Tag Archives: Madison River

Bear Trap Canyon Expedition

20171016-Bear Trap Canyon Expedition

It was a special day yesterday as Dan Larson and I had the unique opportunity to float through and fish the Bear Trap Canyon section of the Lower Madison River.  I also took “Drone Boy” up for a flight to capture a few photos from 325 feet above the river. This stretch of the river is famous for its three “class IV sections” that can range from challenging to dangerous (depending upon the relative water flow). Dan and I elected to get out of the raft at the most extreme section so that we could get some shots of our Guides running the rapids.

20171016-Bear Trap Canyon Expedition

In spite of the crystal clear – Cobalt blue skies, it was risky business trying to control my DJI Mavic Pro drone in 20 MPH winds (that probably gusted to 30).  On both of my flights inside the steep walls of the canyon, the drone lost touch with the controller and would not respond to my flight commands.  The wind was so strong that the Drone interpreted the conditions as “an immediate obstacle threat” and it was all I could do to regain control of the quad.

20171016-Bear Trap Canyon Expedition

Fortunately, I was finally able to control the elevation and when I dropped down to about 50 ft. in height above the river, I was able to maneuver behind a large Lodge Pole Pine.   Once sheltered by the wind, I regained control and was able to land the craft on the rocky river bank.  To the guide’s knowledge (based upon the simple fact that they are the only outfitter that has access to the canyon), I am the only person to attempt to fly a drone in this remote location.

20171016-Bear Trap Canyon Expedition

The fishing was slow (Dan and I managed to net about 10 fish each) but the experience was extraordinary and I can’t wait to go back under more favorable weather conditions (CALM).


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Enjoy and plan your trips.


PS:  The best photo taken during the day was the panoramic picture taken by my i-phone of the “Kitchen Sink” rapids.  Note how the camera’s processor interpreted the water flowing at a whitewater pace.  It is uniquely textured with fish scales.  🙂

Update from Yellowstone (Part II)


2,041…  That’s the number of photos that I managed to take last weekend while fishing in Yellowstone National Park with Katie.  Man, selecting the final-cut pictures for this year’s Success Profiles calendar is going to be really tough.

The most exciting part of our weekend involved an encounter that Continue reading »

Campaign Update from Yellowstone

No, not that campaign…  The Fall Field Campaign!

_dsc6523-1280x695It’s officially been 350 days since Katie and I were last fishing for migratory Rainbow and Brown Trout in our “secret spot” in Yellowstone.  It’s really hard to have that kind of air bubble in the calendar but man, was yesterday worth the wait.  The weather was setting up to be bad, really bad (high winds, snow and rain) but mother nature gave us a 12 hour window that was nearly perfect – well, perfect for fishing that is.  We started out with overcast skies, a low ceiling of fog, spitting rain, 35 degrees, and absolutely no wind.  That might not sound like a sunny day on the beach but it is actually ideal for catching really big trout.  By the time we left, the temperature had gradually risen to 47 and the dark weather conditions held steady from 9:30 AM till 5:30 PM.

We put over 20 fish into the net but probably hooked 60.  We fooled them with every fly pattern in our box (Streamers, CDC Betas Emergers, Egg patterns, soft hackle wet flies etc.).  The water level is higher than we’ve seen in many years but that’s because of the increased rainfall as of late.  This is really good news for the migratory fish and they are very big, healthy and strong.  The first 4 fish that I hooked were 20” and I managed to land three (a hook to land percentage that would gradually plummet during the course of the day).  In the back of my mind, I could hear Dan Larson’s voice screaming for most of the day as I lost several great fish… “AAAAUUGGGGGAAUU!” Continue reading »

2016 FFC Update from Montana


What do you do when you’re out fishing on one of the most beautiful rivers in the world and the fish have “lockjaw?”  I guess that you take lots of panoramic pictures of the scenery.

For those of you who like the fish portraits that I capture but like the scenery more, this Fall Field Campaign update is for you.  I guess Continue reading »

Wild Week on the Upper Madison

For your entertainment.
20160416 Wild Week on the Upper Madison (1)

It was a wild week on the channel section of the upper Madison river this week as we closed out the first official year of the Spring Field Campaign.  Alternating between two days of mid 70 degree weather and brilliant sunshine with two days of 30 degree weather and intermittent whiteouts, the fishing was as expected – Hot and Cold.

Dan Larson, Ron Burnside, Patrick Dowd, Barney Hallin, Charlie Conn and I explored new water that could be the coolest Continue reading »

Spring Field Campaign Update

Your Montana escape for the week.
20160406-Spring Field Campaign Update (5)

Update from the river last Sunday…

It was a sunny (and windy) day fishing the channel section of the Madison this past Sunday for Dan, Barney, Greg and I as we tried to figure out the pattern for the spring migratory rainbows. All total, we probably landed 60 fish – mostly clones in the 14” to 16” range except for the Monster Brown trout that Dan managed to pull out from a dark undercut bank. The fish of the day stretched the tape past 23 inches and was the highlight of the outing. Note: See attached Picture and remember the word “stretched.”20160406-Spring Field Campaign Update (7)

Over the past three days Continue reading »

Happy Easter from Montana (aka God’s country)

20160401-Montana Spring Field Campaign (5)

It was a glorious Easter Sunday afternoon on the Madison River with Dan Larson yesterday as the “Spring Field Campaign” kicked off fishing the upper channel section of the river.  This is the first year that this section of the Madison is open year-round and whereas the fishing was spectacular, the weather was challenging with thick overcast clouds, constant 20 MPH winds and temperatures in the low 40’s (you can do the math on the wind chill).

20160401-Montana Spring Field Campaign (2)In just over 3 hours, we managed to hook over 30 fish with 22 reaching Continue reading »

2015 Fall Field Campaign – Update

It was a spectacular final two weeks in Yellowstone this year as we closed out the Fall Field Campaign in MT.  Dan Larson and I have now fished the upper Madison River in the Park for 16 straight seasons.

Once again I said to Dan… “I believe that this year could well have been the best season ever.”  His response was typical… “hard to tell, but “It’s hard to imagine it being much better.”

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Given that we now have to go through “PYD” for another 350 days, it’s hard to imagine trout fishing for wild fish to be much better than this.  PYD = Post Yellowstone depression. Continue reading »

A Few More Shots From Yellowstone National Park Last Week

Finally getting around to working of a few pictures from last week’s Fall Field Campaign in Yellowstone.

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Katie as the true the Packer fan.  Burnside on the run from Tonka.  The sh*t show parade (video buffalo while driving).  Mr. Two heat. And, a few close ups.

More to follow as we return to find the really big browns this week.


Special Days in Yellowstone National Park

I’m not sure it can get much better than this…

Katie Olivo - Sunrise in the Rain

Katie Olivo – Sunrise in the Rain

Tony Thompson - With Monster Brown Trout

Tony Thompson – With Monster Brown Trout

We have now hit year 16 for our consecutive annual fishing trips into Yellowstone NP hunting the migratory spawning trout in the Madison River.

What was unanticipated was not the spectacular fish (they are always there) but this year, the “Abby-Normal” weather.  We just had three record high temperature days with the mercury climbing into the 70’s with no wind and cobalt blue skies.  Continue reading »