Hooking Large Rainbows At
6 Degrees !
Every year I look forward to the
advent of Autumn in Yellowstone National Park for that season also brings
with it the spawning brown and rainbow trout that migrate upstream to
deposit their eggs in the cold, clean oxygenated waters that the Gibbon,
Firehole and Madison River have to offer.
During the month of September and the
first half of October fly fishers from around the world can be found in
one of the many holes or holding lies that have become famous over the
years in the 23 miles of Madison River within Yellowstone National Park.
Hole's with names like Baker's Hole, the Barn's Pools #1,2, and 3, Cable
Car Run, Big Bend, Nine-Mile Hole and Beaver Meadow's to name a few. While
the rainbows and browns can be found in many other locations throughout
the Madison River they seem to prefer these locations to rest on their
While the Madison occasionally yields
a brown weighing over ten pounds, rainbows and browns that range from 16
to 20 inches are more common. It is this reason that also draws the throng
of fly fishers to the Madison every autumn.
By mid-October the weather in
Yellowstone National Park becomes almost unpredictable with the
possibility of a sudden snow storm closing the park early on any day for
several days at a time or even closing it for the season. It's during this
time of the year when the early morning temperature's are hovering around
zero or below that I have the Madison River pretty much to
I recall one of these late autumn
mornings in particular when the thermometer read 6 degrees as I prepared
to wade into the Madison River. The river emitted a heavy fog as I watched
my indicator drift through the run on my first cast. Before long the
indicator disappeared and I was fast to a huge rainbow which took me into
my backing. As he made his second run I realized that my reel was
beginning to freeze. I started to dip my reel into the river to melt the
ice on it and to free it up. Ice was also starting to build in my guides.
If it became much worse I would need to dip the rod into the river as well
I thought. After a few more short runs I was able to thaw my landing net
and land that beautiful rainbow and several others that morning with the
temperature never raising above 12 degrees.
Copyright @ 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005,
2006 by Bob Kloskowski