbow on #20 Griffiths Gnat (trico) 


     Aug...2015...A great day on the Madison with my good friend Stu Apte!rb__stu_who2




   Aug...2015. It was a trico kind of morning...nice catch Elinor!tricos_elanore_001tricos_elanore_006



   Aug...2015...I don't often catch big fish...but when I do, I prefer to catch a bigass rainbow like this one William McGee caught!dos_eqquis_manmcgee_lunker_2_001



   Aug...2015. Brown drake hatch on the flats tonight...we hooked six large trout on dry flies.brown_drake_003



                                     photos by Randy Brown








Aug. 4...2015. Great day with long time client Steve Hobson and son Adam. Nice brown trout on the Fat Albert dry fly! We have fished the Florida Keys and Montana together!


   Aug. 3...2015. Top level Madison River fly fishing guides strategy session outside our executive office building today...bert__rbguide_pic_8-3-15_004

Mike T...."I smell something"

RB..."Me too"

Brandon..."Something's dead"

Dirt..."Road Kill?"

Mike T..."You guys got any flies?"

RB..."I'm almost out"

Brandon..."I've got way too many"

Dirt..."I really don't care"

Mike T..."Let's go get a beer"

RB..."Fine with me"

Brandon..."I'll sell you guys some flies"

Dirt..."Let's go get a beer"

Mike T..."You got a dip?"

RB..."Nah, I quit"

Brandon..."I got one"

Dirt..."Let's go get a beer"


   Meeting adjourned...all problems solved...fish till you fall over.



Aug...2015. Trico Madness!tricos_8-1-15_001



July 30...2015. Sparky's revenge! Good times with Sam and Kevin in Varney.



   July...2015. Many great years with these fine people...thanks Jerry and Tina!GBell_6_crop




    July...2015. Dodging rain and hail this afternoon...but we caught a few nice ones!

Flow reports are still good:  Hebgen Dam release-794cfs...West Fork 914cfs...Varney-1030. Water temp @ Varney this afternoon: 65 degrees.cindy_b_7-10-15_005



   July 16...2015.night_stonesreds_house_001


   Nocturnal (mutant) stone fly shucks today above Varney.


   July...2015. We hit the trico hatch this morning...many large trout nosing, sipping and slurping...including these beauties...tricos_Robert_Rick_7-14-15_005

      Robert Mark...20" brown on #20 Griffith Gnat dry fly


                                        #20 Griffith Gnat


      Rick Benners, 19" rainbow on #18 trico cluster dry fly.channels_midge_hatch


   July 13...2015. Flow Report: Hebgen- 931cfs, West Fork 1050cfs, Varney 1270cfs...water temp @ Varney this morning: 62 deg. We are in great shape..."better than most". Keep it rolling...night_stone_Robert_7-13-15_008


                       Nocturnal stone fly shucks...Madison River


   July 11...2015. Turtle invasion on the Madison River!turtle_7-11-15_013turtle_7-11-15_011



July...2015. We hit the trico hatch today with Cindy B. The big trout were nosing and slurping. Caught several beauties on #14 PA and #16 PTC Midge...excellent!cindy_b_7-10-15_004cindy_b_7-10-15_002



   TBT...Before knee locks, before foot anchors, before bead heads, before Gore-Tex...we had ash oars, Gluv-It, rubber boots and Pfleuger Medalists...and we caught a lot of fish! rb_jefferson_77

          Randy Brown, Jefferson R. below LaHood, Mt. 1977


   July...2015. We caught fish on the dries early and wet flys just before noon. Flows still good...1090cfs @ West Fork today...water temp. 68 deg. @ 5pm. Keep it rolling.


July 8...2015. Eileen bags a big one on the Sparky fly!eilleens_biggie_001



    July 7...2015. Good this morning...twelve on dry flies...heavy PMD hatch Pal-Mac...flows are still good...1200cfs @ West Fork. Saw quite a few fish rising to naturals this morning!mary_anns_whopper_paint_brush_001_edit_1

                                                        paint brush near Ruby Cliffs


   July 6...2015. We had a welcome cool front along with a pretty good rain/hail storm that came through while the US Women were stomping on Japan in the World Cup Final._12A0317    Caught seven on the Flats this morning...five rainbows, two browns...the PTC nymph, the O-Leech and the dry fly all caught fish. Water cooler on the Flats...temps were 65 deg. south end, 70 deg. north shore._12A0420_edit

   Stay tuned for more reports!




July 5...2015. Dodging Bullets.

   The heatwave is giving way to north wind and cooler temps for a while. The river has made it through some 100 degree air temp days but good flows have kept the water temps from boiling over into the danger zone.

   Flows today: Hebgen Dam: 1020cfs, West Fork: 1230cfs, Varney 1460cfs. This is GOOD NEWS. These flows are close to a 76 year average which is outstanding. When Hebgen switches over to the new release system at the dam (have they switched over yet?)things should get even better.

We have a long (short?) hot summer yet to go, but we have made it through a rough patch. Thank you Northwestern Energy!hebgen_dam







HAPPY 4TH OF JULY FROM RBMF!ennis_4th_parade_3

                          Main St. parade...Ennis, Mt.weenie_on_parade_001weenie_on_parade_003



JULY_4TH-_2015_001                  RBMF Headquarters...Ennis, Mt.


July 3...2015. Whopper for Mary Ann this morning on my Sparky fly...awesome!mary_anns_whopper_paint_brush_003



July 1...2015. Good again this morning...quite a few risers to midges, big callys and damsels. Six nice rainbows to 19"...water temps 72-77 deg.damsel_fly_1 Now put on your dancin' shoes and do The Damsel Fly Boogie!  CLICK HERE



   June 29...2015. Nice morning on the flats...a dozen trout on the fly...six bows, six browns...and broke a couple off! Hatches are good but not heavy yet...midges, callys, damsels...lots of risers but it will only get better. Water temps: 72-77 deg.


   Watch video..nice rainbow from this morning...CLICK HERE


June 24...2015 Salmon fly hatch report.salmon_fly_5Hatch is still scattered from Varney upstream. Some very nice fish being taken on the big dry flies. Yesterday we found a hot bank that was loaded with the big bugs. We hooked four fish, had another half dozen come up and boil on the fly, and finished the run with a nice, fat nineteen inch rainbow. River is running clear with a good flow. We are headed for some possible record heat starting Saturday. Help the fish by releasing them fast and happy!pauls_fish_edit

                               Paul Gulbas...salmon fly hatch rainbow


June 23...2015. Where's the hatch? Salmon flies scattered this year. Fishing very good if you find the hot areas. Many other hatches mixed in...golden stones, large caddis, may flies heavy in spots. Get out there and have at it!salmon_fly_2_editsalmon_fly_1_edit



June...2015. Twenty inch brown today for Rian!rian_lunker_003_edit_2



June 15...2015...Hebgen release flows cut in half...water temp. 60 deg. @ Varney...time for the big bugs...salmon flies whooshed through @ Big Hole R. and poof! Stay tuned.salmon_flies_2


June 2015...Click here to see...

                    Midge Bowflats_fog_7-14_009



June 2015...Click here to see...

                   Callibaetis = trout candycallibaetis





June, 2015 Click here to see...

Rainbow on the Flatsflats_july_2013_006






June 1, 2015. Rivers in full turbo runoff mode...be careful out there!kelly_br_wreck_4



Kelly Bridge, Madison River






Big Hole River






Memorial Day, 2015...Honoring Our Vets.memorial_day_3



May, 2015...Time for Montana Mushrooms! 


Pictured above...two giant oyster mushrooms (pleurotus ostreatus). I found these growing out of the base of a downed cottonwood tree. Oysters are considered edible, choice mushrooms...great fresh with pasta or spaghetti sauce...or dry and freeze them. Tasty!








Morel mushrooms (morchella esculenta), tops!rb_morels_5-15



spring_in_Montana_edit_1April 15, 2015...Springtime in Montana...time for BBQs and...err, ummm...red_wings_april_snow_010_edit






   April, 2015...Getting ready for my 43rd year fishing the Madison...come see me and let's fish!guide_sticker_szucs_sign_001_edit



Artwork by Robert Szucs




March 17, 2015...rb_st_pats


Feb. 2015...wolf_005_website

               Hungry Like A Wolf...Pioneer Bar...Virginia City, Mt.


Jan. 2015...fan_mtn_jan_2015_002_edit_cropduck_blind_1-18-2015_editduck_blind_1-18-2015_006_edit_2






 Randy Brown photos



 Jan. 1, 2015


Dec. 2014...walk the earthxmas_eve_dux_2014_002




 Randy Brown photos




decoy_spread_dec_2014 duck_blind_view


   Nov.27, 2014...Happy Thanksgiving from RBMF!duck_feast_10-14_edit_2

                 Brace of Montana mallard duck ready for the roaster. 


Nov. 11, 2014...Honoring the Vets!


   Oct., 2014...This is how we roll...no, this is HOW WE ROLL! mcgee_final_001



   Oct. 2014...Great day today on the Upper Madison with William and Clay...several big fish in the net including this whopper rainbow...we floated the Windy Pt. to Storey Ditch stretch...excellent on the RB Bunny and the Little Red Fly.mcgee_bow_edit_2

   Monster rainbow caught today by William McGee on the Little Red Fly

   mcgee_bow_005 mcgee_bow_edit_1


   Oct. 2014....Awesome float today with long-time Ennis guide Leon Thexton. We caught fish in the wind...even some on dries! Fun.leon_rb_001_edit


    Oct. 2014...A dozen more nice trout today  on the "O-Leech"...only one brown trout, the rest rainbows. Felt cooler out there...water temps in narrow range, 51-54 degrees. Front coming this week. Getting ready for some big browns on streamers...headed for the Clay Bank Hole!clay_bank


   Oct. 2014...Excellent on the Flats again today...19 trout on the fly...16 rainbows, 3 browns...the hatches are pretty slim but a few fish are still rising...and if you can find them like I did today, THEY BITE!... Hard, fast, agressive bites. I had several that bit it on the strip, let go, then bit it again right next to me! flats_oct_2014_edit_3

                          First fish of the day...a fine brown trout.


   And it seems like the fish are bunched up...find one and you find a pile of them.

   I beefed up to 2x tippet and a #10 fly and they still bit hard...And these fish are in fantastic condition...no snakes...no skinny fish...all fat, healthy and fired up!





           One of several really nice rainbows to 19" caught today on my olive leech.




         My view from the Flats today...Lone Mtn. sticking up behind Fan Mtn. 


   My set-ups today for the Flats:

rod: Sage FLi 590-4

reel: Okuma SLV 5/6

rod: Winston 9/6 Glenn Brackett Custom

reel: Ross Gunnison G3

line: Cortland 444SL mint green, WF5F

line: Cortland 444 peach, WF6F

leader: RIO Powerflex tapered down to 2X

butt section: RIO Flouroflex 44lb. .023

fly: olive leech home-tie, #10


This fishery continues to amaze me how good it is. Waters temps today ranged from 52- 57 degrees...the water is cooling off and the temp range is narrowing as the days get shorter...I think this is one reason these fish are being so aggressive...they like the cooler temps and they are like the bears...getting fat for the winter!


   Oct. 2014...Indian Summer is here...red hot session on the Flats...11am-1pm...nine straight fish on the olive leech...two browns and seven rainbows to 18 inches. Sunny, 73 degrees. light wind...perfect!

   Water temp @ noon...56 deg. north end.mike_3





Duck Season starts this Sat., Oct. 4 in Montana...are you ready?duck_hunting_2duck_hunting_3



Sept. 2014...Late Summer, early Fall baetis hatches in Montana. blue_wing_olive

   Called "blue-winged olive", "gray baetis" and other names...this late season hatch is important and can produce great dry fly fishing when the weather gets crummy. Look for cloudy, miserable, blustery days for these flys to pop out at several spots in the Upper Madison...I have had bonanzas at the Comleyville Flats in Sept/Oct. where seemingly every fish in the river was rising.fall_baetis_hatch

  And don't forget the Lower Madison R. from Warm Springs to Gray Cliff around and among the weed beds where this hatch can get extremely thick.

   Tie on a #16 Parachute Adams and go to work!



Sept. 2014...Fished with Don, Dan and Odin in the Varney stretch...the wind blew hard but we caught some nice fish!


Sept. 2014...Montana FWP electro-shock crew in the Varney stretch today...things are looking good! We caught them early in the run and they talked about a really "big bubba" that barely escaped the net on the east channel below Varney Br. mt_fwp

   Preliminary and anecdotal estimates of trout populations are looking excellent in Varney and especially in the Pine Butte section. Seeing less Whirling Disease affectation in the rainbows. Good situation!


   Thanks Tim and crew!



                      Varney rainbow



shock_crew_sept_2014_edit_3                  Here I am helping Tim exaggerate the fish count!


  Here's a big black mess of trout from Varney...if you guys can't catch 'em it ain't my fault!shock_crew_sept_2014_edit_1


    Sept. 2014..We fished all the water we could and then some...the olive leech, the RB bunny, the half back hopper and more...thanks Bill and Tanya!







   Sept. 2014...Some more pics from the Steve Becker group...these guys can fish!brandon_brown

becker_brown_1   Steve Becker with a nice brown trout above and a fat rainbow below...on the olive leech!becker_bow_1

       Sept. 2014...A mink on a log and a rainbow trout on a fly...nice fish Chris!channels_sept_20-14_mink_1




   Sept. 2014...Some shots of the nice rainbows we caught today. The olive leech strikes again! Thanks, Will, Richard, Robert and John!will_channels_sept_19-14_edit_3will_channels_sept_19-14_edit_2



   Sept. 2014...Fun day with Andy and Noble on Monday including a 20 inch brown above Burnt Tree...then two super days on the flats...over 40 trout, mostly rainbows, from 14-20". Now we have some more nice weather on the way...can't wait!_12A0331_edit


   Sept. 2014...Red hot on the Flats...26 trout on the fly...all rainbows from 15-19"...all on the same fly...my olive leech...awesome Montana Sept. day!ksu_flats_sept_2014_edit_1ksu_flats_sept_2014_edit_2


   Sept. 2014...Out on the Flats mid-morning...got to marked spot on my Garmin hand-held around 11AM...a few risers around...first cast, boom, 16 inch rainbow...then 8 more bows 15-19" and a 17" brown all in one hour. Water was chilly: 51 degrees @ 1PM, but fishing was good! _12A0420_edit


   Sept. 2014...Brrrr!...chilly two days but we caught some nice ones...hard North blow yesterday and 22 degrees this morning...water temp down low was 48 degrees at 10AM....warmed up to 58 deg. PM... 

   My olive leech home tie was the hot fly today...six nice bows in the net and one monster got away!channels_sept_1112_1



   Sept. 2014...Really good today in the Varney stretch...the browns are getting colored up including a big, fat, 23 inch male on the little red fly... thanks Jim and Tom!kalivas_lunker_5


   Sept. 2014...Great day with these guys...14 trout on dries this afternoon...the hot fly was #10 Dave's Hopper...thanks Rick and Mike!mike_2mike_3




                  Madison brown trout caught on #10 Dave's Hopper


   Sept. 2014...Saturday on the Flats...we were dying a slow death in the morning...fish were rising but they hated the fly...ready to pack it in at 1PM...putted out to a deeper spot where a pod of nice fish were rising to the smaller version calibaetis...no bueno...lots of risers, zero bites. _12A9874_edit

   Going home for sure now when I looked down at my waders and a large, slimy squiggly thingy went dog paddling under water...a dark leech the size of a small lizard. leech_under_water

   I had just tied up some olive leeches so what the heck?

   First cast into a pod of risers and BAM!...eighteen inch rainbow...so much for matching the hatch.

   The next two hours were epic...thirty fish on the fly, one after another after another...and they were crashing it...couldn't miss...almost all nice rainbows with the occasional brown trout.olive_leech_4


My dark olive leech home tie: I fish this with 3X tippet.

Hook: Mustad 9672 Viking, 2x hvy. 4x long, #12...mash down the barb.

Tail: Wapsi dark olive maribou

Body: Wapsi leech yarn, olive

Collar: peacock herl

Head: Brite Bead, black nickel, 1/8

HOOK UPDATE...went to the Mustad 3906B 3x heavy 2x long, sproat hook #10...had a few issues with the 9672 opening on large trout.

Gamakatsu L10-211 #12 and Partridge G3A Sproat #8, #10 are also great hooks for this type of fishing.


   The weather stayed hot and glassy all day...water temps from 53 deg. AM to 67 deg PM. A Montana September day to remember!



    Sept. 6, 2014. Montana Archery Season opens today...good luck!RB_archery_bull



   Late Summer, Fall Streamer Season.  cindy_b_sept_1-14_rb


   A great time of the year to catch a big trout...I like to beef up the leader...make sure it's the proper taper and STRONG. Most 5,6,7 wt. fly lines mic out at .037 to .042 at the tip. Your butt section should be at least 50% or more the diameter of the end of your fly line so you have a smooth transition...this makes it much easier to turn over the bulkiest of streamers. Anything less than 50% and you have that annoying "hinge effect" that causes tailing loops, etc.

   The butt section is the most important part of your leader!

   I never use the loop to loop system on any of my personal leaders.

   Always go for a smooth transition in your leaders and don't jump more than two "xxxs" when you taper it down.streamer_system_2



   I like to use RIO 44lb. Flouroflex for my butt section. It has a .023 diameter and is soft enough to tie a nail knot to my fly line. Then I taper down to a 1X tippet to the fly, with the total leader length about a foot longer than my fly rod.

   I always sharpen my streamer hooks with a hook hone or stone and mash down the barb to form a hump. The barb on large streamer hooks is usually too severe for good penetration.

    Tie on you favorite nasty and let 'er rip!...good luck and hang on!chinchilla_zonker_003

                                   My chinchilla zonker home-tie.


   Sept. 2014...Cindy B. "gettin' er done" again in Varney...pulled a big brown trout out of a snag with the little red fly...several others...fun day!cindy_b_sept_1-14_snag



   Aug. 2014...New to fly fishing, Hank and Rich got it done...seven nice trout this morning...we dodged the rain and got back to the Rainbow Valley Lodge just fine. Thanks guys!rainbow_valley_lodge_2


   Aug. 2014...Awesome day for Cindy B.   

   Several nice fish during the overcast including this super buck brown trout caught on the little red fly. We fished the Varney stretch.cindy_b_5


   Aug. 2014...A couple of nice ones this morning on wets then they hit the dries pretty good in the PM...ant patterns and half-back hoppers...thanks Mona and Gary!

   Water temp @ Snag Hole 3pm...68 deg...kinda warm.gary_hicks_bow_2



    Aug. 2014...Thanks Jay and Lee for a great day on the river...Mac to Vee, yessiree!







    Aug. 2014...Fun in the PM with Kay and Dennis...MAJOR flying ant hatch @ Varney 5pm...yessir!d_hall_3



   Aug. 2014...Fun half day with Alan and Tanya...first time ever fly fishing...nobody got skunked!...awesome morning...Palisades to McAtee.


    Weather forecast calling for hot, dry weather the next few days. I will be looking for the ant hatch in the usual places!




   Aug...2014. Found a big one at the McAtee boat ramp today...mcatee_2

 A nice big, fat, very dead brown trout laying in the shallows by the McAtee Bridge boat ramp. No sign of injury, no scars, no hook marks...turning white and getting stinky...dead probably a few days...RIP.


   Aug...2014. Good on the Flats...tricos early AM (duns)...then trico spinners mid-morning...then the large calibaetis hatch starts around noon...eight nice trout this morning caught on my PTC nymph and Sparky fly... water temps. range from 65 deg @ 8AM to 74 deg @ noon._12A0053


                               My home tie..."Sparky"


   Aug...2014. Hot Fun In the (Madison River) Summertime! Untitled-Duplicated-01

 Jeff the rainbow



 Ronnie rainbow on a muddler fly


There's a moose somewhere...




My main man Penn!


   Aug...2014...Heavy trico hatch today and the calibaetis followed...caught some really nice rainbows...good job Penn!Penn_flats_005



   Aug. 2014...Awesome morning on the Flats with the Sachs and McGees...seven nice fish this morning on P. Adams and my Red Zebra Midge...then a beauty of a rainbow caught by Margo McGee with Garrett Blackburn and Rainey Sachs...these girls can fly fish!sachs_mcgee_aug_2014_002

                                          Bill Sachs is hooked up!






                                   Patrick McGee with a nice bow!



                  a fine flats rainbow caught by Bill Sachs on a dry


sachs_mcgee_aug_2014_016     Great rainbow caught by Margo on a dry fly guided by Garrett Blackburn.  



                    Rainey and Margo...these girls can fly fish!


   Aug. 2014...Fast action on the Flats mid-morning...heavy tricos then the big calibaetis came out around 11AM. Caught a large bank-feeding brown on the dry and then eight straight rainbows on the Parachute Adams and my Red Zebra Midge. A great morning!



   nice rainbow caught this morning on a dry fly and released alive...got just a titch of cutthroat in him


   Aug...2014...Fear "The Ladder"


   Aug...2014...Picky fish this morning on the tricos...but rainbows like this one make it all worthwhile! My little #16 Red Zebra Midge home-tie did the trick.



          Red Zebra Midge

hook: Tiemco TMC 2487 #16

body: black Krystal Flash

rib: red Ultra wire

thorax: peacock herl

head: black nickel Brite Bead


   Aug...2014...Really good brown trout caught by Jim Ferrin of Blackfoot, Idaho with Mike Treloar...some guys have got the "mojo"...nice fish Fuzzy!fuzz__mike_1



 Aug..2014...Awesome morning on the flats...three for six on nice rainbow trout...my PTC home-tie was the hot fly...great job Susan!susan_3




   July...2014...Excellent morning...nine trout on the fly, 16"-20"...three on dries, the rest on my PTC fly...heavy midge and calibaetis hatch...water temps: 65 deg. AM, south end ...72 deg. Noon, north end. Slick calm...nice.flats_July_30_2014_007



   July...2014..Water temps today...60 deg. @ McAtee 8:30AM...54 deg. where Indian Ck. enters Madison at 9AM...65 deg. @ Varney 3PM...excellent!  Indian Ck. cools off the river quite a bit...this is a good thing!Madison_R



July...2014...Go With the Flow Days. The river has been blessed this week with excellent flows and cool temps right in the middle of the hot weather. The folks at Hebgen have done a great job saving enough water to get us through the heat. caroline_2                   Awesome catch, Caroline!   jer_bell_8

                    Nice one, Jerry! 


   Current: 1080 cfs/67deg. Hebgen...1270/60 deg. West fork...1420/63 deg. Varney. I took a 62 deg. water temp @ Ruby Ck. today at 11AM. These temps are acceptable and desireable for this time of year. We have water in the river and the trout are happy. The anglers are happy and the fishing guides are happy (well, some of them). Having a great Montana summer...wish you were here!


   July, 2014...Dr. Jerry Bell and 14 year-old grandson Dean, first time ever flyfishing. Good job Dean! jer_bell_3jer_bell_4


   July, 2014...Caught some nice ones today with Jerry and Tina in the Varney stretch. Red Copper John still hot with Modified RB Bunny Top Secret Phase Two in the hunt! Awesome day! jer__tina_1

                                                                   peace and love!




                             fat brown caught by Dr. Jerry Bell today!




                                 Evening Hole... nice bow Jerry!

   jerry_bell_comleyvilleloose wader relaxed fit throwback Thurs. retro Kitty, Jerry & RB, big bow, yes! 


   July, 2014...more fun with Jerry and Tina...red Copper John!rb__tina_2



July, 2014...Good fishing with Dr. Jerry Bell on dries and wets this morning...overcast helped...several nice ones including this big brown trout...thanks Jerry and Tina!j_bell_lunker_004



July 2014...Fun with
Ralph and Buzz...good on dries...#14 Ausable Wulff was the hot fly...these guys can fish!




July, 2014... Another great morning of fishing...sixteen fish, rainbows and browns to 19" on my home-tie PTC...broke two big fish off on 3X...gotta tie some more! Nice midge hatch AM then heavy calibaetis starting at 11AM. Flats water temp at noon: 69 degrees.


                                                        Midge Central


              Nice brown trout from this morning released alive.



   July, 2014...Really nice on the Flats this morning...a dozen trout on the fly 15-19"...the largest was on a dry. Fog early made it surreal out there. Great morning!flats_fog_7-14_010



   July, 2014...Thirty five years on the Madison with these boys...Circle Valley Produce out of Idaho Falls...the best potatoes in the world are Idaho potatoes...and the best people, too! Thank you Raymie, Fuzzball, Hartless, Doug, Tim and Mark...you guys rock! 

   We took some really nice fish on the smaller caddis patterns...#16 elk hair worked best. We fished the Lyon Br. to Ruby Ck stretch.


   July, 2014...Carly and Zane Taylor caught some nice trout on the Madison with me today...I'm sure their great grandfather Dub Taylor, grandfather Buck Taylor, "Gammie"Judy Taylor, father Adam Taylor, brother Cooper Taylor and everyone else would be proud...I know I was. carly__zane_taylor_001carly__zane_taylor_004carly__zane_taylor_005 Cooper_T.2



                         Judy Taylor and Randy Brown



 Dub Taylor in "The Getaway" with Steve McQueen    Buck Taylor as Newly in "Gunsmoke"


July, 2014...flats_july_8_2014_pt_chironomid_skeleton_007

   Another good morning on the Flats...12 trout, mostly rainbows...hatches still light but lots of fish rising...water temp range: 67-73 deg.PTC_002

July, 2014...flats_july_8_2014_pt_chironomid_skeleton_001   Productive morning on the flats...nine trout  15"-18"...mostly rainbows...hatches were light...midge and calibaetis mixed...all fish taken on my PT Chironomid home tie #14.   


   Flats water temp: 64 deg. south end AM..70 deg. north end @ noon..flats_july_8_2014_pt_chironomid_skeleton_004

flats_july_8_2014_pt_chironomid_skeleton_006            Madison Flats rainbow being released alive this morning. 




       My set-up for Madison Flats...3X Rio to standard #12 Parachute Adams...12-14" of 4X Rio to #14 PT Chironomid...use Adams for indicator and bite fly. I tie the chironomid as follows:

hook: Tiemco TMC 2457, #14, 16

tail: natural mallard quill tied long

body: Black Krystal Flash, 5 or 6 strands.

rib: Red Ultra Wire, sm.

thorax: ring-neck pheasant tail fibers, 5 or 6 strands.

dubbing: Hareline Hare's Ear Plus, choc. brown, picked.

head: brown glass bead, sm.chironomid_home_tie_phase_2


   July, 2014...Fun day on dry flies with Cindy and Vicky B....nice may fly hatch midday...#16 P. Adams was the hot fly...big bugs are getting slim...cindy_b_july_2014_2



   July, 2014...Lotsa bugs around!salmon_fly_nymphs_001


July 4, 2014...Happy Fourth of July to all from RBMF! flag_clacka_001


   June, 2014...Hit the salmon fly hatch on the Madison with Kevin and Kevin...two at a time, awesome and then some...yup!salmon_flys_2_002

 Water temps today...54 deg. at Palisades 10AM...60 deg. at Storey Ditch 3:30PM.



The dry fly fishing started to heat up in the afternoon when the sun came out...the adults started to fly and get on the water...the fish were ready, willing and able, both on the banks and out in the middle of the river. The fishing between 2pm and 3:30pm was outstanding. Hot part of the hatch was above McAtee down through the Storey Ditch area. Use 3x tippet and the sofa pillow of your choice and hang on!Kevin_2




   June, 2014...Fun day with Larry and Susan Nordmann in the Varney stretch!nordmann_4





And check out these great photos of bald eagle chicks on their nest taken by Sue Nordmann on our float trip below Varney!eagle_chick





   June, 2014...Good fishing with Laura and Peter...hot flies were Pat's Stone #6 and red Copper John #14...35 fish day on Sunday!peter_bjork_1



 Laura_1   and we flushed a covey of white pelicans!pelicans_001


   June, 2014...Great day on the Madison today with Dan Perry...we floated the Lyon Br. to Ruby Ck. stretch and only saw two boats and a raft all day. River is very fishable, clear well out from the banks...was surprised to see Standard Ck. running clear with no mud! Best flies were the #6 Chez black stone and the red San Juan Worm....water temp at Geysers noontime: 56 degrees. I expect an early Salmon fly hatch this year if warm weather continues around here.dan_perry



May, 2014...Several nice rainbows for Mel McCall today. We fished a mountain lake.mel_panorama_006


May, 2014...More morels, some nice oysters, a tom turkey, baby whitetail and a tree stand I wouldn't climb up in.morels_5-1714_004morels_oysters_5-13-14_005



                 Big tom gobbler sneaking away from me.sprint_phone_pics_020

I walked up on this baby whitetail fawn while I was hunting mushrooms. She froze just like mama taught her...waiting for danger to pass...hoping for her natural camo to save her.



morels_oysters_5-13-14_007                     Redneck deer stand...look out below!



May, 2014...OK, I know it's not a fishing report but what the hey?...it's just as much fun.

mushrooms_Mill_Ck_July_2013_012   Found some nice oysters today (pleurotus ostreatus)...they like standing dead, stumps, fallen down or uprooted cottonwoods...but you can find them on live trees...sometimes large willows, but cottonwoods are their favorite...slice them and sautee in olive oil and butter for eight minutes and then turn up the heat to make them crispy!

   Try to find them fresh and moist before the critters get to them...there's a little black beetle that likes them but you can flush them out when you slice them...no worries, nobody ever got dead from a beetle!oysters_5-8-14_002

                     Critters got there before I did today!



     I got to these before the critters did! These oysters are prime.





         Beavers left this chunk dangling. They'll be back tonight!


                        Another good day in the woods!




May, 2014...More morels...and more...and more.


                         Walk the earth.morels_iphone_5-6-14_014












May, 2014...Awesome flush of Montana morel mushrooms today(morchella esculenta)...the nice light colored ones...they were everywhere...oysters, too (pleurotus ostreatus)!  I picked six pounds and left a whole bunch to get bigger. Mushroom season is just getting started in Montana!morels_5-3-14_003morels_5-3-14_002



     4/29/2014...Hebgen Dam Repairs in Final Stage? At a meeting last night led by Brent Mabbott of PP&L/Nwstn. Energy, officials are targeting summer, 2015 for the Hebgen Dam to be fully functioning and the return to a mid-flow release. Good news!hebgen_3hebgen_2




4/23/2014...Nice Spring Day!snow_april_23_2014_001snow_april_23_2014_002snow_april_23_2014_004snow_april_23_2014_003


4/22/1014...Water temp. @ Varney Bridge: 45 deg....water temp. @ Ennis Lake, W. side: 45 deg.



4/19/2014...Good News!...Madison, Big Hole looking good for this summer.





montana_snowpack_2montana_snowpack_20144/2/14...still snowin around here!



3/29/14...Smallest Fly In The World...size 32! size_32_fly_004

#32 flashback midge shown in photo with #18 Parachute Adams and #20 Griffiths Gnat...now I have to find some really teeny fingers to tie that sucker on for me...thanks Jay Hyer!


3/25/14...2014 Madison River Regs: McAtee Bridge to Ennis Bridge, open entire year...Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge, Ennis Bridge to Ennis Lake open third Saturday in May which is May 17 this year. We are in "The Window"...the time between Winter thaw and Spring run-off...hungry trout! Snowpack is above average...flows look good!










    2/8/14...Huddled up in the back yard this morning!deer_huddle_2_004



2/6/14...Thirty below zero in Ennis this morning...give or take...after 20 below who cares?...gorge-re-gorge on the river...ice, ice baby...30_below_004



                    The Madison River is buried under there somewhere...honest!


    1/28/14...NorthWestern Energy must show "public interest" with purchase of dams in Montana. 





   1/15/14...Montana high court reverses stream access ruling on Ruby River...is Granger blockade of O'Dell Ck Outlet to Madison River next?






      Man made dam on Granger Ranch blocking O'Dell Ck. outlet from flowing into Madison River. The question is..why?



DSCN4622_2             Dried up stream bed on Granger Ranch, formerly a free flowing tributary to Madison River blocked by man-made dam. 


   January, 2014...Sunrise on Fan Mountain from my deck...1/15/14.sunrise_jan_2014_001


   January, 2014...we paid a visit to The Fort up river across from the Palisades...my friend Barry and his sons build this amazing ice tower every winter...it is truly a work of art to behold!

   That's the Wall Creek winter game range in the backgroundice_tower_2014_002_2






    Dec. 2013...Merry Christmas to all my clients and friends...come to Montana next summer and let's go fishing!merry_xmas_2013


 Dec. 19, 2013...Deer fight in my back yard...not exactly Tyson/Holyfield but fun to watch!







   Dec. 11, 2013...River gorge comes up under Ennis Bridge...it's gettin' tight in there!gorge_ennis_bridge_002gorge_ennis_bridge_003gorge_ennis_bridge_001




















 Here's what the gorge did to the old bridge!

                                  Photo courtesy of Madison Valley History Assoc.


   Dec. 9,2013...Eight Mile Ford Boat Ramp gorge morph low def time lapse winter chill pics:

gorge_2_dec_8_2013_009                                    Eight Mile Ford boat ramp yesterday.





                             Eight Mile Ford Boat Ramp today.



Dec. 8, 2013...Madison River Slurpy...a few photos of the river gorge and more ice, ice, baby!


                                      Burnt Tree boat ramp Dec. 6, 2013...10 below zero




                                          Burnt Tree boat ramp Dec. 8, 2013...20 below zero.





                            Madison River upstream from Burnt Tree Dec. 6




                  Madison River upstream from Burnt Tree Dec. 8...20 below zero.




                  Looking across the Madison River to the Ennis Campground outhouse...the Madison River is a mountain of ice.





          Dec. 6, 2013..."Tenth Avenue Freezout"


gorge_dec_2013_004          The edge of the river at the end of my street looking across to the Ennis Campground which is entirely iced over. Bet it's cold inside that outhouse!


       "...out of the night which was 50 below and into the din and the glare, there stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks dog dirty and loaded for bear"...Robert Service



     Dangerous Dan McGrew would love it around here...way below zero  every night but it warmed up to 10 below today! Forecast for next four nights here in Ennis...tonight: eleven below...Sat: fourteen below...Sun: eight below and a heat wave on Monday: only zero degrees! Pass the whiskey!gorge_dec_2013_005

         Looking back down river toward the Ennis Bridge from the end of my street.



   The Madison River has gorged up in a hurry up through town and the campground and is headed upstream....great news if you are a penguin or a polar bear...I always wondered how the trout survive these heavy gorges...many of the fish winter kill, especially young of the year but amazingly the majority of them seem to survive.

I have seen the gorge travel as far as 21 miles upstream from town to Ruby Ck. Campround. One year the McAtee outhouse disappeared under ice. With lots more below zero temps in the forecast, this could get very interesting around here!




                    Madison River looking upstream from the Ennis Bridge today.             gorge_dec_2013_008

                                           " A River Used to Run Through It"


gorge_dec_2013_011          I took all these photos today after it warmed up to 10 below ...ice, ice baby!




     Oct. 2013...fishin', huntin' mushrooms, havin' a ball!



                    Fan Mtn. near Ennis, Montana...elevation 10,253'




Meadow mushrooms (agaricus campestris) and Scotch bonnets (mirasmius oreades)



Oct...2013. Hunting By Landowner Permission Only!...in my back yard. snow_storm_back_yard_oct._2013_014


 Sept. 20...2013. How about this big brown trout caught by Bill Sachs in the Channels stretch today! Big bad boy took the copper zonker...yowzah!sachs_brown_trout_2


Late Sept...2013. good streamer fishing in Channels stretch...zonkers with or without bead head trailers, muddlers, one monster rainbow on a dry fly. Water temps: 54 degrees AM...64 degrees PM.tepee_break

the gentleman on the right is boning up on the latest fly fishing techniques just before he passes out 



    Sept. 9...2013. Tough on the flats this morning...four fish on the scud fly...hatches are thinning out...a bit of North wind. Caught a nice 18 inch male brown trout starting to get colored up._12A0441


Sept. 4,5...Caught eight nice trout this morning on the flats...hot fly was this size 14 scud pattern I'd been carrying around in  my vest since I don't know when...had to go down to 5X to get 'em! scud_002



My home tie version:

hook: Tiemco TMC 2457 size 14-16

body: Fly-Rite dubbing, light tan, picked

rib: Ultra wire, red

thorax: Krystal Flash, black











chinchilla_zonker_003 Can't wait to try my new home-tie "Brown-Eye" zonker for late season streamer fishing. 

Hook: Mustad 9672 #4...mash down the barb.

Body: pearl crystal chenille.

Tail: Hareline natural chinchilla, pre-cut strip.

Throat: crystal flash chartreuse.

Head: acrylic enamel white with brown eye. (I use the Homefront brand craft paint...white and "spice tan" colors)




   Aug. 30...2013...Great morning on the Flats...the large calibaetis are hatching...seven nice trout to 19"...the Sparky fly strikes again!  Water temperature on the flats @ 9AM, 60 degrees.August_sparky_fish_015August_sparky_fish_007August_sparky_fish_005



   Aug. 30...2013. Ants...the large, honey-colored flying variety are lurking and just around the corner. The hot spots are Ruby Cliffs., below McAtee, Shewmaker Ditch, the Cottonwoods, Snag Hole, below Varney, Eight Mile, Channels. Watch for the nighthawks flying. Trout candy!






 Aug. 28...2013. Big brown trout caught today by Dennis Hall, Walnut Creek, CA. on  a lightning bug fly. One of the nicest fish I have seen come out of the Madison this summer. Thank you Dennis and Kay!dennis_hall_002



   Aug. 25-27...2013. Amy Edwards from Kansas City, KS...first time fly fishing in her life caught this Madison River brown trout on a dry fly below Palisades...good job Amy!..thanks Amy and Ryan White for a great two days!Amys_big_one


     Aug. 24...2013...Nice rain the last two evenings...the heat wave is gone...river flow is good...air and water temps are nice...long term forecast calls for sunny days in low to mid 80s...cool nights...I would bet on the flying ant hatch for next week...life is good!mountain-rain


   Aug. 23...2013...fun with Ed and Susie today...the Palisades stretch...some nice ones for Susie...#14 parachute adams strikes again!parachute_adams



   Aug. 20...2013...Nice float trip this morning with Jen and Phil...Palisades to McAtee...we caught some nice ones on dries...no, we really did! #14 parachute adams did the trick.


   Aug. 19...2013...Nineteen inch bow and twenty inch brown today for Rick and Kai Williams. Hilton Head, SC. Both fish caught below Ruby Ck. Campground...excellent! rick_williams_bow



   Aug. 18...2013...Good rainbow for Cindy Baur today in the Varney stretch...I worked the net and was happy to release this fine trout alive to swim another day!



   Aug. 17...2013...The tricos just keep coming...eight nice trout this morning including this fat 22" rainbow caught on a parachute adams..hatch lasted until 11AM...good stuff!





Aug. 15...2013   amy_rb     Fun with Amy and James on the river today. We caught fish and saw the bear at Palisades!bear_at_palisades





   Aug. 14...2013...Great day for Wooty Peebles of Winston-Salem, NC...and thank you Kathryn Bell for all you do! We fished Varney to Town and loved it!wooty_2wooty_1Aug.10...2013...red hot in the Varney stretch this morning for Gerry Bell...a dozen nice trout 15-18"...RB bunny and the red fly did the trick...yes!hyde_brown_closeup


Aug. 9...2013...The tricos were thick this morning...several nice big trout for Elly Sachs Holder including a 22" rainbow...overcast skies and no wind made it perfect...they kept rising until 1PM and we kept picking them off...parachute adams, pheasant tail and Sparky did the trick... thank you Elly for a fun morning of fly fishing! elly_2_rb_005elly_2_rb_003rb_elly_2 



   Aug. 7...2013...Good fishing today on Madison Flats with Elly and Jake Holder, Dallas, TX...twenty inch rainbow for Elly on the Sparky fly...yowzah! Heavy trico hatch in the morning...then heavy calibaetis hatch till 3PM...excellent!channels._Elly__Jake_039




          massive blanket of dead tricos, Madison Flats this morning


   Aug. 4-5...2013...Nice brown trout caught by Ray Cammack, Circle Valley Produce, Idaho Falls, ID...we both eat Idaho potatoes, the best spuds in the world! Spruce moths are hatching below the Lyon Bridge stretch of the Madison...use a large elk hair caddis, olive or cream body (size 10 or 12), Half Back Hopper or Spruce moth fly of your choice.raymie_2



Aug. 1...2013...Fear the Lund!mist_on_the_flats_008



    July 30...2013...Tricos on the Flats...trout in the mist...bugs on my sleeve...super nice morning!mist_on_the_flats_003







    July 27...2013...Release photos of brown and rainbow trout from the flats the last two days...overcast this morning helped...many risers and pods of fish working on the tricos...the hot fly was "Sparky", my sparkle pupa home tie.  flats_brown__bow_006









                               twenty inch Madison Flats brown trout in release mode







   July 26...2013...MAJOR trico hatch on the flats this morning...the big calibaetis are coming out, too. Seventeen trout on the fly...about 50/50 rainbows to browns. Best fish was a 20" brown. Nice morning!tricos_on_the_flats_004




    July 23-24...2013...Good PMD hatch on the Upper Mad. Did well on #16 Parachute Adams and #16 Royal Trude. Heaviest hatches have been between Windy Pt. and Ruby Ck. around 10-11AM.parachute_adams



 July 22...2013...good action this morning on large caddis #10 dry...several good trout on top...then this really nice fat female brown trout caught by Jack Wittman in the Rail Fence Hole on the little red fly. Beauty! LOTS of nocturnal stone husks on the rocks and we even saw a live winged adult skittering on the surface!rail_fence_flats_hatch_009



   July 16...2013...fun float with Wes and Joe...we caught some nice ones in the Varney stretch.Wes_WaughJoe_Miller


 July 15...2013...Great day on the river...took a little break after lunch.Fishing_guide_down



July 15...2013...30 years on the Madison with these two guys...Jim Ferrin and Ray Cammack from Blackfoot & Idaho Falls...the hits just keep on coming! Thank you guys for 30 years of fun ( and snacks).051





July13...2013...So we go from 350cfs to 1580cfs out of Hebgen Dam in one week? It's a wild ride around here...but we caught fish...a good day for Bert Summers of Sugar City, Idaho...I worked the net!figjam_002




 July 7...2013...Good on dries this morning on the Upper     River...the Palisades to McAtee stretch fished well...#12, #14 elk hair caddis did the trick. Well done John and Lynn! caddis_2_002



   July 5...2013...Some nice fishing early AM on the river today...hot flies were the big, fat elk hair caddis and the #18 Psycho Prince...a good day for Cindy B! Water temp. 68 degrees at 10AM.003


                                                                  Love the mesh stockings!      



   July 2...2013...Flat calm out there today...8 trout to the fly...a 20" rainbow on a dry was the best...water temp. on flats this morning: 74 degrees.flats_midge_hatch_june_056flats_midge_hatch_june_052flats_midge_hatch_june_058


July 1...2013...Another great day on Madison Flats...27 trout on the fly...Parachute Adams and PTC fly did the work...about 50/50 rainbows to browns...all nice fish 15"-20"...lost a few in the weeds and hooked two in the tail!...great morning 7:30AM-Noon...sunny, slick, nice.channels_midge_hatch

                 Chironomid midges flying above...early AM...these flies are common on still water fisheries...they are like large, non-biting mosquitos...clouds of them hatch and fall on the water...the trout like both the nymphs and dries...slurp! 




June 28...2013...Hot and glassy this morning, Madison Flats...heavy midge/chironomid hatches...saw the big callibaetis here and there but still too early for those guys...17 trout in hand...mostly bows but a few nice browns...nothing smaller than 15"...fished from 7:30AM-Noon...excellent!flats_flies_damsel_natural_005    Above, top to bottom...my brown leech home tie, Mustad 9672 #12...natural damsel fly nymph captured this morning, (these critters swim in a zig-zag, sidewinder fashion, very unique)...and PTC (pheasant tail chironomid) home tie, Tiemco TMC 2457 #14. I mash the barb down for easy release of these fine trout.



   June 27...2013...Red hot this morning on Madison flats...many risers, slurpers, etc...19 trout 14-20"...about 2-1 rainbows to browns...hot flies were Sparky and PT chironomid...weather was mild, sunny, light winds...nice!



June 24...2013...Another good morning...11 trout, 15-20"...hot flies were my home ties: Cali Spinner, Pheasant Tail and "Sparky"flats_flies_001





           I like the Tiemo TMC2457 sedge hook for my nymphs and emergers on the Flats...2x short, 2x heavy...size 14, 16...excellent hook!






June 23, 2013...Nice morning of fishing on Madison Flats...heavy midge hatch...hot flies were brown leech, pheasant tail and sparkle pupa...several nice fish to the net...19"...20"








June 21, 2013...Salmon flies are here...river is low...come and get 'em!salmon_flies_2


June 12, 2013...Rain the last couple of days...a "devil wind" hit Ennis yesterday and the old "tree on a wire" thing knocked out power for a while...Madison is off color but low...only 467cfs out of Hebgen is a trickle...wade fishers up high are finding some clear enough water to fish..salmon flies on the Big Hole...stay tuned.



May 19, 2013...Steady rain all night...rain_cloudsMadison is high and greenish gray...1280cfs at West Fork...water temps from mid 40s to low 50s...several boats went yesterday (opening of Quake to McAtee section)...results were mixed...Hebgen is at the brim but no major release from the dam yet...the stretch just below Hebgen Dam has been a popular spot for waders lately...water still low and fishable in there. More reports to follow.



yard_2_002                 Springtime in my back yard...Ennis, Montana 


   May 17, 2013...Finally getting some rain around here after a spell of hot, dry weather...feeder creeks into Upper Madison running high and off color but forecast of night time temps down to mid 30s next few days might slow things down...creeks like Beaver, Cabin, West Fork, Standard, Squaw, Moose, Horse, Wolf, Indian Ck. running high and off but minimal release from Hebgen Dam (758cfs). Madison is at 1350cfs at West Fork and 2030cfs at Varney. vermin_002      visibility about a foot off the bank near 8 Mile Ford Fishing Access this morning...color is green, not chocolate



   So the high, off color water is from the creeks not Hebgen Reservoir. Good reports still coming in from Lower Madison with some caddis and PMD action along banks and slicks.

   Tomorrow is the third Saturday in May which means Opening Day of the General Fishing Season in Montana. Everything's open, come on down!






    May 10, 2013...Hiked up Bear Trap...clouds of caddis and PMDs...dry fly fishing is happening...water clarity is real good...Mother's Day Hatch right now...with warm, sunny days, spring runoff right around the corner. Bear_Trap_Canyon_2



May, 2013...Great article about my friend Glenn Brackett and the Montana Boo Boys!





   April, 2013...Madison snowpack looks good. Get your gear ready!   snow_in_yellowstone





March 17,2013...Happy St. Patty's Day to all!st_pattys


March, 2013..."The Window"...between now and June run-off is a great time to get in some early season fishing...water temps all winter are locked into 35-37 degrees. Very soon those temps will start slowly rising and the fishing can get real good. Plus the flows are still low so the wade fishing is easy! (maybe). Have at it!


Feb. 10, 2013...Ennis, Mt..."Snow likely, mainly before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a temperature rising to near 24 by 11am, then falling to around 19 during the remainder of the day. North wind 10 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible."feb_10_001  


   January, 2013. The river gorge broke loose but still cold, snowy on the way to Bozeman today..10 degrees tonight in Ennis...no problem...the moonshine at Willie's Distillery never freezes!8927725-winter-road-snow-and-ice-complicates-the-movement-and-shooting



November, 2012. This tree is growing right out of the Ruby Rocks, near the road to Wall Creek Game Range, Madison Valley, MontanaRuby_Rocks


Oct. 30, 2012...Weather forecast for Ennis today...sunny, high 63 degrees...nice.


Oct. 21, 2012...Here's the five-day forecast for Ennis:

Mon.-snow, Tues.-snow, Wed.-snow, Thurs.-snow, Fri.-snow.

That about wraps it up for now.igloo-10249




Oct.2, 2012...Here's the weather forecast for Ennis..."Tonight...a 30 percent chance of snow after 1AM. Snow level 9800 feet lowering to 5000 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27. West wind 12 to 17 mph becoming West 5 to 10 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph. Total nightime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible."...

Pass the whiskey! 


Sept. 18-22...Big Ones On the Bite! Some really nice trout  caught this week in the Channels section of the Madison River...cooler nights and lower water temps have helped get the big fish "motivated". Pearl body Zonkers and Psycho Princh nymphs doing the best work...several fish over 20 inches. It's a beautiful thing! Bill__RBphpkseN7ZPMphpqelyVlPMphpzFBMprPM     

Sept. 12, 2012...Another good fishing day...several nice trout on dry and wet flys...we even found some fish rising late in the day...water temps: 52 deg. @ Varney 10AM...60 deg. @ Evening Hole 2PM...64 deg @ Camp Ground 4PM...sunny, 80 deg. air temp this afternoon!


Sept. 10, 2012...Sunny Sept. day on the Madison...several nice fish for Herb O. on drys and wets including this 18" brown trout...well done!



Sept. 2, 2012...Nice fishing in the Varney stretch today for Cindy B....the hot fly was my home-tie: Purple Death! cindy_b_browncindy_b_002cindy_b_003




Aug. 31, 2012... Nice fish this morning at Madison Flats..largest a twenty inch brown trout caught on a #16 pheasant tail nymph. Good baetis hatch along the cattails.


Aug. 20, 2012...Ants...flying ants like the one shown here...flying_antthis is what we are looking for...this is what the trout are looking for...amber/honey colored hour-glass shaped bodies...landing on the water...helpless...hopeless...sluuurrrp! Another one bites the dust...into the jaws of a brown or a rainbow...the flying ant hatch on the Madison River...now we're having fun!


Aug. 17, 2012...Nice morning at Madison Flats...heavy baetis hatch...lots of risers...caught two nice rainbows...19 and 20 inches...wind was calm...water temp. 65 deg. in the morning...70 deg. at 2PM.    


Aug. 14, 2012...flows still good on the upper Madison...1030cfs Hebgen...1090cfs West Fork...1180cfs Varney...water temps pushing 70 deg. in the afternoon but a strong cold front moving down from Alberta  and shorter days should help cool things off...36 degrees here Wed. night...brrr!


Aug. 13, 2012....Kevin Murray caught a nice brown trout on the last cast of the day...lucky for us, his kids were there to help us capture this rascal...love it when a plan comes together! Nice fish Kevin.


This fish was released alive to swim away unharmed.Kevins_kids_1 

Aug. 10, 2012...Major trico hatch Madison Flats 8-10AM the past few days...large trout nosing and slurping spinners in the shallows...really nice rainbow caught by Bill Sachs of Dallas, TX...good fish!    big_bow_2





July 23, 2012...we have been real lucky with flows so far this summer...even though the weather has been hot in the afternoon the folks up at Hebgen Dam have been spot-on with keeping the river at very nice levels...1180cfs/Hebgen...1280cfs/West Fork...1500cfs/Varney as of today...this is a good situation! An aerated trout is a happy trout!


July 20, 2012...Some big trout biting in the Varney section...nice fish Kent!whopper


 July 10, 2012...another great day on dry flys on the upper Madison...heavy PMD hatch at 8AM and it just kept getting better...we had three boats and everybody was catching nice trout...it's been really good around here!


July 8, 2012...Great morning on the upper river...21 trout on dries before lunch!...nice PMD hatch started about 10am...browns and rainbows of size were on the feed...flows are perfect: 1230cfs at the West Fork...come on down!PMD


July 1, 2012...WOW...Madison flats this morning...hooked a monster on my calibaetis home-tie...took off deep...under the weeds...into the backing and gone! Never saw the fish...could have been anything...there are huge browns in here...8, 10 lbs. and over...who knows? Great day of fishing.


June 25, 2012...good dry fly action this morning...salmon flys scattered all the way up to Palisades...they were hitting the big dry from Palisades to Ruby Ck...heavy south wind blew up...very hot, windy, dry...one more day of this and then it settles down...hatch is early, widespread and scattered up and down the river...heavy winds blowing the big naturals into the river...water temp. 62 degrees above McAtee this morning...got a report of large trout being taken on the big dry fly below Varney today...water level and clarity excellent...stay tuned.


 June 22, 2012...Madison River flows...1650cfs at West Fork...2260cfs at Varney...lots of water in the river...be careful if you are wade fishing but the clarity is good.


June 20, 2012...Madison River Salmon Fly report...the river is in great shape...some salmon flys reported below town...we are in for a warm weather spell...water temps are rising into the mid 50s...55 degree water temp is the key to the salmon fly nymphs starting their crawl to the river banks...this is one of the best times of the year to catch a large trout on a dry fly on the Madison, but the fish can be picky. Through the years, I have developed a salmon fly that works.salmon_flys_flats_flys_001I  tie these on a very strong Mustad 9672 hook...the body is dyed orange deer hair tied extended and wrapped around a toothpick. I use black magic marker pen to simulate the egg sac. The wing is blonde elk hair with a bullet head. I believe the body is the key to this fly and triggers the big fish to grab it. Use stout tippet...pitch it close to the willow banks and hang on! The heaviest fly hatch is usually between McAtee and Varney but the really big trout are lurking below the Varney Bridge. If you are wade fishing, work upstream...hang on to the willows with one hand and cast with the other!...Good luck and if you fall in get back up and keep fishing! 

 March, 2012...Snowpack levels in Yellowstone near normal. This bodes well for healthy flows in the Upper Madison river this summer. Looking forward to a great fly fishing summer! Check out the link from the Billings Gazette: Snowpack in Yellowstone 


October, 2011...Fall fishing is a great time to catch large trout, especially the browns who are beginning their spawing urge. Three of my favorite Fall flys are the RB Bunny, Missouri Spruce and Purple Death. Any of the three are deadly from October and on into November. One of the largest browns I have ever caught was taken on Nov. 5 so in between hunting trips try some fishing in November! (long johns suggested).Fall_flys

                                                                       Top to bottom above: RB Bunny, Missouri Spruce, Purple Death 


8/18/11...Really nice flow levels in the Madison right now...841cfs out of Hebgen Dam...994cfs @ West Fork...1160cfs @ Varney...all you wade fishermen (and ladies) "come on down"...the water is fine!


8/15/11...Nine nice trout between 15"-20" today...then the wind blew like a "Hurricane"...everyone got home safe...good job Paul and Ellen!HurricaneClouds

8/13/11...great morning on the Flats...nine trout released...all rainbows...18 inches to 21 inches...all on the surface...monster callibaetis and trico  hatch today...life is good!

8/8/11...Big rainbow caught by Bert Summers from Rexburg, ID in the Snag Hole today...beauty!Bert_Summers_big_bow

8/4/11...Excellent fishing today on Madison Flats...several nice trout to the net...hundreds of trout rising to callibaetis and damsels...this is truly a special fishery.Montana_profile_Oct_2010_026Montana_profile_Oct_2010_030

7/31/11...Six big trout this morning in the Varney section...good job CB!cb_3

7/25/11...20 inch brown this morning on the red fly for Andrew Federico of Killingworth, CT...nice fish Andrew!20_inch_brown_andrew_federico_2

7/24/11...Madison dropping...flows levelled off...1020cfs @ Hebgen Dam...1350cfs @ West Fork...1850cfs @ Varney.