Madison River Fishing Report for May 24th, 2017
Dam: 1,700 cfs
Kirby: 2,300 cfs
Varney: 3,100 cfs
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison has cleaned up nicely since last Saturday and we are now sitting at roughly 3.5′ of visibility and green above the West Fork. We should have relatively clear water for the next 3-5 days, but it looks like Cabin and Beaver Creeks are pumping mud into Quake again so my guess is that the plug should hit river by Saturday or Sunday.
Madison River Fishing Report for May 13th, 2017
Dam: 1,700 cfs
Kirby: 2,700 cfs
Varney: 4,330 cfs
Madison River fishing report. Well, a lot has changed from our last report in late April and just about all the rivers in the region are in the midst of a very solid runoff that is likely to stay put for quite some time. That said, the Madison between Quake and Lyon’s is currently running at about 10″-12″ of visibility and green. You can still find about the same clarity from Lyon’s down to Windy on the right side of the river, but the mud is pretty well mixed by the time you get to Palisades and you’ll be looking at about 6″ of clarity from Pal down to Ennis. Beaver and Cabin creeks have been pumping a lot of chocolate milk into Quake, but there has been enough clear water coming out of the dam to keep it on the greener side of things for the time being.
Madison River Fishing Report for April 26th, 2017
Dam: 1,290 cfs
Kirby: 1,360 cfs
Varney: 1,530 cfs
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison is still fishing extremely well throughout its entirety, and we just saw the first good emergence of blue winged olives yesterday in the wade section between Quake Lake and Lyon’s. That said, the dry fly fishing has remained good to excellent from late morning through the afternoon with midges, BWOs, and skwallas. Most of the midges have been popping anywhere from 10:30-3:00 depending on the day, and a #20 Goober midge or Griffith’s gnat is still about all you need out there. Now that the Blue Wings are back on their usual schedule you can expect to see them hatching from noon into the early afternoon hours. If you do run into a pod of fish sipping BWOs, some of our favorite patterns are Nyman’s BWO Cripple and Kelly’s Tilt Wing Dun in size 18, and you can also hang a #18 BWO Barr’s Emerger off the back for any fish eating just below the surface film.
Madison River Fishing Report for March 24th, 2017
Dam: 1,290 cfs
Kirby: 1,350 cfs
Varney: 1,550 cfs
Madison River fishing report. As most of you know, we had two weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures in the region in addition to several days of rain, which muddied up many of the creeks and rivers at lower elevations. The good news is that the forecast is calling for cooler nights and highs in the forties through next week, which should slow the melt down considerably from what we saw earlier in the month. Flows out of the dam were raised another 100 cfs yesterday morning, putting us at roughly 1,350 cfs above the West Fork and 1,550 cfs at Varney, which is pretty much perfect for wade and float anglers alike.
Madison River Fishing Report for March 13th, 2017
Dam: 1,150 cfs
Kirby: 1,180 cfs
Varney: 1,370 cfs
Madison River fishing report. Not much has changed on the Upper Madison over the last month, and fish are still eating nymphs and dry flies very well throughout the Upper River. As you can see from the river gauges, the flow out of Hebgen was increased by 300 cfs last week, and we are currently running at just under 1,200 cfs at the Kirby gauge for the time being. While much of the low level snow has started to melt from the Slide area down to Ennis, the vast majority of our snow pack is still sitting pretty above Hebgen and they are taking the reservoir down in order to make room for an above average runoff coming out of Yellowstone National Park. The forecast this week is calling for highs in the mid forties to low fifties, so it’s definitely starting to feel a little more like Spring around here, but our guess is that we still haven’t seen the last of Old Man Winter quite yet.
Madison River Fishing Report for February 17th, 2017
Dam: 861 cfs
Kirby: 892 cfs
Madison River fishing report. Not much has changed on the Upper Madison this month except for the presence of warmer air temperatures that have descended upon the valley over the last several weeks. It’s strange to see rain in the forecast this early, but at least we are still getting some snow in the mountains and we still have a good amount of Winter left to go. The Madison Range is currently sitting at 135% of total snow pack with a moisture content of 100%, so it looks like we are still on track for an average looking runoff.
Madison River Fishing Report for January 10th, 2017
Dam: 890 cfs
Kirby: 994 cfs
Madison River fishing report. It’s been a cold and windy Winter here in SW Montana, and many of the surrounding freestones are frozen or a slushy mess for the time being, including the lower portion of the river downstream from 8 Mile Ford. The good news is that our current snowpack in the Madison Range, as well as throughout the western part of the state, is at or above average despite the lower moisture content. That said, we still have a long Winter ahead of us and hopefully mother nature will keep pummeling the mountains with plenty of snowfall in order to keep our rivers nice and cool throughout the summer months.
Madison River Fishing Report for October 26th, 2016
Dam: 722 cfs
Kirby: 882 cfs
Varney: 1,030 cfs
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison has been fishing extremely well over the last two weeks, despite being one of the windier Octobers we’ve experienced in quite some time. The nice thing is that the upper wade stretch and the Madison between the lakes are generally a lot more protected from the wind tunnel that can occur from the West Fork down to Ennis Lake, so there are always areas to seek refuge if need be. The nymph fishing continues to be outstanding throughout the upper river, but fish have been very particular about what they are looking for. As a general rule of thumb, if you make thirty good drifts through a run that you know holds fish without an eat, change up your flies and keep changing until you figure it out. One of the most common mistakes we see from people is spending five minutes in a run and moving on to the next one without taking the time to play with depth and fly choice. Some of our best patterns over the last week have been Wine colored San Juan Worms, small Pat’s Rubber Legs, #18 Zebra Midges in black/silver and black/copper, #20 Green Machines in pheasant tail and gray, #20 Galloup’s BWO nymphs, #18-20 BWO Barr’s Emergers, #18 Three Dollar Dips, #18-20 BWO Triple-B Flashbacks, and #18 lightning bugs. We have also seen decent numbers of Blue Wings hatching up high, and Nyman’s BWO Cripple or Galloup’s BWO Tilt-Wing Dun in size 20 have both been great choices for picking off rising fish.
Madison River Fishing Report for October 7th, 2016
Dam: 714 cfs
Kirby: 839 cfs
Varney: 891 cfs
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison has been fishing very well this October, and it should only continue to get better through the end of the month. We have seen good hatches of #20 BWOs, pseudocloeons, and midges this week with the cooler temperatures and overcast skies, and the dry fly fishing in the wade section has been good to excellent depending on the day. The nymph fishing has also been extremely productive up high and we have been doing best on a variety of midge and baetis patterns as well as red and wine colored san juan worms. It’s been all about the midge drift for most of the morning, followed by a pretty steady blue wing invasion anywhere from noon to 2:00 p.m.. Some of our better patterns over the last couple of weeks have been Kelly’s BWO nymph, Nyman’s Thin Mint Baetis, Green Machines in PT and Gray, Micro Mayflies, #18 $3 Dips in black and brown, BWO Barr’s Emergers in #18-20, BWO Triple-B Flashbacks, Gray RS-2’s, San Juan worms, and #18 Zebra Midges in black/silver and black/copper. Streamer fishing has also picked up in a big way, and most our our resident browns have entered into full pre-spawn mode. We are still doing well on smaller sculpin and baitfish patterns, but they have really started to chase larger, articulated patterns such as Peanut Envys, Double Screamers, Sex Dungeons, Silk Kitties, and Boogie Men to name a few. Black, olive, and natural seem to be the colors of choice on the overcast days but we are still finding plenty of fish to chase down brighter stuff when the sun is on the water. Obviously morning and evenings are still the most consistent, but some afternoons have been incredible as well. As far as retrieves are concerned, it has been all about the slow jig early in the morning when water temperatures are at their lowest, but you will start to see them chase a faster retrieve once it starts to warm up in the late morning to early afternoon hours. We have also seen good pushes on fish coming in from Hebgen, Quake, and Ennis Lakes over the last week and their have been some serious fish looking for a big meal. If you want to avoid the crowds in these sections (Yellowstone National Park, Between the Lakes, Valley Garden), do yourself a favor and get in there early as it has started to get pretty busy around 10:00 or so. We are also starting to see more and more spawning redds popping up in these areas, so please be careful and watch out for freshly cleared gravel when wading out there.
The float section of the Madison has also been fishing extremely well, and there have been far fewer boats out than what we saw just a few weeks ago. Nymphing and streamer fishing is still the way to go, but there have been good numbers of BWO’s hatching anywhere from noon to 2:00 p.m. so be sure to have your dry rod rigged and ready in case you start to see heads popping up. Dead drifting zonkers and other small sculpin imitations with a small beadhead dropper has been extremely effective for fishing on the run this week, but we are still doing best fishing the small stuff mentioned above when anchored up and fishing individual runs. If the zonker program doesn’t seem to be working, try running a small Pat’s Rubber Leg or San Juan Worm as your lead fly with a small midge or baetis pattern behind it. As always, be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.
Madison River Fishing Report for September 19th, 2016
Dam: 757 cfs
Kirby: 809 cfs
Varney: 830 cfs
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison has been fishing well this September, and the wade section between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge has really turned on over the last 2-3 weeks. It has been primarily a nymph game out there, but we are still getting a few good fish to come up for small hoppers and ants during the warm afternoons as well as BWOs on the colder overcast days. That said, if you are looking for numbers than you’ll want to throw an indicator out there, and some of our most productive nymphs this month have been san juan worms, #18 Zebra Midges, Kelly’s BWO Nymph in #18-20, BWO Barr’s Emergers in #18-20, BWO Triple-B Flashbacks in #18, brown and black $3 Dips in #18, Gray and PT Green Machines in #20, and small lightning bugs. We’ve been doing best on the worm earier in the morning, and the fish seem to transition over to the midge drift around 9:00-10:00 a.m.. As for the Blue Wings, they seem to be getting started a little earlier on the brighter days whereas you aren’t likely to see them until 1:00-2:00 p.m. on the cold and cloudy afternoons that are scheduled to descend upon the Madison Valley through the weekend. Once you start to see the first sign of Baetis beginning to hatch, switch to Kelly’s BWO nymph and trail an emerger such as a BWO Barr’s Emerger or Triple-B Flashback in size 18-20 and you should get into fish right away. If that doesn’t seem to work out, try moving your indicator up a couple of feet in case the fish are suspended and you are getting your bugs too far below them. If you start to see some noses poking up, tie on a Nyman’s BWO cripple or Sparkle Dun in size 20 and that should do the trick. Streamer fishing has also been good up high, and we are seeing decent numbers of lake fish coming up between the lakes as well as the Madison in Yellowstone National Park. Some of our better patterns over the last few weeks have been Trevor Sculpins, Peanut Envys, Silk Kitties, CH Barely Legals, and various small sculpin imitations in natural and olive. With water temps in the mid fifties to low sixties, we’ve been finding good browns that are more than happy to chase down a streamer on a fast retrieve.