Friday, September 6, 2019

The Madison River - One for the Fly Fishing Bucket List

Ennis, Montana:  Fly fishing the Madison River is one of those bucket list items Jason and I have been talking about from the beginning of our RV life daydreaming.  It is also the main reason we put Montana on our must-do destination list in this first year on the road.

This week we came to the town of Ennis, Montana - "the heart of the world's best fly fishing" to finally see the famous Madison River for ourselves and to hopefully catch a few trout.

We have been staying at Ennis RV Village which sits along Hwy 287 just a mile north of town.  From here we have easy access to a variety of fishing locations along the Madison with just a few miles of driving.

On August 29th we drove 10 miles south into Bear Trap Canyon to try some wade fishing below the Madison Dam.
Lunch break in Bear Trap Canyon

Fighting a Brown

A Canyon Brown

Great Blue Heron was out fishing today too
Pretty Rainbow

On August 30th we tried fishing in the evening about 10 miles north of Ennis at the Varney Bridge access.  We waded downstream about a half mile into some braids but Jason only landed a couple of small trout.  While walking back up river we ran into a porcupine along the trail.  He was small and in no big hurry to move along so we could pass by him, so we waited patently and took a few pictures as he slowly climbed into some trees next to the path.

Casting below Varney Bridge

Little Rainbow

Pokey Porcupine

Sunset along the river with Madison Range in the distance

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Coffin Lakes Trail

Today we set out on a day hiking adventure with the dogs.  Coffin Lakes Trail is a 12 mile out and back trail located near Henry's Lake State Park, ID.  To get to the trailhead we drove east on US-20 about 7 miles then turned onto Denny Creek Road which eventually turned to forest service gravel road for the last 10 miles.

The trail begins in a fairly open meadow near Hebgen Lake.  When we arrived there were quite a few open range cattle hanging around the trailhead parking area.  They seemed pretty interested in watching us pack up our gear for the hike. 
Curious cattle

Frankie keeping the cows at bay

The beginning of the hike is a gentle upward climb on easy to follow path through sagebrush meadows and fir and pine forest.  

A few miles in the trail climbs further into the mountains becoming thick forest and a calf-burning elevation gain of 1900 ft. begins.  We crossed several tiny streams and at one point the trees parted to reveal an impressive cliff ridge line.

The hike ends at 6 miles by popping out of the trees at a beautiful clear mountain lake set against the backdrop of high mountain cliff ridges.  Right away we spotted several cutthroat trout milling around in the cold clear water.  A good sign!

We hiked up a steep little incline to get a better view and sat to enjoyed our lunch on a large rock overlooking Lower Coffin Lake.

A perfect spot for lunch

Lilly was slightly disappointed by my snack choice of wasabi almonds
After lunch it was time for both dogs to do a little swimming and for Jason to try and catch one of those pretty trout we could see swimming around in the lake.