Madison River Fishing Report for May 24th, 2020
Dam: 1,090 cfs
Kirby: 1,380 cfs
Varney: 1,820 cfs
The Upper Madison is still fishing very well this May, and we are just getting into our Spring runoff around here. Last week we saw a steady amount of rain which brought the river up and got the creeks flowing again. However, as is commonly the case during Memorial Day weekday, colder weather and snow in the mountains seized up the flows from the West Fork of the Madison and Cabin, Beaver, and Indian Creeks. With the forecast calling for highs in the 70’s and 80’s in Cameron this coming week, expect to see the river on the rise once again, and with Hebgen Lake at 89% percent full, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see the flows out of the dam increased in another 7-10 days as well.
At the moment we currently have 1.5′ – 2′ of visibility with a nice green tinge to it running all the way down to Ennis. We should start to see the visibility get a little worse the further downstream from the West Fork you get by Wednesday or Thursday with the warmer temperatures in the forecast. While you may encounter some rising fish from time to time, the subsurface game is still the way to go. Nymphs such as Pat’s Rubber Legs, San Juan Worms, darker colored BWO nymphs, midge larva, and olive caddis larva have been best for us and we should start to see more caddis beginning to hatch as water temperatures start to climb into the mid to upper 50’s.
Streamer fishing has also started to get better, particularly in the Upper wade section between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge. Black and Olive articulated patterns have been the most productive in the clouds recently, but don’t neglect yellow or brown and yellow colored flies when the sun hits the water. Most of the action has been on slower retrieves with the recent cold snap, and we should start to see them chase a little faster as water temperatures begin to rise this week. While you can certainly get some eats in the morning, the most productive timeframe is still from mid-afternoon and into the evening and we have found some of our better browns within 1-2 feet of the bank.
As always, we are right in the middle of the spawn for our resident rainbows so please watch your step out there. If you do encounter cleared gravel, please remember to walk in front of the spawning redd rather than behind it as most of the eggs end up settling 3′-10′ behind the actual redd.