Madison River

Dam: 1,260 cfs

Kirby: 1,320 cfs

Varney: 1,610 cfs

It has certainly been a pleasant April around here, as Spring-like temperatures (or just playing Spring) continue to grace the valleys of Southwest Montana.  We’ve been spending some time on the Big Hole over the last week, and had some great streamer action throughout the Canyon and down low.  We did see quite a few Skwallas on the banks, and although we were able to get a few fish on them, it was still a little chilly for the fish to really get on the bite.

A lot of water has opened up on Hebgen over the last week…mostly from the narrows up to the inlet, but there is definitely more edges opening up around the  Yellowstone Holiday area as well.  Look for things to really get going over there over the next week or so.  Quake on the other hand is probably a week from being completely ice free.  We still wouldn’t recommend putting a boat in right now, as there is still a thin sheet of ice 50 yards out from the boat ramp, but walking the shoreline with a leech or juv. trout imitation is a good way to get yourself into a pig this time of year.

The Madison between the lakes continues to fish very well with nymphs, and despite 38 degree water temps, we’ve been picking up some really nice fish on streamers.  It’s still a little early to expect numbers of fish on the big stuff, but the quality of the browns we’ve been catching is enough to keep us motivated.  We’ve been throwing a bunch of different patterns at them, but sculpin imitations seem to be what they’re looking for right now (ie. sex dungeons, boogie men, woolheads, etc)…just move them a little slower than usual and give them a chance to eat it.  The crowds up here have been tolerable during the week days, but expect to share the river with more than a few fellow anglers during the weekends.  As always, try to avoid wading behind spawning redds, which have steadily increased in numbers of the last few weeks.

The section between Varney Bridge and Ennis has also produced some good streamer days recently, and with water temp peaking at roughly 50 degrees, we’re staring to see  quite a few midges and BWOs coming off in the afternoon.  I wouldn’t say that we’ve seen any suicide-bites down there yet, but that could change any day now.