- Hebgen Dam 963 cfs
- Kirby Ranch 1,140 cfs
- Varney Bridge 1,210 cfs
VISIBILITY : Very clear at 3-4 feet
The Upper Madison River is closed from Quake Lake downstream to McAtee Fishing Access Site (FAS) and again from Ennis (FAS) downstream to Ennis Lake until the general season opener Saturday May 17th.
The Madison River is open to fishing between the lakes from below Hebgen to Quake Lake. The Madison is also open to fishing between McAtee Bridge (FAS) downstream to Ennis (FAS). The river is now completely ice free other than what’s left on the banks, however not all Fishing Access Sites are open. Ennis (FAS) will remain closed until further notice.
Varney Bridge (FAS) is now clear of ice and the launching of a drift boat not an issue. Eight Mile Ford (FAS) and Burnt Tree (FAS) are now completely accessible and
ice free. Please be advised there is a large downed cottonwood tree in the main channel below the “Mouse Hole” as you head towards Eight Mile (FAS) that is passable but not advised because the speed of the river in this newer channel. I advise taking either small side channel instead.
Madison River flows have remained fairly stable as below freezing evening temperature’s have kept the visibilty and water conditions very good and fishing quite well. Although you can expect to see a 10-20% bump in the flows soon, as room is made in Hebgen for a larger than expected run-off, visibilty should stay at least good through the rest of April.
TACTICS & PATTERNS :
- Two nymph’s presented dead drift under an indicator, mending as necessary to keep the drift natural will likely be your best bet.
- Stone Fly patterns are still my “go to” first fly. Rubber legged patterns like a Pat’s Stone in black or brown or black and brown #6-10 are tough to beat.
DRY FLIES :
- Midges are still the primary hatch for the dry game with some Baetis starting to show up in the afternoons.
- Midge larva patterns in black, red and purple in #14-16 are catching fish.
- Baetis nymphs in olive and brown like the Psycho May, Pheasant Tails, Lightening Bugs are also good choices when Baetis are present. Prince Nymphs, San Juan Worms in red , burgundy and pink #6-14.
- The Streamer bite has improved. Try a slow retrieve or dead drift in the morning. Using a faster strip through the middle of the big run’s, later in the day once the water has warmed is producing some nice brown’s.
- Visibility remains good so I recommend neutral colored streamers in olive brown and natural.
- Try a Sculpzilla, Exasperator Sculpin, Zonker, Flash Fry, Wooley Sculpin or Boogie Man #2-6. Check out my Top 10 Streamer’s for SW Montana for a more complete list.
TIPS : This year’s ice gorging has changed the Madison River’s channels and holes substantially , stop the boat and scout it out if your not sure. The rainbow trout in the Madison are spawning so stay off of patches of bright gravel. Remember to be prepared for winter fishing conditions like rapid weather changes with appropriate winter fishing clothing. If you have stream cleats or studded boots, where them!