This week’s report comes from our very own Borden Porter. Borden hails from Richmond, Virginia via the University of Alabama. Roll Tide. For those of you who don’t know Borden, his journey to Montana began a lot like the rest of us, by loading up his belongings and headed west for the hunting and fishing and ended up staying put.
Borden is quite the fish head as evidenced in the photos below. He got out a few times this week and here’s what he experienced in his own southern narrative...
“We are still experiencing ripple effects of the annual ice gorge. After weeks of an inoperable town (Ennis) fishing access, FWP has tentatively scheduled to re-open on April 18th. Just in time for those great, late evening floats searching for brown trout cruising the flats and grassy banks. Black was the bread and butter Tuesday evening for myself and streamer enthusiast, fly tying manager, and guide Ryan Whalen. We hustled up to Burnt Tree after work and floated down to Valley Garden in search of solidarity and the tug we all yearn for. We found both. We focused on hitting the green buckets and undercut banks. Casting up stream from our target, stripping downstream, with longer pauses between quick twitches produced some good fish for us. We focused on swinging black Peanut Envy’s across shallow gravel bars down into the deeper ledges below.
As the sun got lower, our choice of streamers got bigger. Ryan busted out one of his signature black streamers, much bigger but similar to a black Sex Dungeon using Scientific Anglers new Sonar int/sink3/sink5 sinking line. Boom! Brown Town engaged.
On Thursday my buddy Nick and I spent the day floating with veteran Madison River Guide/Outfitter, Brian Rosenberg (B-Dog). We put in at Varney Bridge around 9am and the water was around 40 degrees and climbing. The flows were around 1280 CFS. The weather that day called for beautiful 60 degree temps, partly sunny, and of course a little dose of the “W” word. Our strategy the night before was dry or die. A #14 Chubby with a golden belly had been my go to for the past couple weeks, but after multiple drifts tight to the bank in shallow, flat water and next to the intriguing and heart pounding Varney cut banks with no luck, I added a second fly. Moving up to a size #10 Chubby, dropping a wire-worm 3 feet underneath was my next rig. There’s something about using a dry as your indicator with the possibility of an encounter with a surfacing fish gulping your dry instead of starring at your bobber for hours, that really gets me going. The chubby dropper deemed very successful. We even managed to land a few elusive Madison River suckers. Slower, choppy water in the deep green buckets provided the most success that day, with a few others in faster, shallower water.
As some clouds moved in overhead, we eventually switched our focus to tossing some streamers around. We opted for a natural Sculpzilla with a black Girdle Bug trailing a foot or so behind as our first choice. Stripping through some choppy, nervous water as well as dead drifting with the occasional twitch got us few hooks ups. As we got below the Ennis bridge, we stopped at a few great looking runs. We threw a few casts without much luck and quickly moved on. There’s so much great looking water around here, covering the greatest amount of river until you find them stacked up is the move. Floating down, scanning the river for our next possible stopping point, we noticed a moose lying down on the bank of an island. Distracting us almost enough to float past the now deemed “Moose Hole.” We ended our day spending a couple hours or so diligently working the runs around the launch. Nick got a few browns to come to the surface and inhale a dark bodied size 12.
Another Spring day on the river in the books. This is a great time to come fish the Madison. Being relatively new to this river, I have begun to see why some of the very best anglers in the country call this river home."
Words: Borden PorterPhotos: Borden Porter and Justin Edge