Madison River Fishing Report for April 3rd, 2019

Dam: 1,120 cfs

Kirby: 1,150 cfs

Varney: 1,260 cfs

The Upper Madison has been fishing well again this week, and access has gotten a little bit better as the low lying snow has begun to recede.  There’s still quite a bit on the banks between Quake and Pine Butte, but we should should start to see a little more grass showing in those sections with the mix of rain and snow in the forecast through next week.  Otherwise our snowpack in the Madison Range remains above average with 112% of moisture content, and we are expecting more snow in the high country in the weeks to come.

All of the boat ramps are good to go between Lyon’s and 8 Mile, but it is still going to be awhile before you can safely get in at Raynold’s.  Pine Butte is awfully close, and it should be ready to go by this weekend or early next week at the latest.  Burnt Tree and Ennis are still a ways out, and it is very possible that we won’t be able to get out in town until the first week in May.  Nymphs are still the way to go in the float sections of the Madison and small Pat’s Rubber Legs, San Juan Worms, Baetis Nymphs, and attractors will get it done most days.  Obviously the afternoons have been a little more productive when water temps start to get into the low to mid 40’s, so there hasn’t been a huge rush to get out on the water super early.  There have also been some adult skwallas starting to hatch from the middle of the river down to Ennis, and we have got a few fish to eat the dry over the last week.  We should start to see more adults starting to hatch from the West Fork up to Raynolds in the next ten days or so in addition to some BWO activity.

The Wade stretch seems to be a little more consistent than below Lyon’s for the time being.  As previously mentioned, #10-12 rubber legs have been on the menu this week as most of the skwalla nymphs have begun their migration to the banks.  The usual fare of #18-20 Zebra Midges and other midge larva have been good throughout the late morning and early afternoon hours as well, and we’ve been getting more reports of guys picking up fish on worms and egg patterns.  Small attractors like princes and copper john’s have also been a good option.  The dry fly activity has been a lot more inconsistent in terms of midges, which is pretty typical of late March and April here.  However, you should definitely bring a few adults and cluster imitations for those cloudy afternoons especially if you’re fishing between Raynold’s and Three Dollar Bridge.

Streamer fishing is still hit or miss and will likely remain that way until we start to see water temperatures in the upper 40’s.  Small sculpin imitations like Mini Dungeons and Mini Loop Sculpin are usually your best bet here when faced with cold water, and we tend to find that Spring is more of a food based bite rather than reactionary on the Madison until we start to get some color in the water.  We have also started to see a lot more spawning activity throughout the Upper Madison, so please be sure to watch out for spawning redds and remember to always walk in front of them rather than behind.