Madison River Fishing Report for May 22nd, 2024

Dam: 1,150 cfs

Kirby: 1,350 cfs

Varney: 1,840 cfs

We’ve had some cooler weather roll into southwest Montana over the last 4-5 days, and bringing with it some much needed precipitation. The forecast is calling for more rain and snow through Memorial Day weekend (big surprise there), and it looks like temperatures will start to get back into the 60’s-70’s by Tuesday. Other than last weekend, the river has been fishing well, and the most consistent fishing continues to be in the upper stretches between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge. Visibility above the West Fork is roughly 2.5′ and green and had been getting worse the further downstream you got from Palisades until yesterday. The colder nights have seized up the West Fork and Indian Creek for the time being and they are putting in a fraction of the mud they were last week. That will change once it starts to warm up again, but for now we have fairly stable flows and visibility throughout the upper river.

As previously mentioned, the wade section between Quake and Lyons has been fishing well with nymphs and streamers and will continue to be your best option throughout Spring runoff. Fish are still eating larger bugs like Rubber Legs and Worms but smaller nymphs have been far more effective. Zebra Midges, Dips, Olive Caddis Larva, Darker BWO Nymphs/Emergers, and Dark Perdigons have been getting the most attention as of late and the best window of productivity is still in that 9am-3pm time frame. Once all the midges and BWO’s have finished hatching, we have been doing better on the big stuff like stoneflies and worms again.

The float stretch has been a little more hit-or-miss but if you’re out there on the right day you will get into some really high quality fish. If you are going on a little longer float, you’ll want to have something a little bigger up front like a Warbird/Rubber Leg or a Worm pattern to get their attention and then some smaller bugs off of that. The two other options are to do a shorter float and pull over to work the slower/deeper water with smaller flies like those mentioned up above or pick a big chunk of water and throw streamers all day. The latter is usually our choice but to each their own.

Streamer fishing has been getting better with the high dirty water. Mornings are still a little on the slow side, but fish have been chasing pretty consistently after noon and into the evening. Dungeons, Boogie Men, Peanut Envys, and the like in black, olive, yellow, and natural color variations have all been good choices and fish have been willing to chase down them down once the water temperatures begin to swing upwards — The only exception to this seems to be when the wind is out of the north.

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.

Join Waitlist Please leave your email address below and will inform you when the product is back in stock.