The Madison River Gorge

Crazy ice every winter.

Each year, typically in November, the Madison River backs up with ice and overflows its banks, the river creating new channels and winding through farm fields. In the process it wrecks fishing access sites, cheif among them the Town Access and the Valley Garden Access. Apparently, this is one of the few rivers in the world that gorges like this—it begins as slush and ice build during low temperatrues like we had last week. As that slush and ice hit Ennis Lake it freezes solid, as does the ice and slush following behind it. Before long the whole river is iced up all the way to Ennis and beyond. It’s quite a site, as you can see, and even though I’ve been here eight years, it’s always a surprise to pass over the river when this first occurs.

All this ice doesn’t really make the river conducive to fishing, which is the problem I wrestle with this evening. See, tomorrow I’m showing around a blogger from Outdoor Life who’s goal is to catch a fish in Montana before he leaves for the winter. I’m thinking it can be done, but not on this stretch of river. I’ll send an update tomorrow or Thursday and let you know how we do. Complicating matters is that I’ll have my three-year-old daughter, Myka, with me. Now, I wouldn’t change things, but my foremost attention will be on her and getting a line on the water for any amount of time may be difficult.

So, anyway, we’ll dial up some GIE’s and Zebra Midges, pinch on the lead, and give it a throw somewhere along the river. I guess the high is supposed to be 32 tomorrow and hopefully the wind won’t blow like it did today. It was brutal out there. Tomorrow, I suppose, could be a repeat. I’m imagining it will be a five-cast show before the ice needs to be chipped from the guides. Isn’t the first time. Won’t be the last.


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