Hebgen Dam 930 cfs
Old Kirby Place 1030 cfs
Varney Bridge “ice” likely around 1050-1100 cfs
Lower Madison 1260 cfs
As we tick away at the last hours of 2019 I can not help but look back on the year and be thankful for another year spent on the river with old friends, family, old customers, new friends and new customers.
2019 was the year of the Hopper (although last year was pretty good for hoppers too) and it has been about a decade since I have seen that many grasshoppers in the Madison Valley. What will 2020 be? Like many years it will be the year of the dry fly for me. Oh wait, that’s every year. Maybe it will be the year of the salmon fly or the year of the ant. No one really knows for sure. One thing I do know for sure is that I will look forward to it with anticipation and excitement.
I have a long list of thanks to give and I know I will forget someone if I make a list of people to thank. I think it becomes a little like a drawn out Oscar speech and no one really wants that. I have been rattling them off in my head and I think I’m close to a hundred “thank you” and counting. I owe all my success to those around me and this includes family, friends, colleagues, mentors, fly shop owners and customers. There, that’s an encompassing list with out being drawn out.
Some highlights for me include a fun trip to chase pike and bass around Fort Peck with a good friend and likely unbeknown to him a mentor. A fun filled trip with my brother to chase bass in North West Montana. Just awesome to see him get to fish hard for a whole week. He’s an animal when it comes to fishing even though he doesn’t get to do it as much as he’d like. He’s working hard to take care of his family and It was a privilege to get some of his valuable time. My earliest guided float trip ever on January 13 or something like that. An awesome boat launch with friend and colleague Mike Lum (I will release the video some day). I had some very memorable beginners, one of my favorite types of anglers to have in the boat. I love seeing things come together for them. A day with Joan the wife the John Seaman the man solely responsible for getting me to Montana in the first place 21 years ago. Time spent with returning customers chasing slamonflies around the Madison River. The return of a customer that has not been able to come out the last couple years. The opportunity to take a good friend and his law school buddy fishing during the one of the best hopper years in a decade. Congratulations on you both passing you Bar Exams. My biggest trout of the year on the Madison was a 23 1/2 inch rainbow trout (that same day another angler from the same group caught a 25 inch brown). Thats crazy right? Thats the Madison for you. Just when you think you have the big fish locked up for the day.
Looking forward to the 2020 season and the ability recreate, revisit and make new memories with old friends and new. Thank you all for your friendship, support and taking a little time from your day to stop by.
See you in 2020!
Keep your tip up!