Dam: 663 cfs
Kirby: 741 cfs
Varney: 906 cfs
JUST A REMINDER THAT THE UPPER MADISON BETWEEN QUAKE LAKE AND MCATEE BRIDGE AS WELL AS FROM ENNIS BRIDGE TO ENNIS LAKE IS CLOSED TO ALL FISHING UNTIL MAY 16TH.
It’s been a nice change of pace to wake up to fresh snow on the ground the last couple mornings, but it’s looking like we’ll have some warmer weather moving back in tomorrow through the weekend. We’ve been getting a lot of calls recently asking about the status of the road down to the inlet of Quake as well as the lake itself. Quake is still iced over from approximately 400 yards east of the boat ramp to the outlet, and it will be at least 2-3 weeks before there is chance to get a boat in. The road from the Campfire to the lake is still blocked off by a pretty good chunk of snow, so unless you have a snowmobile at your disposal it will be a 20 min. walk down there for a while. The walk is pretty tolerable though, as a combination of the recent melt as well as foot traffic will only have you walking through a foot or two rather than the 3-4 feet that is more typical this time of year. Fishing between the lakes has been both busy and productive, so be sure to get there a little early or you might find it hard to get a good spot between the dam and cabin creek. If you get there and the people hatch is more than you can bare, there has been significantly less traffic below Cabin Creek, and a 5-10 minute walk will often free up a lot of options. More spawning redds are starting to pop up there as well, so please watch you step around any bright gravel.
The Madison below McAtee Bridge has also been fishing well, with the majority of the boat traffic being found between Varney and the town ramp in Ennis. Nymphing is still the name of the game down there, and patterns such as #8-10 Pat’s Rubber Legs in black, brown, and olive, red and pink san juan worms, baetis nymphs, and attractors have all been producing good numbers of fish. The streamer bite seems to be picking up as well, and we tend to do better on food-based imitations such as Sex Dungeons, Barely Legals, and other small sculpin or leech patterns rather than reactionary flies this time of year. You’ll do best by keeping it to a slow jig or twitch during the morning, but start putting a little more speed in your retrieve once water temperatures start to rise during the afternoon. For the dry fly guys out there, you can still find fish sipping midges in the tailouts and slow insides, especially when the clouds move in. We still have yet to see any Blue Wings hatching, but with water temperatures in the mid to upper 40’s they can’t be too far off.