Madison River Fishing Report for March 13th, 2017

Dam: 1,150 cfs

Kirby: 1,180 cfs

Varney: 1,370 cfs

Madison River fishing report.  Not much has changed on the Upper Madison over the last month, and fish are still eating nymphs and dry flies very well throughout the Upper River.  As you can see from the river gauges, the flow out of Hebgen was increased  by 300 cfs last week, and we are currently running at just under 1,200 cfs at the Kirby gauge for the time being.  While much of the low level snow has started to melt from the Slide area down to Ennis, the vast majority of our snow pack is still sitting pretty above Hebgen and they are taking the reservoir down in order to make room for an above average runoff coming out of Yellowstone National Park.  The forecast this week is calling for highs in the mid forties to low fifties, so it’s definitely starting to feel a little more like Spring around here, but our guess is that we still haven’t seen the last of Old Man Winter quite yet.

If you are looking to stack up some numbers, then you’ll want to stick to the small nymph program and we are still doing best on zebra midgeshares ears, serendipities and occasionally on small pat’s rubber legs. However, we did have some good reports over the weekend from guys dead drifting smaller buggers right on the bottom, so don’t be afraid to throw some bigger stuff at them if you can’t seem to get fish on the midge drift.  As far as the dry fly fishing is concerned, we are still getting some great midge hatches during the late morning to early afternoon hours but they don’t seem to be coming off quite as consistently as what we saw back in January and February.  That said, you still want to be prepared with a box of your favorite midge patterns just in case, and we are still doing best on Kelly’s Goober Midge and Griffith’s Gnats in size 18-20.  Streamer fishing has also started to pick up around here, especially with the extra 300 cfs in the ditch, and we’ve been getting a lot of good fish to chase Olive/White Barely Legals, Olive Peanut Envys, Mini Dungeons, and Trevor Sculpins.  Slow to medium retrieves are still getting the most attention, but we should be able to start ripping flies with a little more speed as water temperatures start to climb in the coming weeks.

If you are looking to float the Madison, almost all the boat ramps are accessible between Pine Butte and Burnt Tree but you’ll want to skip Palisades until the massive drift over the road starts to melt.  Our guess is at least another week or two for Pal, and Ennis is still out of the question until late April or early May.  Valley Garden will be open for business on March 16th. You can also get a boat in at Story Ditch right now, but you’ll want to bring around a 20 foot tow strap to take out there, as there is still a pretty solid sheet of ice extending 10-15 ft. off the ramp.  Be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.