The Magical Madison River

I’m dedicating today’s blog to my sweet fly fisherman-Happy Birthday my love!

“More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done.”
Charles F. Orvis


Given the amount of time I spent at the Madison River with my sweetie I should have learned to fly fish. But I didn’t. Instead I learned about everything that draws him to the river and why he loves to fly fish. Fly fishing connects him with nature and gives him time to be at peace. It’s Zen like, you have to be in the present moment without worrying about yesterday or tomorrow-only the moment . It’s really not about the fish, it’s about immersing yourself in the river, stepping into a spot and being in that spot for that one moment. You raise your arm for your cast and out goes the line, skimming the surface, dropping the fly-that happens in an instant. And you do it over again, all day long if you choose. You stop when you are too tired to lift that arm one more time. Have you caught many fish ? Maybe, maybe not, it doesn’t matter. It was a day well spent on the river.

There is such a peacefulness on the Madison River. There were days I would sit surrounded by tourists jumping out of vehicles to take pictures of the iconic scene, a fly fisherman on the Madison River in Yellowstone Park. All I did to block out the noise was stare into the waters of the Madison. Everything else disappeared and I was lost in the mesmerizing flow of the river, watching the seaweed and aquatic plants moving with the flow of the river, doing their little slow dance as damsel flies hovered over them.

I don’t think Jim realized how many tourist snapshots he was captured in! He also wasn’t bothered by the activity around him, he was concentrating on one thing and that was what was happening at the end of his fishing line. I watched him fish for hours, nothing distracted him. I could see him enjoying his surroundings, looking at the sun filtering through the trees or watching an Elk calf work her way up stream. But his eyes and concentration didn’t drift for long, always a flick of the wrist, an arch of the arm and the line would gracefully curve, catch a little breeze and land so gently across the flowing river.

With a tied fly, maybe a black and grey mosquito or a purple adams dry fly gently landing on top of the water, teasing the trout, daring him to bite. And when he did bite it was a hard tug he gave and he got a gentle smooth pull back from my fisherman, setting the hook is what he called it. And if the stars were aligned he caught a beautiful brown trout. The Madison is a catch and release river so that beauty was carefully released back to it’s crystal clear waters to swim freely in this amazing river.

I’m not a fly fisherman and I don’t pretend to know anything about how to fly fish, I only know that my sweetie loves to do it and I love that it makes him so happy. I try to learn what I can, maybe someday I’ll be out there casting with him, in the meantime I’ll watch from the shore and take comfort in his happiness.

“On the river the heat mirages danced with each other and then they danced through each other and then they joined hands and danced around each other. Eventually the watcher joined the river, and there was only one of us. I believe it was the river.” Norman Maclean-A River Runs Through It