Madison River

Dam: 1,160 cfs

Kirby: 1,890 cfs

Varney: 2,930 cfs

After a few gully washers earlier in the week, the creeks are on the rise and the chocolate milk has begun to flow. Both Cabin and Beaver Creeks are putting a good deal of mud into Quake, and the lake itself is already olive-brown in color and completely iced off. Hebgen is almost completely iced off as well, except for a small portion from Kirkwood Marina to the Dam, but there is at least 10-20 feet of open water along the edges there to work with. If you’re a still-water guy, we would recommend heading up to Hebgen and throwing a mix of leeches and crayfish patterns along the banks rather than heading over to Quake.

The West Fork of the Madison is roaring these days as well, and the report downstream in Ennis is around a foot of visibility. This is not to say that you couldn’t get it done down there, but you want to make sure to stop and work the slower moving h0les and buckets with nymphs (San Juans, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Eggs, etc) and enough weight to get down on the bottom. Some friends of ours fished from Varney to Ennis yesterday, and they said they actually did pretty good throwing black sex dungeons tight against the banks, so there is a ray of hope for the streamer junkie down there right now…but I wouldn’t go down there and expect to kill it either. My guess is that visibility below McAtee should continue to get worse over the next week or so, until its full-on Chocolate Ovaltine.

The Madison between the lakes continues to fish well with nymphs, and more fish seem to be coming in each week. San Juans, midges, rainbow warriors, red brassies/copper johns, and egg patterns are all good bets this time of year, but be sure to watch out for spawning redds when you’re walking between areas Streamers have produced more quality fish than quantity, but that’s to be expected with water temps hovering between 38 and 40 degrees. Sex Dungeons and other sculpin imitations seem to be doing the most damage, but you want to keep your retrieves on the slower side until it warms up a little.