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THE FLYING ANT HATCH

by Randy
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on Monday, 03 September 2018
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   The ants are out!

   You hear about it but have you ever seen it? The flying ant hatch on the Madison is elusive and undependable, but if you hit it right, oh boy!FlyingAnts

   It could happen anytime between mid August and mid September...on a hot, still, windless afternoon...usually late in the day...in several spots on the river.

   Through the years, I have seen the ant hatch in the following places:

 

Shewmaker Ditch area

The Cottonwoods

The Snag Hole

Main Street, Downtown Ennis

Above McAtee bridge down to Indian Ck.

Above and below Varney Bridge

Ruby Cliffs

Palisades

East channel across from Eight Mile Ford

Side channel of river above Ennis Lake

Madison Meadows Golf Course

flying_ant

   What flies should I use? I have had success with several patterns, all in size 14 or 16:

Foamy Ant, Royal Trude, Goofus Bug (Humpy), Royal Stimmy, Royal PMX...or any of the CDC patterns with a white post or cluster wing.foamy_ant

  The rise form during the ant hatch is unmistakeable...more of an eruption than a rise, usually accompanied with a jet stream of river water shooting straight up in the air. The folic acid in the ants is addictive. Think trout crack cocaine!anthill

   The hatch is tricky. The least little gust of wind will knock it out. It can happen on one stretch of river and nowhere else. All the stars have to line up just right. So if you are in the right place at the right time with the right fly you are in.

   Oh, and one more thing...watch for the night hawks.nighthawk

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RBMF FUZZY BUNNY AWARDS

by Randy
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on Thursday, 16 August 2018
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Time to recognize the noteworthy people, places and events in the fly fishing world, the Madison Valley and Ennis, Montana...

THE FUZZY BUNNY AWARDSfuzzy_bunny

 

FLY OF THE YEAR: The RB Bunny. The Dark Side never looked brighter on a #4 hook.rb_bunny_edit

 

RIVER OF THE YEAR: The Madison..producing year after year against incredible odds and the Invasion of the Bozemanite Barbarian Hordes.

 

MOST FLIES UNDER ONE ROOF AWARD: Dan and Nancy Delekta's Beartooth Fly Shop. Best fly selection I've ever seen...anywhere.

 

BEST DRY FLY FISHING GUIDE: Dave Scully, no contest.

 

BEST OUTFITTER TO GUIDE FOR: Mike Treloar/ River Borne Outfitters...Rainbow Valley Lodge.treloar_big_bow_2_001

 

BEST FISHING OUTFITTER TAG TEAM TANDEM DUO KEEPING IT ALL TOGETHER HOW DO THEY DO IT? AWARD: Chris and Julie Eaton, Madison Valley Ranch. 

 

BEST CHEESEBURGER, CHEESEBURGER, CHEESEBURGER, AWARD: Gravel Bar.gravel_bar

 

HOTTEST BARTENDER AWARD (tie): Marie Clark/Silver Dollar, Carey Croy/Sportsman's Lodge.

 

 BEST DRIVE THRU MONEY PIT: First Madison Valley Bank $$$$$.

 

 BIGGEST CLUSTERFUCK SALMON FLY HATCH AWARD: McAtee and Varney parking lots.

 

FRIENDLIEST FLY SHOP GUY AWARD: John Way/The Tackle Shop, Ennis. (He also serves a great hot dog with spicy brown mustard).

 

NASTIEST OUTHOUSE AWARD: Ennis Campground....did somebody die in there?

 

 NICEST OUTHOUSE AWARD: Ennis Lions Club Park...pristine!

 

GUIDE MEETING OF THE DECADE FIGJAM AWARD:bert__rbguide_pic_8-3-15_004

            Mike Treloar, Randy Brown, Brandon Struckman, "Dirty Mike" Elliott

                             FIGJAM = "F**K I'M GOOD JUST ASK ME"

 

 ZEN MISTRESS SOUL SISTER VOODOO CHILD AWARD: Carmen Smith/Norris Bar.peace

 

UNSUNG HERO AWARD: All the shuttle drivers workin' it hard.

 

 CHUCKHOLE(S) OF THE YEAR AWARD: Ennis Post Office.

 

 FLYFISHER, HORN HUNTER, ELK TRACKER, SPIKE CAMPER, CALF ROPER, MULE SKINNER, PICKER AND GRINNER AWARD: "Dirty Mike" Elliott, Discover Montana Outfitting.dirty_mike__the_chief_edit

 

PRIVATE FLY FISHING RANCH MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD: Mike Actinson/Channels Ranch.

 

STUPID HUMANS CAUGHT ON TAPE AWARD: Yellowstone National Park.

 

DISAPPEARING ACT OF THE YEAR AWARD: Madison River Recreation Plan.

 

 GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS, MOST NUMBER OF TURKEY SANDWICHES MADE IN ONE YEAR AWARD: Madison Foods Deli.

Dagwood-Sandwich

 

MILKSHAKE OF THE YEAR: Yesterday's Soda Fountain, Ennis.

 

 MOST KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER RIVERS TO FISH AWARD: Eric Shores.

 

 COOLEST PLACE TO VISIT IN ENNIS: Lions Club Park.

 

BEST PLACE TO FISH AFTER MIDNIGHT: Lions Club Park kids pond.

 

 HARDEST WORKING FISHING GUIDE: Todd France (by far).

 

BEST NEW FISHING GUIDE:  I can't think of any.

 

"SIMPLY THE BEST" award: Shedhorn Sports, Ennis, Mt. Nobody does it better.shedhorn_gun_show_edit

 

 

 

BEST FISHING CLIENTS: Mine.

 

STILLWATER FLYFISHER OF THE YEAR: Ed Schroeder (nobody else comes close).

 

HAPPIEST FISHING GUIDE: Brandon Struckman.

 

BEST FOURTH OF JULY PARADE AWARD: Ennis, Montana. Just gets better and better!

 

UNSOLVED MYSTERY AWARD: Madison County Sheriff's Dept.sportsmans_crime_scene

 

SHELL GAME OF THE DECADE AWARD: Madison River Foundation

 

SPECIAL SERVICE AWARD: Dave Kumlien/Montana Troutfitters.

 

BEST COFFEE: on_the_fly

 

BEST SCENIC FLOAT: Lyon Bridge to Palisades.

 

BEST BIKINI HATCH: Warm Springs to Black's Ford.

 

BEST FISHING SPOT WITHIN TEN FEET OF THE BOAT RAMP: Windy Point.

 

MOST POPULAR THROW A STICK FOR YOUR DOG SPOT: Ennis Campground boat ramp.

 

"WE DO IT RIGHT" AWARD: Ennis RV Village. First class operation all the way.

 

 

 

IN MEMORIUM: Leon Homer Thexton

"I got ahold of some bad tobacco."

leon_rb_001_edit_crop_close_up

 

 

 

                      "You have to look deeper, way below the anger, the hurt, the hate, the jealousy, the self-pity, way down deeper where the dreams lie, son. Find your dream. It's the pursuit of the dream that heals you"...

...Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota (Sioux)

Pine Ridge, South Dakota 

Olympic Champion, Gold Medal winner

 

 

               WALK THE EARTH...RBMF 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BOAT WRECKS' GREATEST HITS

by Randy
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on Friday, 11 May 2018
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   Watching the water rise around the state of Montana starting to give me that "sinking" feeling. All these shiny new drift boats with not a scratch...fancy paint jobs...lowgunnels...brand new designer oars handmade from imported tropical bubinga and cocobolo.

   The mighty Missouri topping 21,000 cubic feet per second at Toston, 13,000 at WolfCk.

   The Big Hole at 7800 cfs at Melrose.

   The Jefferson at 10,000 cfs at Three Forks.

 

   Impressive numbers for sure.

   

   But high water brings low bridges...and submerged cottonwoods...and hydraulics and whirlpools...and all other manner of  doom, danger and despair.

 

   It can get ugly out there...sunk_drift_boat_salmon_r

 A trip on the Salmon River that ended early.

 

big_hole_wreck_1big_hole_wreck_2big_hole_wreck_3

  A fancy new wood boat that took a side channel on the Big Hole with some very jagged old metal posts hiding under the surface.

 

   sunk_drift_boat_yell_r

        A float trip on the Yellowstone that got cattywompus.

 

   sunk_drift_boat_2_deschutes

      A bad day on the Deschutes.

 

sunk_drft_boat_1

        Run Forrest, run!

 

 

kelly_br_wreck_2keely_br_wreck_3kelly_br_wreck_4

Rowing drift boats 101: never float sideways through the Kelly Br. on the Madison.

 

sunk_drift_boat_3_willamette 

            It's sunk but we can see it!

 

 

 

mosolf_hildreth_br.portage_1984

Tim Mosolf and others portage boats and rafts over Hildreth bridge...Beaverhead River, 1984.

 

   Should be a fun springtime on Montana rivers. Be careful out there.

 

  

 

 

 

 

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REJECTED!

by Randy
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on Friday, 20 April 2018
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   lebron_rejection   In a stunning, unanimous, 4-0 decision, The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission voted NO on the proposed Madison River Recreation Plan that would limit commercial use on the river and would have blocked out certain stretches from access by float craft.

 

https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/environment/fish-and-wildlife-commission-rejects-proposed-madison-river-outfitting-regulations/article_74917904-bde5-5c33-86d9-b9194246cfc9.html

 

     Architects of the plan were shocked, I tell you.

    All that work, all those surveys, stats, numbers, charts...all that negative sentiment towards fishing guides...POOF! Many thought most of the plan would be approved with maybe certain portions taken out or altered.     

   Wrong.

   The entire plan was shot down with the Commission basically saying "come back to us when you have a plan that makes sense".

   Most sensible people agree the river is too crowded, so the basic premise to reduce pressure is a no-brainer. So what went wrong?

  

   They screwed it up.

 

   Rather than just put a cap on new outfitter licenses and call it good, the designers of the plan got greedy. Paralysis by analysis.

    Picture rooms full of nerdy types glued to computer screens with thick glasses and pocket protectors buzzing over stats and trends and three-second clicks from a river-cam hidden in the bushes. Hidden cameras!

   And by the way, those fishing guides are lying to us! The horror!

   More stats, more charts, more graphs...more, more, more. And pretty soon a simple plan that most could understand grew into a many-headed monster that got out of control. The finished plan totalled 67 pages.

   Your state government ran amok.

   They figured to dazzle with numbers and charts, but when they started carving up sections of the river like a Thanksgiving turkey, they went off the rails. Dictating days of the week when one can or cannot float a particular stretch was one of the deal breakers.

   If you have 300 people in a large room and force them into a smaller room, what do you get? Duh. 

   Who was in charge of this operation, Inspector Clouseau?inspector_clouseau

   Fishing outitters and guides were targeted as guilty. But the crowding problem is just not that simple. Many other factors are in play including:

   The ridiculous population explosion in Bozeman that slops over into the Madison every single day of the year.

   The opening of the Madison to fishing year round.

   The problems with just about every other river except the Madison: green slime on the Beaverhead, fish kill on the Yellowstone, low, hot water on the Big Hole and Jefferson, overcrowded wade fishing on the Gallatin up the canyon.

    And 70 miles to the south we have the uncontrollable shit-show that is Yellowstone National Park.

   All roads funnel toward the Madison River.

  

   The vortex.

  

    When the town of Ennis was founded back in the 1860s, it had become a crossroads... a convergence of wagon traffic, gold prospectors and snake oil salesmen. Today, over 150 years later, it remains a crossroads...for flyfishers from all over the land.

 

    So back to the drawing board. We are lucky to have a river full of fish...for now. Fish populations are even better than when I started fishing the Madison in 1972, forty six years ago, and when I got my first guide license in 1980.

   I have always supported FWP fisheries people. I feel they have done an admirable job keeping our fish stocks stable, even after the huge hit from Whirling Disease in 1990, when rainbow populations in Varney sunk to an all time low of 200 fish per mile (1993), and when the Hebgen Dam busted loose in 2008 sending a wall of water downstream.

   Kudos to them.

   But controlling people is a bigger problem.

   

   A problem that I'm not sure anyone can solve. 

 

   

  

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NO SOUP FOR YOU!

by Randy
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on Thursday, 12 April 2018
The Snag Hole 0 Comment

soup_nazi_2

MADISON RIVER RECREATION PLAN

Here is a link to a summary of the proposed plan:

 

http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?coversheet&topicId=44038209

 mad_r_rec

   mad_river_mapMontana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has put out a proposed Madison River Recreation Plan with the purpose of limiting commercial use on the river. It is 67 pages long with lots of numbers, data, charts and graphs...but here are some basics:

 

* Overall use on the Madison River continues to grow due to an increasing general population, (especially the exploding growth in Bozeman, Mt., only fifty short boat trailer miles away), a healthy fishery and a growing interest in fly fishing and river recreation.

 

* Upper Madison River use has doubled in the last four years from 88,000 to 179,000 angler days per year.angler_use_chart

 

* There were 213 active Special River Permits (green sticker) for outfitters on the Madison in 2017. General outfitter licenses (red sticker) issued for the state total over 30,000 since inception, both active and inactive. srp_2018197

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 * Outfitter trips on the Madison increased 72% in the last 10 years.client_day_use

 

* Since FWP opened the Upper Madison to year-round fishing, springtime outfitter trips increased dramatically.

 

* Quake Lake outlet to Lyon Br. "walk and wade" outfitter trips have doubled since
2013.client_wade_use

 

* 42% of the property bordering the banks of the Upper Madison is privately owned.

 

* There is a pervailing negative attitude toward fishing outfitters from Montana residents.

 

* There has been a hidden, automatic camera located between Lyon Br. and Windy Pt. taking photos of drift boats every three seconds since 2015. black_mask_guy

 

* 60% of boat traffic on Upper Madison is commercial.

 

* From a 2016 FWP "mail-in" survey, 54% of residents and 30% of non-residents feel the number of float users on the Madison is either
"unacceptable" or "very unacceptable".angler_satisfaction

 

* Trout populations in the Upper Madison are at all time highs.

 

* Proposed "no commercial use zones" are as follows:

Quake-Lyons...no Saturday

Lyons-Pal...no Sunday

Pal-Mac......no Monday

Mac-Varney...no Tuesday

Varney-Ennis...no Wed.

Ennis-Ennis Lake...no Thursday

   Outfitters will be allocated limited days of operation in these areas based on historic use.

 

* A cap (moratorium) will be placed on  SRP (commercial outfitter) permits issued for use on the Madison River based on 2016, 2017 use.

 

* No restrictions on non-commercial users between Lyons and Ennis.

 

* A ban of all float craft, commercial and non-commercial,  is proposed in the two wade-only areas of Quake-Lyon Br. and Ennis Campground to Ennis Lake.

 

    Lots to digest and ponder. Until then, the Soup of the Day is Rocky Mtn. Whitefish Chowder.

 

chowder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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