Madison River Fishing Report for March 24th, 2017
Dam: 1,290 cfs
Kirby: 1,350 cfs
Varney: 1,550 cfs
Madison River fishing report. As most of you know, we had two weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures in the region in addition to several days of rain, which muddied up many of the creeks and rivers at lower elevations. The good news is that the forecast is calling for cooler nights and highs in the forties through next week, which should slow the melt down considerably from what we saw earlier in the month. Flows out of the dam were raised another 100 cfs yesterday morning, putting us at roughly 1,350 cfs above the West Fork and 1,550 cfs at Varney, which is pretty much perfect for wade and float anglers alike.
The fishing on the Upper Madison has been nothing short of spectacular this week, and we are starting to see a lot more people on the water taking advantage of the great spring conditions. The afternoon midge hatches are still going on, but the surface activity is still a lot more inconsistent than we saw earlier in the winter. Once in a while you will see fish up in the slicks, but I wouldn’t come over here expecting to see the sort of dry fly activity that we had in December through February. The nymph fishing on the other hand has been amazing, and fish have been keyed in on small pat’s rubber legs along the bank as well as in the vast array of boulder slicks and deeper holes on the river. You’ll also want to have some smaller baetis nymphs, $3 dips, and zebra midges for your droppers, but it has been all about the stonefly over the last ten days. Some days it doesn’t seem to matter what color combination you throw, but there have been several occasions where they have wanted one or two colors in particular. Make sure to have a good selection of black, brown, brown/black, olive/brown, and tan/brown and keep switching them up until you crack the code…you’ll know when you find the one they’re looking for.
Streamer fishing has also been heating up, but it has been a little slower first thing in the morning. Once the water starts to warm up in the afternoon, we have been getting good fish to chase a variety of patterns such as dungeons, envys, barely legals, mini loops, silk kitties, and mini dungeons. We have also been getting fish to eat on a much fast retrieve than usual over the last ten days, especially in the wade section. Most of the larger browns have been hanging tight to the banks in two to three feet of water, and the majority of the rainbows seem to be coming off faster seams, buckets, and boulder slicks, but that can always change depending on the day.
Finally, this is the time of year that we all need to be aware of our surroundings when wade fishing the Madison, or any river for that matter. We haven’t seen a ton of ton of spawning activity between Quake and Lyon’s quite yet, but there have been a fair amount of spawning redds between the lakes as well as on the lower river below Varney Bridge. If you plan on fishing either of these areas, please watch out for any cleared gravel and remember that most of the eggs settle out between 3 and 15 feet below the actual spawning bed. These areas tend to be in channels and tail outs, and if you do happen to see fish on beds please leave them alone and let them do their thing. Be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from The Slide Inn.