Madison River Fishing Report 12/15/15

Dam: 861 cfs

Kirby: 914 cfs

After weeks of denial around the shop, it is safe to say that Winter fishing has officially set in on the Upper Madison.  Streamer fishing has slowed down considerably from a couple of weeks ago, but we are still finding good fish to eat a big fly between the lakes as well as around Raynolds and Three Dollar.  Smaller sculpin imitations such as Mike’s Pecs, Mini-Loops, and standard Wooly Sculpins are always good choices this time of year, but we are still seeing a couple of post-spawn pigs every evening that are willing to eat sex dungeons, kitties, and peanut envys.    That being said, be prepared to put in your time if you are looking for a big tug, as fish have become pretty lethargic with water temperatures hovering in the thirty degree range.  Be sure to keep your retrieves on the slower side, and you should bump into something looking for a bigger meal.

However, the real story on the Madison these days has been the midge fishing, and you can now expect a good emergence sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m….whether or not the wind decides to rip them off the surface film is a different story.  We’ve been doing well fishing dries such as Kelly’s Goober Midge, Griffith’s Gnats, and Gray ARF Midges in sizes 18-20.  Even though the adults you’ll encounter are somewhere between a #22-24, a well presented fly in #18-20 is usually as small as you need to go.

The nymph bite is still your best option for numbers, and as we mentioned in our last fishing report, a good selection of zebra midges, small hares ears, $3 Dips, san juan worms, and Pat’s rubber legs will get you into fish 99% of the time.  Just keep targeting the deeper holes and slower inside bends with enough weight to get you on the bottom and you should be bent in no time.