Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is one of our favorite places on earth. We’ve fished in the park many times before, primarily in the northeast corner on the Lamar, Soda Butte and Slough Creek. While we’ve fished the Madison and Firehole rivers before, we’d never fished them with a guide.
We hooked up with our guide, Patrick Daigle at Blue Ribbon Flies, ready to explore a few of YNP’s gems, the Madison, Firehole and Gibbon. Patrick took me out to our first hole, totally away from any other anglers, not a soul in sight, and the “Magic” began. Swinging flies for hungry trout coming up out of Hebgen Lake into the Madison is so fun; waiting for that strike on the fly as it swings and sets off the trout. We explored a few holes, had a few tugs but no takes and then, boom!
First it was Barb who hooked into one of these incredibly beautiful rainbows and the fight was on. We learned some new techniques from Patrick, the most important one was tilting our rod down and upstream. When we did this, it caused the trout to swim upstream toward us. This made Barb’s landing of that first fish of the day so much easier.
Next it was my turn in the pool and within about 5 casts, fish on! While I was practicing the same techniques to land the fish, this trout was really ticked off at getting hooked. He jumped and then ran way downstream and around some rocks. Patrick was preparing me for the likely outcome of loosing the fish on the rocks. However, with a couple of other tips from Patrick, we were able to get the fish away from the rocks and headed back upstream to our waiting net. It was an amazing fight to hook and land this big rainbow.
Our day was made, but there was so much more to come. We went to another hole on the Madison and decided to nymph fish. Good decision! We hit into a great number of big, beautiful rainbows who hit our rubber legs, shop vacs, and prince nymphs. It was lunchtime but we didn’t want to take a break given how great the fishing had become.
Afterward, we hit the Firehole in the canyon section and then the Gibbon. However, the Madison kept calling us back. While we didn’t get back to it with Patrick, he had shown us an “epic” day in YNP and we were able to go back the next day and hook more fish.
Patrick is an outstanding guide and gave us the confidence in reading the waters, picking the right flies, putting us on fish and helping us with the techniques needed to land them in these waters. I won’t mention any of the holes where we hooked into all the fish. You’ll have to book Patrick and let him show you these pristine waters through his eyes and expertise. For now, please enjoy his interview we did along the Madison river after a magical day in YNP.