Madison River

Dam: 963 cfs

Kirby: 1,060 cfs

Varney: 1,180 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 in great shape these days and the fishing has been consistently productive for the better part of two weeks now.  We are starting to see a lot more fish moving up into the Madison between the lakes, and a lot more spawning redds as well, so be sure to watch your step if you plan on heading up there. The streamer bite has been decent, but it’s primarily a nymph game right now.  If you’re as stubborn as we are this time of year, and throwing anything but junk is not an option,  you’ll want to keep your retrieves on the slower side until water temps start to climb into the 40 degree range.  The indicator fishing has been pretty incredible though, and we’ve had good reports from people throwing everything from lightning bugs to Pat’s Rubber Legs–Midge patterns such as zebra midges and #18 $3 dips are always staples up there too.

The Madison between McAtee and Ennis has been fishing extremely well with nymphs and streamers as well.  We did a quick Mac to Varney on Saturday and caught a lot of quality fish on the usual favorites– Double Screamers, Olive Peanut Envys, Big Hole Bugs, and Barely Legals to name a few, and the fish were actually chasing pretty vigorously for 42 degree water temps.  However, if you are looking to rack up some serious numbers down there then the nymph game is where it’s at right now.  Brown and Tan/Brown Pat’s Rubber legs, PTs, eggs, midges, and san juans are all good choices under the indicator, and you’ll do best by anchoring up and working specific holding areas rather than fishing on the run.  There are always a few skwallas dancing around this time of year too…not like what you’ll see on rivers like the Bitterroot, but just enough so that fish are aware of their presence.  That being said,  a well placed rogue or half down stone can usually entice more than a few fish up to the surface is you are willing to work for it.  There have also been a good number of midges hatching from late morning and into the early afternoon, so be sure to look for fish working in the slower insides and tailouts when the wind isn’t ripping them off the water.

All the access points are open with the exception of Ennis, so you’ll want to take out at Valley Garden if you plan on fishing past Burnt Tree.  Long story short, get out there while the gettin’ still good because when you hit it right this can be some of the best fishing of the year.