Saturday, December 26, 2009

More pictures,,,,,,,

Pictures from the last two weeks

We are loading the boat this morning, getting ready for a five day excursion down the finger of Baja norte. Our 29 passengers are gathering at the top of the landing, waiting with high hopes of good fishing, the weather forecast is in our favor. I will be driving this trip, its sort of my trip in that I have run it every year since it's inception. It can be extremely tough conditions to deal with at this time of year, but however it may be we always seem to find some kind of gamesters to catch. For the most part we will be targeting yellowtail along with calico and sand bass, red rock cods and if we are fortunate yellowfin tuna.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Packing up

Packing up the tying desk and flying out tomorrow, back to San Diego and back to work. Shogun leaves on the 26th on the semi-annual five day yellowtail extravaganza. Sounds like there is some yacht dope that there is still some sign of yellowfin out in front of Turtle bay, so I am sure we will give that a go over. Between us and the Royal Polaris we usually are able to round up something to catch during this cold time of year.
The fishing up here in Idaho and Montana was superb for this time of year. For the three years that I have lived up here in SE Idaho, I had yet to get over and fish the Madison. It was not a let down and a very different river than what I was use to fishing i.e. the Henry's fork.

Madison river Part 2

Yesterday's fishing was tough overall. The hike in to the mouth of Quake lake wasn't too bad, but the snow is getting deeper everyday. Most of the way it was about ankle deep, but this is due to following either old tire trails or previous snow shoe prints. Once you get in there towards the ghost town it quickly escalates to shin/knee deep. Anyhow the river still looked to be in great shape, but the fish didn't want to bite. Even in holes that had previously yielded upwards of ten fish only gave up one or two at most. It was great to be out on the river and have it all to myself on this day. It snowed some, but with the lack of wind it was quite pleasant. The only reason I could see that the fish are reacting differently today is that the flows have decreased and the river level was down about four inch's from the day before. Parking here is getting tougher with the deeper snows and drifts, on this day I had to put the chains on to get back out to the main highway.
Today, December 23, is blistering cold. I made it down to the parking spot at three dollar bridge and almost didn't get out of the truck. The temperature may be around 18 degrees, but the wind is howling from the north which of course knocks it down a few more degrees. So I tell myself, I just go slow and if it gets too cold then I can come back. The walk in isn't bad and by the time I get the big house at the second fence it actually seems like the wind has backed off. It was just a lull. The wind picked right back up, the snow stopped and the sun came out, now it gets really cold. Today I stayed on the bank for the most part. It took about a half hour before the first fish bit one of the pair of stones I was working. In that same hole came two more rainbows and two fish that came off. Right on, all of a sudden I feel much warmer and now am feeling hopeful for the rest of the day. Its really tough to fish in this wind, I have to use an indicator and my guides are literally freezing by every third cast. No pictures of fish today due to the fact that I don't want to lift them from the water, hence they will freeze in a matter of seconds, my wet fingers prove this point all too well. Every few minutes I have to stop and warm up my stinging fingers. Up to the next hole, which is a good one. Second cast in the tail of the pool and I hang one that comes off, then another that comes off. I move a few steps up, make the cast and watch as the bobber starts it float back towards me, it dosen't take long before it jiggles and goes under. This one is a slab, maybe 19 inch's, on the next cast another. The day continues with more fish and more ice in the guides until its just too much and I call it an early day. The day ended with a count of an even dozen fish, mostly rainbows, a couple of browns and one gigantic whitefish. Still this part of the river is amazing to me, there were plenty of fish up shallow that I spooked from the bank, if the conditions were better I am sure it would have been another excellent day of catching. So be it, I am happy that I was able to get out, catch some fish, make it home in one piece and now sit and write this in front of the fire. I keep writing about the stoneflys that I have been using and have come to the conclusion that, yes they do work and well, but it was more because I had the river to myself and was able to get away with using such big flies. If there had been more angling pressure to contend with then I am sure other techniques would have had to been applied.



Madison river in December

For the past ten days I have been fishing the Madison river, through snow, stinging wing, while trudging across drifts and deserted roads. It might sound like a terrible experiance, but on the contrary I wouldn't have it any other way.
First thing, the Madison river may be the most popular river in the United States, so I don't have any quam's with telling you all about the fishing here. Most of the rocks I traverse already have plenty of stud scratch's. Second, in the last ten days I have seen a total of seven other anglers fishing, mind you I cover alot water with the way I fish. The blustery conditions keep everyone inside, but overall it dosen't put the fish off too much.
In my opinion, granted this is the first year I have fished the Madison, the river is fishing well. From Hebgen damn past three dollar bridge, the flows have been stable and water temperature warm enough to keep the water from slushing up. Pretty standard rule of thumb is the fish really don't start biting until 11:00 then quite at 16:00, but in those five hours its seems to be steady action. Some holes give up some times eight fish or more, most just one or two. What works for me is to cover upwards of a mile or more(sometimes two miles) of river working up-stream the whole time, slinging big bugs(brown and golden stones) until I come across a nice pool or slow moving pocket water then switch to #16 or #18 midge pupa/emerger in either red or black. Some half days the scores have been as low as nine, but if I get the chance for a full day the scores usually end up in the twenty's to some days as high as thirty-five fish to the net. This is in the middle of winter?
I can't say enough good things about this river. Its like a big picture of a small stream, you can fish it different ways and still catch fish. There is something funny that has happened to me on a couple of different occasions. When I do come across another fisherman we, of course, exchange information. Everyone, so far, has been very friendly, I think it has to do with lack of other fishers. Anyhow, I will tell them I am getting most of my fish on stones. They all have looked at me like I was lying or with surprise. Seems everyone fish's midges in the winter. Hmm. Anyway to each his own I suppose.

Its been a great experiance and I have three more fishing days to go. Still looking for Ms. Madison Brown.