Madison River Fishing Report for April 16th, 2019

Dam: 1,610 cfs

Kirby: 1,610 cfs

Varney: 1,830 cfs

The river continues to fish well despite cold water temps this month, and the best window of opportunity seems to be in that 10:00 – 5:00 range.  We should start to see water temperatures warm up quite a bit this week, as the forecast is calling for sunshine and highs in the fifties through Friday.  All the boat ramps from Raynold’s to Burnt Tree are open for business, but it’s still going to be a while before Ennis and Valley garden are ready to go.  You still can’t back a trailer down to the water at Raynold’s but you can get it close enough to slide your boat down on the snow. Also worth noting is that the road down to Three Dollar Bridge was plowed last week, which will save you the 10 minute walk down from the highway parking lot.

No matter where you are on the river, targeting likely holding water on foot remains your best option for the time being as most of the fish are hunkered down and not moving very much.  Small Pat’s Rubber Legs, #18 Baetis Nymphs, Brown and Black Three Dollar Dips, and Jujubee Midges have been the most productive nymph patterns for us this week but we have also had some good mornings on San Juan Worms and Squirmy Worms as well.  We still haven’t seen many BWO’s up high, but they are starting to make their presence known a little more down by town.  Either way, we should start to see the first big hatches of these bugs happening any day now. There are a few Skwallas crawling around, but we should start to see a lot more adults starting to hatch with the warmer weather heading our way this week– We have still been getting a few good fish to eat a small Chubby up here, so you know they have seen a few.  As long as the wind isn’t too crazy, you can still find pods of fishing rising to adult midges on the cloudy afternoons, especially between Raynold’s and Pine Butte.  There has been some larger adults hatching these days, so #18’s and #20’s have been as small as you need to go.

The float stretch is actually in great shape right now, with over 1,800 cfs from Palisades down to Ennis and around 1,600 cfs below Lyon’s Bridge.  Small droppers have had their moments but it’s mostly a stonefly fest when fishing on the run.  If you do find some good holding water, make sure to pull over and work it with some small baetis nymphs and midge pupa though.  These are also perfect flows for throwing streamers.  It hasn’t been red hot quite yet, but that’s to be expected when you are dealing with water temps peaking in the 42 degree range.  Smaller sculpin and baitfish patterns like Mini Dungeons, Mini T&A’s, CH Barely Legals, and Trevor Sculpins have been the most productive as of late but we should start to see fish chase a little more and check out some larger patterns once we start to see water temps climb into the high 40’s.

As per usual this time of year, there are more and more spawning beds showing up every week so please be careful when wading around channels and tailouts, as the vast majority of beds are typically in these areas.  If you do encounter cleared gravel, please make sure to walk in front of it rather than behind as most of the eggs end up 3-10 feet behind the actual spawning redd.