Up and Down

Up and down.  So go the river levels.  It's absolutely confounding.  Between the rain, runoff from snowmelt and dam releases, fishing conditions change, every day.  

It was eighty-eight degrees early one evening last week.  I usually dread the heat.  But, since a guy doesn't know how many trips around the sun he has left, I went anyway.   The river had dropped to around 2400 c.f.s.  Wading is possible at that level, one can nibble around the edges.  If lucky, I thought that I might find a few rising fish.  Maybe a few caddis too.  They like warm weather.

Shuffling my way through the grass, I stirred up some caddis.  Like hoppers, they were up and right back down into the safety of the grass.  Like me, they were waiting for the wind to die down.

I found a bit of soft water and settled in to watch.  At 7:30 the caddis dance began.

And, soon after, a few fish began to show their noses.  I tied on a nine foot leader, which, after fishing a fourteen or sixteen footer was quite a casting revelation.

I got a few, missed a few.  And, surprise, two were cutthroats.  This far down river.

The bigger fish abstained from participation.

No matter, it was a stupendous evening.  The warmth felt good.  The light was beautiful.

The next day the river ran at 1900 c.f.s., the day after it was back around 2800.  It's been there ever since.  Probably stay there too as long as it keeps raining.


  1. Lester
    I feel your pain when it comes to the yo-yo effect on local tailraces. I have to watch the generation daily to see if it is safe to fish both tailraces.
    I see very few caddis hatches on the Sipsey or the Caney. In fact the last time I landed a trout on top was back in 2016. I don't count 2017 the year we were living in Tennessee. Thanks for sharing

    1. Well, the lower Madison is back up over 4000 this morning. That's to be expected considering all of the rain we've had in the headwater areas. Sunshine is on the way and we should see improving conditions once this pile of water runs through the system. The bugs will follow, especially with warming days.

      Hard to believe that you don't see much for caddis. Do you fish in the evenings at all?

  2. Lester
    I don't fish in the afternoons or late the early mornings is my time to hit both tailrace. The reason I skip the afternoon and late is because this time of the year here it is so dam hot with humidity levels through the roof. I have seen some midge hatches but like I've said very few caddis. Guess I need to fish later, will get it a try when the temps get cooler.

  3. Les: Sounds like a good time being out in summer. Things are "up and down" here too, so hard to figure things out and get in a groove. Nice pics...like the caddis photo, the fly on rod with trace of white clouds behind and favorite the stormy sky one...great clouds.

    1. Bob, judging from your recent post it looks like some of your waters are starting to drop into shape. We may be another week off here.

      I liked that sunset set shot too. The photo didn't do the evening justice though. Thanks.....


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