Madison River Fishing Report 2-15-16

Madison River Fishing Report 2-15-16

Watching an early morning snow squall come through the The Ruby Valley, I’m second guessing our decision to float with guides Graham and Art. As I gather my gear, I watch popcorn snow and sleet blowing sideways through the yard. “If it comes in fast it’s likely to leave fast.” I said to myself over and over, knowing it could be a cold, windy day. Thankfully I was right. The squall passed as we slipped the boat into a gin clear and thankfully slush free Madison River. We rigged our rods as the sun poked through the clouds warming our faces and lifting our spirits. Our plan was no different than any other outing…check out the river conditions, see what the trout are eating, have a few laughs and since it was winter, and a few beers. Hopefully find some nice ones on streamers. And as it turns out, no one was disappointed.

A large kype jawed Madison river brown trout.


  • Hebgen-851 cfs
  • Kirby Ranch-1,100 cfs
  • Varney- no reading estimated at 1,150 cfs

VISIBILITY: Very clear at 3 + feet

NYMPHING: The nymphing game is good and producing plenty of spring rainbow’s as they start staging to spawn so please watch your step if your wade fishing.

  • Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone in mocha/latte, brown, black and olive sizes #6-10.
  • Whitlock’s Rubber Leg Red Fox Squirrel Tail Nymph in sizes #6-8.
  • Beadhead Prince sizes #10-16.
  • San Juan Worm’s in red, pink or orange size #8-14.
  • Egg patterns such as Glo-Bugs, Krystal Meth or yarn eggs in orange or pink sizes #14-16.
  • Midge patterns such as a Zebra Midge or Glass Bead Midge in red or black sizes #14-18.


A healthy Madison River rainbow trout.

STREAMERS: The streamer bite has started heating up with the warmer evening temperature’s. We’re seeing some of the nicer post spawn brown’s out looking for bigger meal’s. A slow to medium paced strip and pause is working well but so is the classic swing. Bigger patterns have been the most productive.

  • Art’s Kiwi Sparkler in olive or gold and black and white tied with the new streamer heads by Drop Jaw Flies size articulated #2.
  • Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow in sculpin, olive and gold size #2.
  • Rusty Trombone’s in olive or brown size #2.
  • Zonker in olive, natural size #2-6.
  • Mini-Loop Sculpin in olive and natural size #2.
  • Trevor’s Sculpin in olive natural and black size #2.
  • Sculpzilla in natural olive and white size #2.
  • Big Gulp in olive, black or tan size #2-4.

A meat eating Madison River brown trout!

Art shows off a sweet streamer eating Madison River brown!

DRY FLIES: You’ll have to be patient but there are fish rising to midges in softer water along inside edges, tail-out’s and the slicks behind big rock’s.

  • Griffith’s Gnat size #16-18.
  • Midge emerger’s such as Brook’s Sprout in black size #16-20.
  • Dandelion in black size #18-20.
  • VC Midge in black or purple size #18-20.

For more information on The Madison River, and guided fly fishing trips on The Madison River and other southwest Montana rivers please visit



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FishTales Outfitting LLC is a licensed Outfitter with the State of Montana's Board of Outfitters
and Permittee for the Madison, Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers.

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