Its mid February and The Madison River is usually frozen solid and not even considered fishable until the “The Gorge” has subsided. Well this winter’s mild temps have kept the ice from being an issue and the winter bite has been good as a result. The Madison River rainbow’s are getting ready to spawn and are eating vigorously in preparation.
• Hebgen Dam 921 cfs
• Kirby Ranch 959 cfs
CONDITIONS: Visibility is very good at 3 to 4 feet.
NYMPHING: Nymphing two flies under an indicator is going to be your most productive method.
• Try a Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone in black, brown, olive or tan size # 6-10.
• Tungsten Golden Stone size # 6-12.
• George’s Rubber Leg Brown Stone size # 6-10.
Good second fly choices include:
• San Juan Worms in red, wine and pink size #10-14. Beadhead Prince’s, Psycho Princes, Psycho May’s, Micro May’s, Flashback Pheasant Tails, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails, Silverman’s Caddis, Delekta’s CDC Spanker in Pheasant tail, silver, green and red. Serendipities and Copper John’s in red size #14-18.
• Egg patterns; Pettis Unreal Egg, Otter Egg, Glo-Bugs and Yarnie type egg patterns in orange, pink tangerine, and green size #12-16.
STREAMERS: The Streamer bite has been a little soft as you might expect with the cooler temps but a warm cloudy day is all it takes. Dead drift under an indicator is catching fish when the classic strip and pause is not moving fish. Tight line with a spilt-shot and no indicator and minimal mending is also a tried and true Madison technique. Dead drift under an indicator is a good option when water temps are down. Check out our TOP 10 STREAMERS FOR SW MONTANA for a more thorough list.
• Whitlock’s Hare Sculpin, Sheila Sculpin, Stalcup’s Sculpin, McCunes Sculpin, Exasperator Sculpin, Trevor’s Sculpin, Big Gulp Sculpin, Mini-Loop Sculpin and Zonker’s in Natural and olive and brown size # 4-8.
•Adding a small beadhead dropper 15-18″ tied off the bend of your first fly will increase your odds.
DRY FLIES: The dry fly fishing has been very spotty with an occasional trout rising to midges.
Try a Parachute Adams, Griffith’s Gnat or Midge Cluster pattern size #16-20.
TIPS: Spring is rainbow trout spawning season so watch your step and stay clear of bright gravel! For more information on the Madison River and guided fishing trips on Montana’s Madison River please contact Fishtales Outfitting. Happy Angling!