Madison River Fishing Report for April 21st, 2022

Dam: 537 cfs

Kirby: 627 cfs

Varney: 692 cfs

The Upper Madison has been fishing well, but we are still in the midst of an extremely low water situation so be sure to use caution if you choose to float…there are rocks being hit out there that haven’t seen fiberglass in a very, very long time.  You can expect to see flows out of Hebgen Dam between 480-600 cfs for at least another month, as NorthWestern Energy tries to bring the reservoir up to full pool by the end of June.  Once daytime air temperatures start getting back in the 60 degree range we should start to see the tributaries kick in some much needed water to the areas below Quake lake, but the river as a whole will continue to be extremely shallow until that happens.   The good news is that April has been much colder than usual and a steady supply of rain and snow has started to build up relatively lack-luster snowpacks throughout the entire state.  We are currently sitting at a moisture content of 82% in the Madison Range, but you can count on that number to increase a good bit after the winter storm comes through tomorrow through Saturday morning — The forecast is calling for 1-2 feet in the mountains, and we welcome every inch of that.

The wade stretch between Quake Lake and Lyon’s bridge has been fishing well with nymphs and dry flies over the last several weeks.  The best window is still in that 10:00 am – 5:00 pm time frame and we have been doing best on midge patterns like black dips and zebra midges for most of the morning and early afternoon hours.  Small Pats Rubber Legs, #16-#18 Perdigons, #18 BWO nymphs, and San Juan worms have also been consistent producers throughout the day, and there have been dry fly opportunities with midges from noon until 3:00 p.m. every day as long as the wind stays calm.  Look for BWO’s to start hatching in the upper sections by next week as well.  If you choose to float the wade stretch in a hard boat, you will have to get out more than a few times to get through the rocks a raft or pontoon is the way to go unless you are very experienced on the oars.

The float stretch has also been quite productive, but again, you have to be on your game out there in terms of boulder dodging.  Rubber Leg stones, perdigons, small caddis larva, and midge patterns have all been good under the indicator and we’ve had some decent streamer fishing on the warmer afternoons with small sculpin imitations like mini dungeons and mini loops. You’ll be able to get down most stretches, but you’ll want to avoid the Flats between Storey Ditch and Varney Bridge as there are sections that are only an inch or two deep all the way across the river.  Our best guess is that we should have more water down there in a week or two, when the bigger tributaries like the West Fork and Indian Creek start putting in more water.

As always, please watch your step and please watch where you drop your boat anchor as there are lots of spawning redds out there.  If you do encounter cleared gravel it is always better to walk upstream rather than downstream as the vast majority of the eggs end up 3′-15′ behind the actual redd.