Ah, the Big Sky country...Flew into Idaho Falls, and immediately set out for
the center of all trout fishing. Moments after arriving at our destination on the
banks of the famed Madison, the adventure began...
With a vicious strike and a shocking amount of power, it hit like a ton of
bricks. I pulled back, but could barely hang onto the rod as my valiant
adversary yanked and spun, nearly tearing the rod from my grasp. I shouted
in awe of it's power as the rod bucked in my hands, and I struggled to gain
control of the situation. Stacy, my girlfriend came running to see what the commotion
was about as I frantically battled the monster.
Then, in a split second, it was over. The American
Fan Company ceiling fan, model 327, in our room at the Riverside Motel in
Ennis, Montana, snapped the tip of my beloved,
custom-made five weight...Ah, such is life on the road. In spite of this
little mishap, we had an awesome time. The town of Ennis is the coolest--a
one street town with four restaurants, four saloons, a grocery/hardware
store and four fly shops. You can walk everywhere, and every conversation
you hear is about fishing, hunting and fishing and hunting. I don't think
I've ever been to a place where so much revolves around the stuff I love.
And it's gorgeous. Of course, there are drawbacks. For instance, Montana
must be the only place outside of Texas where a majority of the population
wears cowboy hats with no sense of irony. As far as actual fishing, I was
limited to a few hours here and there, but I did manage to get a couple of
nice mid-day, pre-hatch browns on the Madison with my favorite black Woolly Bugger and a couple of nice rainbows on Rock Creek with a #18 X-Caddis. We also saw a huge bull
moose, pronghorn antelope, whitetail and mule deer plus assorted small
vermin... All in all, pretty awesome for a "road trip" with the g-friend,
and a place that definitely requires further investigation--maybe an actual fishing trip with the drift boat and some time to explore. Also, if you're into eating, I highly
recommend the Continental Divide in Ennis--a surprising treat in the land of meat and
potatoes, with lovingly prepared gourmet cuisine that will blow you away. Had seared
Chilean sea bass with garlic mashed potatoes (okay, you can only get so far from Idaho
when you're in Western Montana), local caviar on toast points w/creme fraiche and a
creme brulee that was insane--all washed down with a seriously underpriced Sonoma
Cutrer chardonnay. Culture comes to the high desert, I guess, but it was a real treat
after all our truck stop food up to that point. Oh, yeah, I forgot this is a fishing
board, so I'll cut the b.s. here. Back to fishing: the good news is the whirling
disease thing seems to be under control, and I was happy to find a number of small
rainbows on the Madison. Although the only big fish I got were browns on this river,
it looks like the rainbows are on the come back. Alright, enough of this rambling
travelogue, just thought I'd pass on the info and recommend everyone make this trip
if possible. Now, if only they had steelhead...
P.S. Early summer run fishing was pretty good around here--got three nice chromers
in June, along with a 25-30 lb. ocean-bright king on my 7136. Now they seem to be
stacking up in the upper waters. Wouldn't it be cool if they had a trucking program
like they have on a number of other rivers? On the Santiam in Oregon, I have experienced
great fishing throughout the river all summer because of it.
Great report, and you can keep including those details on restaurants to go, spots to avoid, etc!! We all travel, and it's nice to know about those special spots to visit that can really add to the fun of a road trip. I'm amazed I never tried it - should have guessed it was great, as they were always booked when I wanted to eat there <g>. I'll pass one on as well - when heading to the OP and Forks, stop in at the Bakery in Port Angeles. On the left just after you make the hard left at the light following 101, they have fabulous Torrefazio espresso, great deli sandwiches and homemade soups. One of Juro's favorite stops when heading to/from Forks.
As for Ennis, it definitely is (along with West Yellowstone) one of the west's truely fun towns to explore. Our family used to have some property south of Ennis (near Two Dollar Bridge) that was a favorite family / summer destination. Pronghorn herds running beside your cars, folks talking about the renegade Grizzlie Joe Rancher had shot last weekend, and the amazing trout fishing are all great memories I have of Ennis. Stripping those white/olive lead-eyed bunny leeches (two strips glued to the hook) for big browns in the autumn was especially fun - they're super-aggressive and smash these little intruders really hard!
Skookum, you've given me nightmares with that story of a 25lb+ King on a 7136! You managed to land it??? That's one for the books!
Classic fishing report! Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip to trout mecca. Hope the 5wt gets better soon, hopefully the blank warranty will remedy your battle woes with the airborne monster.
I definitely agree that every good fishing trip is measured by the tangential things as well as the time on the water... like the interesting places that surround the water and the places we play and eat while on the road trip. As Brian mentions, our road trips always have that element to them and I hope our upcoming gatherings continue to do so too.
Even the ferry ride holds a special meaning when OP bound for an ocean coho and summer run combo road trip. Since moving 3,000 miles away from the ferry dock, it really brings back the sentiment to hear that horn. Where Starbucks coffee and Ivars chowder are hot and fresh on the ferry's diner, it can be hard to find a decent cup of coffee in entire districts in some parts of the country.
Sounds like a great roadtrip and the news of your success on summer fish gets me all the more pumped about a fall visit!
Yeah, Doublespey, I actually got him, took close to an hour, but what a gorgeous fish--purple on the back, silver tail, and sea lice. 39"X24" Shaped like a football--in fact I still can't believe how big around it was. It was tougher than that big steelhead you saw the picture of, although it may be the rod that made it seem that way. All I can say is that it's better to be lucky than good. In any event, I don't recommend targeting kings with the old 7136--unless you're into S & M.
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