Madison River

Dam:  1,790 cfs

Kirby: 1,930 cfs

Varney: 2,280 cfs

     THE UPPER MADISON IS CLOSED TO FISHING FROM QUAKE LAKE TO MCATEE BRIDGE AS WELL AS FROM ENNIS BRIDGE TO ENNIS LAKE UNTIL MAY 17TH.  THE SECTIONS THAT ARE CURRENTLY OPEN TO FISHING ARE THE MADISON BETWEEN HEBGEN DAM AND QUAKE LAKE AND BETWEEN MCATEE BRIDGE AND ENNIS BRIDGE.

The Upper Madison is still fishing very well both between the lakes and below McAtee Bridge.  I wouldn’t call it as red hot as what we experienced during the month of April, but it is still one of the better options in the state right now.  As some of you may noticed, the water levels around here have been rising steadily over the course of the last couple weeks, and we are currently holding at just under 1,800 cfs out of Hegben Dam.  There are now a TON of spawning redds between the lakes so please continue to watch your step when fishing up there, especially when you find yourself between Cabin Creek and the Dam.  While it has been pretty busy up there, there are more than enough fish to go around. Eggs patterns have been working well for most people we’ve talked to, but we’ve also had good reports from people throwing lightning bugs, rubber legs, baetis nymphs, and midges.  The streamer bite has been decent, but prepare to work your butt off if numbers are what you seek.  Keep moving your feet, changing your bugs, and make sure your retrieves are a little on the slower side than usual and you could be rewarded in spades.  My guess is that this will continue to be the case with streamers up there until we start to see water temps climb into the mid forties.  Also worth mentioning is that Cabin Creek is muddy and has started to put in a stripe down the river…it’s still not quite as big as we are likely to see in a couple weeks, but enough to dirty up about a quarter of the river most of the way down to Quake.

The Madison between McAtee and Ennis Bridge is looking good these days, and there has been a definite change in clarity since last week.  While most of the major feeder streams  such as the West Fork and Indian Creek continue to run clear, there has been enough dirty water coming in from some of the smaller tribs to give the river an olive-brown tinge.  As of yesterday there was about 3 feet of visibility below Varney Bridge and we may have lost another 6″ once we got to 8 Mile Ford.  The nymphing game is still the way to go down there and the old standby of a rubber leg and a worm has been paying off in a big way.  Other honorable mentions down there are baetis nymphs, midges, prince nymphs and the like.  There have also been a good numbers of midges, bwo’s, and march browns coming off during the early afternoon hours so make sure to bring your dry box along or you could be kicking yourself all the way to the takeout.  Streamer fishing has been good to great depending on the day, but it has certainly been more of an afternoon game as far as we can tell.  Start the morning off with a slow twitch and gradually speed your retrieve up once the clock strikes noon.  Olive seems to be the most consistent color down there but black has also been good when the clouds have rolled in.