Fall Browns on Montana’s Madison River

Wind, gear-chuckers, and high afternoon sun? No worries—sink the hopper and slay.

Walked upstram and found more of the same, but I did discover a few little sidechannels that must not have looked too good to the gear guys because I cast there and yarded out a bunch of eager, little rainbows and browns on a Grand Hopper and missed a couple fish that I’d liked to have seen.

Heat of the day. Wind blowing like Tierra del, and the water pounded by gear junkies—not the best conditions. So I didn’s stay long, perhaps two or three hours at best. Just before I was going to haul out and walk to my truck I placed a couple split shot above that hopper and added a Lightening Bug to the mix. Then I attached a strike indicator to the leader and let that offering bounce along the bottom rocks, right through the heart of a really nice pool.

I was throwing a new rod from Redington that arrived in the mail on Friday. It’s the new Redington Pursuit line of rods, very affordable, very pretty and, now I know, fully capable. They aren’t the fastest sticks in the world, which I actually prefer, but they have plenty of strength to throw a mess like what I was running through that deep hole.

I think it was the second or third cast, with big mends, that allowed that sunk hopper to find a brown. Once I hooked that fish I stood my ground. But the line peeled off the reel and pretty soon I was into backing and the fish wasn’t slowing down so I got my boots in gear and started the chase. Finally managed that fish into a sidechannel and was able to slide it into the shallows. Beautiful brown. Maybe 18 or 19 inches. Great spotting and coloration. Which is no surprise; this is the time of year to find the best browns of the season, all colored up or at least starting to color for their fall spawning run.

Thought you might enjoy the shots and hearing about the new Redington Pursuit rod. I’ll be throwing that stick more this week and I’ll have a full review for you soon. Looking for browns on the move? Hit the Madison between Ennis and Slide Inn or cruise above and hit the water between the Hebgen and Quake lakes. Or fish in Yellowstone National Park for browns moving out of Hebgen.

In Idaho, start looking seriously at Silver Creek and the lower Big Wood. And the South Fork Snake ought to be snapping, too.

Good luck out there.

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