Rivers In Motion’s The Madison (and my mind’s now on fast forward)

Watching stunning video of trout-laden water may be hazardous to your health

The folks at Dry Fly Media were kind enough to send me one of their Rivers In Motion Fall Series DVDs, The Madison. I’ll preface my reaction to watching/listening to 80+ minutes of moving water by saying I am not the type to sit still – hence my mobile phone bills are ‘ginormous’, the carpet in my office has a path worn through it to the floor, and my gasoline consumption during the season exemplifies my propensity for trout-induced motion (wildly erratic casting stroke notwithstanding).

Thankfully, Dry Fly Media took care of the ‘still part’ for me by mounting cameras at the Madison River’s edge, me thinks to leave the viewer pondering how many trout were lurking just under the surface. I suppose whoever is watching it is supposed to feel peace and serenity (or increased fly tying efficiency), but it did not have the intended effect with me. Upon plopping the DVD in my laptop, I skipped directly to chapter two (“Ennis Bridge Afternoon”) – thereafter I spent roughly five minutes with my nose pinned to the screen thinking there had to be at least one piggy brown laying in the quiet water right around that bend on the far side of the river. It would surely and violently pound a #2 black bunny the moment the streamer hit the water.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have a rod close by or I might have broken my display trying to cast to it.

While I was alternating between hastily assembling a gear bag for a yet undetermined trip and banging my head against the wall because I wasn’t actually standing in the Madison that very moment, the fly fishing PSYOPS masters at DFM decided to change venues and throw in a nasty surprise. Now I was staring at McAtee Bridge on an overcast late afternoon, and there was one lucky bastard fishing upstream. “Get out of my hole you jerk,” I screamed. I then started hoping someone in the film crew would jump that guy, only to realize my feet were warm because I was actually perched in front of an Apple Cinema instead of on a soggy bank.

Please fast forward to springtime!

It is a known fact that there are no trout living above Three Dollar Bridge,
so please move along (some folks have cabin fever, don’t ya’ know).

Despite the grandeur that Dry Fly Media is purveying, I’m going to pass this video on in another of my silly fly fishing trivia contests (i.e. I really love the DVD but it’ll likely drive me crazy before April so I have to get rid of it – and permission has been granted to do so). Again, it’s first come first serve, assuming you answer all the questions correctly in the comments. The questions may be tricky (so read closely), and they are ordered by increasing difficulty:

1) Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer’s dog can’t cast a fly rod (as far as I know), but Jag might have fun chasing what?

2) Who first declared that dry flies were the only fly worth throwing? Where and when was such insanity proclaimed?

3) What type of trout, now endangered, once thought the Bear friendly?

4) Name two flies Lee Wulff invented, other than the Royal Wulff. One must be ‘square’.

If you’re unsure about your answer, explain. Additionally, this absurd quiz is limited to residents of the 50 states (i.e. I’m not shipping the prize to Timbuktu, and your DVD player probably couldn’t view it anyway…sorry). And make sure to leave a valid email address with your posted answers so I can get a hold of you should you turn out the winner.


Marshall says:


Gracie, I knew you were weird. But now I know how to get your attention on the river too.

1. A border collie bitch.

2. It is not distinctly clear who invented the idea of dry flies, but it does originate in merry old England. A publication called The Field first coined the words “dry fly” in 1853. By the end of the next year, a Cheltenham company called Foster’s was selling the flies (they were also called trout flies) openly and doing well.

If any singular human being was the father of dry tied flies, it would have to be James Ogden around this same time period. It is certain that he used floating fly rigs, but so had a number of other people. Nobody else stepped up to claim the invention, so Ogden grabbed the bull by the horns.

Now came the transforming of the floating fly rig in the 1840’s and 1850’s. Ogden and Foster were involved directly in the transforming of the floating fly to the hackled fly between 1840 and 1850. This is believable because it matches precisely with the appearance of the false cast in early 1850. Strangely enough, the first reported trout caught on a “dry” didn’t come until 1888.

The birth of this controversy coincided innocently enough with the emergence (ahem!) of the dry fly under the divine leadership of one Frederick Halford and culminated and matured with the development of the artificial nymph under the sponsorship of G.E.M. Skues. Both men added to our literary history with writings on their opposing positions.

Between Floating Flies and How to Dress Them, published in 1886 Halford. Hence maybe the fact that a trout was not caught on a “dry” as referenced above until 1888 England obviously.

3. I going with the Paiute cutthroat or the Yellowstone Cutthroat. They seem like a good idea at this time. Hell only you could come up with this obtuse a question.

4. Gray Wulff and White Wulff. The Grizzly Wulff, the Black Wulff, the Brown Wulff and the Blonde Wulff came out of those sessions with Dan Bailey from Lee Wulff on Flies by Lee Wulff, 1980 Could not find anything on a square fly and I think you put that in there just to rank in Goooogle.

By now I have wasted enough time to make 3 blog posts. Your friends are right Gracie, you are an a-hole but I still would go fishing with you again. Even down the hell of a mountain you dragged me to last time.

You should start a thread on the use of blobs and boobies. Personally I prefer boobies.

Heh. Three out of four ain’t bad. Two correct or hard to argue, and 1/2 right on the other two. Good enough for me, especially since I want someone else to see this vid before Christmas.

#1 – spot on (although I’m sure he’d like sheep too).

#2 – I have different info – the whole “dry fly” is the only proper trout fishing method was begun by Frederick M. Halford in 1889. English chalk streams were the location. That answer is such a fine dissertation that I’m calling it good.

#3 – Half right. The Bonneville Cutthroat is hard to come by, and last seen in decent numbers in Utah’s Bear Lake.

#4 – Half right. Lee Wulff did invent the above mentioned, but this one did require out-of-the-box thinking. I was looking for the Picasso (i.e. cubism…or, square).

This prize is gone. Marshall – check your email.

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