We've had some cooler weather lately, which means you have to trade in the shorts and flip flops for waders and boots; but the cooler weather does a couple of great things here in SW Montana. First, it knocks about half the anglers off the water. Combine that with a slowing of tourist season, and the beginning of hunting season, and you get a lot of space on the river right about now, which is great. More importantly though, cold nights fill the ears of brown trout with the sweet sounds of Barry White, and they start thinking about...well, you know.
While we were lucky enough to get into the 70s and 80s for a while last week, the water warmed and we had some good dry fly fishing on the Upper. With our cool off, however, water temps have dropped from low 50s to about 39 degrees, meaning it's all subsurface now. The West Fork is pushing a lot of dirt, and flows have risen considerably, but have stabilized for now. Most of the time we flee from dirty water, but in the case of the Madison, embrace it.
With the rising water, most of the freestone rivers are unfishable, or at least not a very good option at the moment. Cooler temps over the next week could bring them back in to shape, so it might not be all over until July for them. That said, our local tailwaters are fishing excellent right now. Had a chance to get on both the Upper and Lower Madison this week.