Madison River Fishing Report for December 13th, 2017
Dam: 1,020 cfs
Kirby: 1,060 cfs
Madison River fishing report. Fishing on the Upper Madison has been good this December, and temperatures have been relatively mild for this time of year. That said, there hasn’t been a huge need to get on the water super early, as nighttime temps continue to hover between the single digits and the high teens. It’s been a little warmer down towards Ennis, but the river has started to get a little slushy down there so you may want to get an update around town if you are thinking of heading anywhere below Varney Bridge.
We are also starting to see more midge activity in the wade section. I think we are still a couple weeks out from really getting going, but there have been a few days here and there when you can find fish rising to adults along the edges. Historically speaking, the peak of our winter dry fly fishing on the Upper Madison tends to go from the last week in December through the first week in March so it won’t be long until you can expect consistent midge hatches over the next few months. In the meantime, you can find plenty of fish willing to eat nymphs below the surface. As is customary with winter fishing, the water you target is just as important as your fly selection, if not more so. If you are fishing the fast seams and shallow riffles then you aren’t targeting the high percentage areas, and you should constantly be on the lookout for deep holes, slow inside and outside bends, and slow moving tailouts. It is quite common to see fish moving into the shallows to feed during the midge emergence, but the rest of your time on the water should be focused on the slower and deeper sections of the river. Small Pat’s Rubber Legs, #18-20 Zebra Midges, Redneck Midges, #20 Hare’s Ears, #18 Black $3 Dips, and WD-40’s are always staples for us this time of year– Just make sure you are getting them down on the bottom and you should do well out there.
With water temperatures peaking at 37-38 degrees at Kirby, the streamer bite has started to slow down quite a bit. We are still getting some fish to eat larger articulated patterns, but the eats have been super light and they don’t seem to be chasing much of anything that isn’t moving at a slow crawl or jig. Sex Dungeon, Silk Kitties, and Peanut Envys have been our best patterns over the last two weeks, but it’s about time to down-size to smaller sculpin patterns and zonkers for the rest of the year.
Be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.