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-   -   Trout trip: Detroit to Madison River in Montana (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/trout-trip-detroit-to-madison-river-in-montana-199545.html)

bickp 08-14-2019 07:53 PM

Trout trip: Detroit to Madison River in Montana
 
Hi everyone: Planning my third trip sometime mid September.

Tonight I did a RV Trip Wizard plan but was hoping for some routing and stopover suggestions from those who have driven the route. I chose long drives approaching 500 miles each day, since the routing was all highway. I would be willing to try alternative 'must see' routes and reduce fishing time, if you have some great ideas.

For stops, I just picked the highest rated stop points at or near the 500 mile mark. I used the '500 miles per day' criteria on trip #2 to South Padre from Detroit and back and found it to be workable.

If you know some must see spots along the way or alternate routes that I would not want to miss, those ideas would be great.

The initial Trip Wizard route:

Starting north of Detroit so I'm comfortable with 75N to 69W to 94W to 90.

Trip wizard has me on 90 through Chicago all the way through Bozeman to Belgrade Montana. At that point south on 85 until it becomes 191 at Four Corners. 191 south to 287, then west to my destination on the Madison river.

Initial plan has me stopping at 'Stand Rock' near the Dells WI, Dakota Campground near Mitchell SD, Mikesell Potts rec area near Buffalo WY. From there I'll land at my destination.

Would love to learn about must see routes and must stay places that I am not aware of along the way and why you have deemed them 'must see' or 'must stay'

Thank you in advance. It will be my first time in that part of the country. PS, carrying both 3wt and 5wt rods.

mojo 08-14-2019 08:17 PM

Are you in a hurry? 1600 miles in 4 days does not leave much time for must see/stay stops. A float trip on the Madison is heavenly, but there's a lot of beautiful teritory in between.
Personally, I would head up to the UP and cut across and leave the Southern route through Chicago for the return.

PKI 08-14-2019 09:40 PM

No must see stops to suggest. You are going fishing. What could ever justify reducing your time on the water with a rod in your hand.

Enjoy your trip and send us some pictures. Pat

pcskier 08-15-2019 03:36 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I would get off 90 at Bozeman and cut off the Belgrade part...that's unnecessary mileage. Just take 191 at Bozeman over to Four Corners, then south from there. I gather your destination is on the southern end of the valley, hence your route down 191, rather than down 287 on the Ennis side?

Just got back from a trip with Ennis, MT, as my final stop, before continuing down 287 toward West Yellowstone. A buddy has a house outside Ennis, with a 30 amp hookup :-) A mile above the Madison. If you get up that way, Ennis is a quaint town with a few well-stocked gear shops, and you'll love that river! Not to mention, the classic "Big Skies" at night will blow your mind. Just when you thought there wasn't much of a sunset...you'll be surprised. Enjoy!
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Thalweg 08-15-2019 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bickp (Post 2277079)

Initial plan has me stopping at 'Stand Rock' near the Dells WI, Dakota Campground near Mitchell SD, Mikesell Potts rec area near Buffalo WY. From there I'll land at my destination.

You had me wondering for a minute there. I've lived in Buffalo for 20 years, and never heard of Mikesell Potts Recreation Area. Be warned, there are no signs saying Mikesell Potts (at least on the highway). The signs say "Lake DeSmet".

rustyoldman 08-15-2019 04:27 PM

Last time I was out there was when the seasonal Stonefly hatch was just ending (spring) fished the Madison both in the park and below Hegdben reservoir (my spelling is probably off) the water below the reservoir was high. But is was producing on caddis....average 3 lbs....great time there.....tight lines.!

bickp 08-16-2019 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mojo (Post 2277086)
Are you in a hurry? 1600 miles in 4 days does not leave much time for must see/stay stops. A float trip on the Madison is heavenly, but there's a lot of beautiful teritory in between.
Personally, I would head up to the UP and cut across and leave the Southern route through Chicago for the return.

Thanks mojo. A great idea indeed. So great that I've already done THAT route. A few years back I had occasion to drive to Minneapolis, so I went north over the Mackinac Bridge, then west over the top of Lake Mich. I also live on Lake Mich about an hour SW of Traverse City and really appreciate the beauty of that lake. This year the water is too damn high and it's causing some issues, but beautiful, nonetheless. And I've done the Houghton/Hancock trip. The UP is special.

bickp 08-16-2019 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PKI (Post 2277110)
No must see stops to suggest. You are going fishing. What could ever justify reducing your time on the water with a rod in your hand.

Enjoy your trip and send us some pictures. Pat

Hi PKI. I certainly agree with your sentiment and that is likely what will happen. But this is a part of the country (Dakotas and west) that I've never visited and have seen lots of great personal travel recommendations on this forum. I just didn't want to shoot myself in the foot by not asking

bickp 08-16-2019 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pcskier (Post 2277388)
I would get off 90 at Bozeman and cut off the Belgrade part...that's unnecessary mileage. Just take 191 at Bozeman over to Four Corners, then south from there. I gather your destination is on the southern end of the valley, hence your route down 191, rather than down 287 on the Ennis side?

Just got back from a trip with Ennis, MT, as my final stop, before continuing down 287 toward West Yellowstone. A buddy has a house outside Ennis, with a 30 amp hookup :-) A mile above the Madison. If you get up that way, Ennis is a quaint town with a few well-stocked gear shops, and you'll love that river! Not to mention, the classic "Big Skies" at night will blow your mind. Just when you thought there wasn't much of a sunset...you'll be surprised. Enjoy!
Attachment 349508
Attachment 349509

Hi pcskier:

My destination is a place called Slide Inn which is on the Madison. If RV TripWizard is placing the end destination correctly it is on 287, just east of 87.

Your comment: I gather your destination is on the southern end of the valley, hence your route down 191, rather than down 287 on the Ennis side?

Frankly, I have no idea other than what I'm seeing on a map. Since getting your note I've looked at the map more closely and see the 287 Route through Ennis. It does appear that RV TripWizard has chosen my route because it is a tad bit shorter.

Interesting that the Madison does follow 287 north to Ennis. I will probably fish a day or two floating with a guide, then ask them to point me to some areas where I can spend a few days wading. Who knows, maybe they will send me to Ennis!

If you've got some compelling reason that I should skip the shorter route and come down through Ennis, let me know. And yes, if I go the original way, I'll get off at Bozeman and head over to Four Corners.

Thanks for your note, the pics and the suggestion.

Bick

bickp 08-16-2019 08:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thalweg (Post 2277399)
You had me wondering for a minute there. I've lived in Buffalo for 20 years, and never heard of Mikesell Potts Recreation Area. Be warned, there are no signs saying Mikesell Potts (at least on the highway). The signs say "Lake DeSmet".

Thanks for your reply, Thalweg. When I get there, I'll be 487 miles into that day and not wanting to get lost. I'm really glad I went to the effort to add my stops and moreso glad that you let me know what to look for. Who knows if the location is decent but it had more stars than anything else around the 500 mile mark. Thanks again, I'll keep my eyes open.

Bick

bickp 08-16-2019 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rustyoldman (Post 2277404)
Last time I was out there was when the seasonal Stonefly hatch was just ending (spring) fished the Madison both in the park and below Hegdben reservoir (my spelling is probably off) the water below the reservoir was high. But is was producing on caddis....average 3 lbs....great time there.....tight lines.!

Now I'm geeked. Average 3lbs! Wow, very cool. We've got a great Steelhead fishery in NW lower Michigan and I've had some luck with my 8wt, but only because a guide was holding my hand and guiding me through the process. We use fly rods, but it is pretty unconventional fly rodding.

I'm a popping bugger for panfish and bass with an old fiberglass rod. And that was as a kid, so I've been on sabbatical for about 50 years.

I've just bought a couple of new TF rods and reels as retirement gifts to me and will probably spend more time cleaning up birds nests than releasing fish. But it sounds like the Madison should be a great venue to get back into the game.

Tim A. 08-16-2019 09:01 PM

We spend a lot of time each year in the area you are heading to. Taking 191 south, you will be paralleling the Gallatin River well into Yellowstone Park. It's a nice drive but with more curves than 287, if that is important to you. 191 brings you to 287 about 10 miles north of West Yellowstone. Turning right on 287 will bring you past Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake to Slide Inn.

If you think 287 would be preferable, then take 84 from Four Corners west of Bozeman to Norris and turn left on 287 and you will be paralleling the Madison for much of the way to Slide Inn, passing through Ennis.

We have towed both routes over the years.

Your 3 weight probably won't see much use. My wife and I use mostly 4 and 5 weights for the Madison and your drift-boat guide will probably favor the 5 weight.

Tim

MIFC 08-17-2019 05:15 AM

Hi bickp,

This is a route we take every year as we have a place in Big Sky, MT and fish many of the rivers in the area (Gallatin, Madison near the Slide Inn, Henry's Fork, ID etc). All of those are worth a try and the fishing is good this time of year as the water gets lower. We were there in early July and the water was pretty high, though the fish didn't seem to mind!

In terms of towing, we usually hit Madison, WI the first night as we have family there. Then Mitchell, SD (Cabela's allows overnight parking for RVs), then we usually stretch that last day all the way to Big Sky. We drive by Lake DeSmet and it is definitely a beautiful oasis in the mostly dry country there in Wyoming. In short, your planned route is exactly what we usually do after ~20 years of going out there on a regular basis. Other possibilities are Badlands NP in South Dakota, the always popular Mt Rushmore, and Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

As someone has already stated though, we are usually trying to get out there as quickly as possible so we usually don't get too far off I-90. Agree with what Tim A said on 191 vs 287, both scenic drives. If it were me I would take 84 at the 4 Corners over to Norris and down, but the drive down 191 and around Hebgen Lake is beautiful, though more challenging road wise (nothing you can't handle, semis are constantly running up and down there).

Ironically enough, we also own a cottage on Portage Lake in Onekama, looks like you frequent that area as well.

Finally, enjoy the stories told by Kelly Galloup at the Slide Inn, he has an endless supply . . .

Good luck fishing!

bickp 08-17-2019 09:23 PM

TimA and MIFC - Thanks for great input
 
Saw the posts this morning but wanted some time to look at maps and do other research based on your comments.

Tim, I hadn't even noticed that I would be following the Gallatin. Was not looking that close. I'm starting to think that I might go home that way, and go out using 85 to 287. If it's a tad bit easier I will probably appreciate that on the final travel day and it will be nice to get familiar with the Madison on the way down. I just altered the route and visually, it looks like a good way to end the trip.

On the way back, I wonder if dragging a 30' FC through Yellowstone at that time of year would be more trouble than it's worth. I have never seen YS and would love to get a glimpse. But, there does not look to be anything close to an easy west to east route.

BTW, thanks for the heads up on the 5 wt. I'll probably leave the 3 wt home.

MIFC: Had fun tonight exploring based on your note. Did not know there was a Cabella's. That would be so much simpler than dealing with a park. Plans altered.

How cool is it to find someone who has traveled the exact route I'm planning. Looked closer at Big Sky only to find that it is right along the planned 191 route, other than the last few miles on 64. Someday would love to learn Grand Rapids, Onekama, Big Sky connection. Small world.
Investigated Badlands, Rushmore and Devil's tower. All look like places that I should see.

You can't beat watching sunsets over lake Michigan during the short summer months but I'm thinking that Septembers going forward need to be out that direction for the next few years.

Hope your place on Portage is not on Andy's point, or otherwise compromised by the high water. As I'm sure you know, so many people have been hurt.

Bick

Tim A. 08-17-2019 09:59 PM

191 past Big Sky into Yellowstone Park (or the reverse) will not usually get you into the bad traffic that can characterize driving through the Park. If you do decide to drive otherwise through the Park (such as from West Yellowstone to Mammoth and Gardiner), be prepared for a slow drive. Traffic can be considerable and various animal-related traffic jams are not unusual. That said, the Park is very special. Rather than trying to make time on the day starting back to home, I would recommend staying in one of the commercial RV parks in Paradise Valley (the valley of the Yellowstone River north of the Park) before hitting the interstate to drive home.

Tim

MIFC 08-18-2019 05:01 AM

Glad to be able to help a bit. Tim is spot on again about going through the Park from West Yellowstone out through Gardiner. You can go East, but it will take some time and while they are scenic, going over Beartooth Pass or Highway 14 through the Bighorns would be a beautiful challenge with a long rig.

We do enjoy Portage Lake, though we donít get up there as much as we should. We are on the South side of the lake. Some people have seawall damage, but nothing like the folks on the North side are experiencing.

One other comment on rods. For the Madison, a 5 wt is the minimum Iíd say. If the wind is blowing and you want to throw something heavier like a streamer, a 6 wt would be useful.

Happy Trails!


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