Madison River Fishing Report for April 23rd, 2019

Dam: 1,890 cfs

Kirby: 2,000 cfs

Varney: 2,290 cfs

More good reports have been rolling in this week, as the Upper Madison continues to hold its own well into April and the fishing has been excellent.  Wind has been the biggest factor as far as floating is concerned, but you can always find some shelter in the upper stretches if 25-30 mph gusts are in the forecast.  Otherwise we are looking at perfect spring temperatures this week, with highs in the mid fifties to mid sixties and relatively warm nighttime lows.

Flows are definitely above average for this time of year, as Northwestern Energy is drawing down Hebgen to make room for a pretty sizable runoff that will be coming out of Yellowstone National Park in about a month.  As of yesterday the reservoir is 76.6% full, and I would guess they will start to lower the water once it starts to get below 70%.  Water clarity is still gin clear for the time being, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of the creeks starting to put in some off color water in the afternoon with the warmer weather we’ve been having.  Wolf and Moose Creek have have been doing it once in a while, but not enough to make a huge difference once it mixes a half mile downstream.  As we mentioned in the last report, all the boat ramps from Raynold’s to Burnt Tree are good to go, but Ennis is still at least a couple weeks out.

Nymphs are still your best bet out there, and we’ve been picking up a lot more on BWO nymphs lately in addition to the usual suspects of Pat’s Rubber Legs, Worms, midges, and small attractors.  On the cloudy afternoons you will run into some blue wings hatching in addition to midges so make sure to bring your dry fly box with you or you might be kicking yourself all the way back to the car.  We have also been picking up more fish on small chubbies and other skwalla patterns up here over the last week.  Royal has been the color for us in a size 12, but the Rogue River Skwalla is always a good bet as well.

Streamer fishing has also picked up a lot since our last report, and the water levels are absolutely prime for throwing big stuff right now.  Afternoons have been best once water temperatures start to hit the 45 degree mark and you can actually get them to chase pretty well.  We’ve been doing best on Peanut Envys, Dungeons, Kitties, Trevor’s Sculpin, Barely Legals, and Mini Loop Sculpins over the past week and are still doing better in the morning on a slow twitch.  Once it starts to warm up a little you can easily move it a foot a strip or more to get them to chase down a big meal.

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.