Montana has always had a special place in my life. In the summers as a kid I worked the deep backcountry rivers in the Bitterroot National Forest doing Salmon Habitat Research. It was a lonely place for a teenager, but a good place for a kid to stay out of trouble. It has always had a mystic that hangs over this place. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about it. I will always believe it to be a great point in my life, a home away from home. That seemed just like yesterday, crazy to think it was over 15 years ago. This was a highly anticipated trip. It was my first trip to the Madison that I can remember, although I might have been there as an infant a few times tucked neatly away in the old mans pack : ) But I do remember Montana and the feeling that it offers to those willing to listen.
The rendezvous point was my house for the first pick up, then off to Nate's, a quick call to Matt to rub it in and we hit the open road, 11 pm. The drive consisted of a midnight run in the snow … its going to be a cold miserable trip, perfect for fall streamers! <> We stopped in for a quick rest and homemade breakfast at Nicks friend house in Island Park before we finished the last few hours before the Madison.
Arriving at the cabin we met the owner, awesome lady BTW, unloaded our stuff and left for the first float. I just discovered that the town, food and smokes, was the other direction and about 40 minutes round trip. Nick and Nate conveniently both brought food from home because we have a fridge, microwave, sink, oven, BBQ… basically a full kitchen, nobody thought of telling me, how nice. So I have no food, smokes, Red Bulls… anything. At this point I didn't care just wanted to fish.
Well, the river is not what I had expected. Its fast water fishing at its finest. Beauty of a river! We shoved off and away we went. Nate picked up a fish pretty quickly, then another and another. Nick and I are still at a zero when Nate lands a beauty of a Brown on his beloved "Woolly-Raider" pattern. We rowed and tossed streamers all day. Fishing was really slow. I had picked up a few on Cheech's articulated patterns but nothing substantial and overall numbers were down. The scenery more than makes up for the slow day of fishing, its absolutely amazing. Pulled over to enjoy the views, eat some much needed food and rested a bit. We pushed on, pushed a tad bit to far actually, Nate and I flew right by our extraction point. Luckily Nick found the car gave us a call and came and picked us up.Back at the cabin we assessed the situation and made a decision to go up stream tomorrow…..