Madison River Fishing Report for May 22nd, 2019

Dam: 1,260 cfs

Kirby: 1,640 cfs

Varney: 2,080 cfs

It’s been cold and wet on the Upper Madison over the last week, and the cooler temperatures have slowed much of the melt from the surrounding creeks as a result.  As the inflow into Hebgen has decreased, so has the outflow and we are currently sitting around 1,650 cfs above the West Fork and just over 2,000 cfs around town.  These are great flows for this time of year, as we are usually too high and dirty to do any floating below Lyon’s  by the third week in May.  Visibility in the upper wade stretch is around 3 feet and green, and most of the mud being dumped in by the West Fork isn’t completely mixed until you get to Palisades.  Clarity is just fine around Ennis as well, particularly for throwing nymphs and streamers.

While we have seen plenty of midges and BWOs hatching up high, the wind situation has been far from ideal for throwing dries as of late.  If you find yourself in a protected area you’ll definitely have some shots, but we have been waiting for the 10-30 mph gusts to stop ripping the bugs off the water for awhile now.  When the north winds do lay down, it’s going to be good though.  Like really good.  There are also still a good number of Skwallas crawling around, so throwing the big dry is also a good option if you can’t stand to look at an indicator for hours on end.  That said, the nymph fishing has been so good that you won’t mind it too much.  San Juan Worms, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Baetis nymphs and emergers, green caddis larva, zebra midges, RS-2’s, and purple lightning bugs are still getting it done in a big way and all the fish are holding in the usual slow dumps and slicks of the river.

Streamer fishing has been a little tougher with the sharp drop in water temperatures but the visibility is just about perfect.  We’ve been doing a lot better in the afternoons and the evenings up high, but the water on the lower sections of the river is prime for throwing the big stuff.  Olive peanut envys have been our go-to up here as of late, but you can definitely bulk up on the profile the lower down your get.  Sex Dungeons, Kitties, and Boogie Men are always a good bet this time of year as well.

As always, please watch your step if you are wade fishing this time of year as the rainbows are in full spawning mode and will continue to be for the next 4-5 weeks.  If you do see cleared gravel synonymous with a spawning bed please remember to walk in front of the redds rather than behind them as most of the eggs typically wind up 3-10 feet downstream.