Madison River

Dam: 1,030 cfs

Kirby: 1,560 cfs

Varney: 2,300 cfs

We awoke yesterday morning to frost on the windshield, and an empty parking lot at 7:00 a.m.– a true rarity for opening day, but with salmon flies and goldens on the Henry’s Fork it was bound to take a little pressure off the Madison.  The river above the West Fork is still holding at a little over a foot of visibility, but fishing is good and the crowds are much thinner than in years past.  Sounds like the ticket yesterday was a rubberleg and a san juan under an indicator, which is usually all you need on opening day.  As fish start to equate such a set up with being hauled out of their aquatic sanctuaries, try a dark baetis nymph or caddis larva trailed behind a prince, lighting bug, or small golden stone and you should do well.  Streamer fisherman said it was a little tougher in the morning, but once the water temps began to climb around noon the black dungeon was fly numero uno followed by a black/olive double screamer.  While most of the anglers seem to be concentrated between Raynolds and Pine Butte, there was a decent amount of boats putting in below Lyons (probably 10-15).  If you’re thinking about doing the float stretch, we would recommend throwing streamers on the drift, and anchoring up on the good buckets along the banks and running nymphs.  While you can certainly pick up some fish nymphing out of the boat, you’ll do far better isolating water and putting multiple drifts through it…in other words, give the fish a chance to see the fly.  The river between the lakes continues to hold large numbers of rainbows, but the crowds are still far from over.  If you do decide to head up there, please watch out for spawning redds.