Madison River

Dam: 953 cfs

Kirby: 1,010 cfs

Varney: 1,110 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.

While the majority of SW Montana continues to flip-flop between Spring and full on Winter conditions, the Upper Madison has been fishing well between the lakes and between Varney and 8 Mile.  The Ennis boat ramp is still a ways out from being even close to operational, and there is still enough ice around Burnt Tree to make it very difficult to get out, but 8 Mile seems to be fine for the time being.  You may have to be a little creative putting in at Varney too, but we’ve had more than a few good reports come in over the last week of great fishing on both nymphs and streamers down there.  Our resident Rainbows and their larger, anadromous brethren from Ennis and Quake Lakes are starting to get into pre-spawn mode, and have been eating the streamer a little more these days.  If you do plan on throwing junk, I would keep your retrieves on the slower side until water temperatures start to peak in the mid-late afternoon.  If nymphs are more your forte, keep it simple with staple patterns such as Pat’s Rubber Legs, Zebra Midges, Baetis Nymphs, and Egg Patterns and you should do well out there..  The Madison between the lakes will fish very similar, but you will probably have better streamer fishing down low as water temps are still hovering between 37-38 degrees below the dam compared to 34-42 degrees at the Varney gauge.  We are also starting to see a few more spawning redds pop up with each passing week, so be sure to watch your step when fishing in either of these areas.