Madison River Fishing Report for April 15th, 2024

Dam: 834 cfs

Kirby: 942 cfs

Varney: 1,240 cfs

The Upper Madison has been fishing very well lately, and both water and air temperatures have made for some very pleasant fishing this Spring. With very little snow still on the banks, walk access has been very easy, and all the boat ramps from Raynold’s Bridge to Valley Garden are accessible with the exception of Ennis…It be long before you will be able to take out there either. With beautiful weather and great fishing you could certainly do worse than spend a day or two on the Upper Madison right now.

As far as snowpack is concerned, the Madison range is sitting at 72% of moisture content below Hebgen Dam and 84% from the Dam up to Yellowstone National Park. The reservoir is 85% full right now as well, so we should have no problem having Hebgen at full pool in time for late June/early July. That said, all of us are still hoping for a little bit more snow in the mountains before things really start heating up, and April, May, and early June can still provide plenty of moisture for the upcoming season.

Nymphing is still the name of the game throughout the upper river. Small Pat’s Rubber Legs, Zebra Midges, BWO Nymphs, and Small Perdigons have all been super effective over the last month and will likely continue to be until the mother’s day caddis start moving around. We are still finding fish in the slow deep buckets, but don’t neglect the heavier seams and pockets on those days where water temperatures start to move into the high 40’s and low 50’s. Just make sure you have enough split shot to get your bugs on the bottom and you should do well out there.

There has been sporadic dry fly activity on small midges and BWO’s as well, especially in the early afternoon hours. If you do see fish podded up along the edges, a well presented Goober Midge or your favorite BWO pattern in #18-#20 will do the trick. There have also been enough skwallas around to get a few fish looking for the big dry. Smaller olive or royal Chubbies or Rogue Stones in size 12 are some of our favorite patterns for the Upper Madison and a little rubber leg dropper is always good for insurance.

Streamer Fishing has been getting better over the last two weeks, particularly during the warmer afternoons in the upper stretches. Mini Dungeons, Envys, Double Screamers, and other thin-profile patterns have been doing the most damage, and some of the bigger browns are still on the shallow edges around the banks. Mornings have still been a little slow in terms of getting them to chase, so it’s not a bad idea to rack up some numbers in the am on nymphs and then looking for a big one once the water temps start to climb into the mid 40’s.

As always, be sure to watch your step out there (or where you drop your anchor) if you plan on heading over, as there are quite a few spawning redds throughout the entire river. If you do encounter cleared gravel, be sure to walk in front of the redd rather than behind as most of the eggs wind up 3-10 ft behind the actual spawning bed.

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