Saturday, July 27, 2013

Madison Doldrums

Good For Casting Practice
like the Central Pacific Ocean
.. Right now, and for most folks, the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park is "UNFISHABLE."
.. You will hear the feather merchants, expert guides, and seasonal counter help parroting this when asked about the river.
.. And, while this may be true in their minds, (ahem,) they are really saying that catching fish is hard because they don't know where they are.
.. Or, they feel sorry for all those poor overheated fish and don't think it's good to add to their stress and anxiety and pain.
.. Or, (pardon the contrairian view,) they don't know the river well enough to have ferreted out the submerged cold water springs where fish are active, healthy, not stressed, and willing to dance if you properly present your fly.
.. OR, horror of horrors, they just won't tell you.
..Fish do, indeed, become stressed at the temperatures that are in most parts of the Madison River right now. Additionally, the flows are at least 20% below seasonal norms and projected to stay that way for at least two weeks - or more.
.. Most of the trout will either migrate locally to cool and shady parts of the stream - or - be displaced to new and different locations.
.. It is absolutely maladaptive, (as well as maladjustive,) to stay in one place and be parboiled by the water temperatures and suffocate for lack of dissolved oxygen.
.. Some fish find their way into cool tributaries. Some, in fact, do become lethally stressed by not being able to find water that has oxygen enough and temperatures cool enough to sustain their lives.

.. Many fish are lucky enough, (cagy enough?) to congregate in the cold springs that percolate through the sediments as groundwater and issue forth in the Madison River at various places: quite a few places in actuality.
.. These lucky fish hang out around the colder water and are doing quite nicely: heat-be-damned.
.. As the Summer drags on and the groundwater table sinks to lower, (or different strata,) the quality of the aquatic springs changes: usually for the worse from a piscine point of view.
.. Parts of the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park encounter bed rock undulations which affect the groundwater, (by damming, redirecting, or channelling.)
.. We need not get into the vagaries of the differences of perched water tables and other kinds - BUT - the bedrock can have an enormous affect on where the springs are erupting.
.. Should you be foolish enough to fish the Madison River right now, and with it's diminished regimen so very apparent, it might behove you to think in more dimensions than just those dimensions dealing with the flowing water.
.. Good luck with your casting practice.
Summer Casting Practice - Madison River