Madison River Fishing Report for May 26th, 2018

Dam: 2,470 cfs

Kirby: 3,530 cfs

Varney: 5,470 cfs

The Upper Madison hit 3,500 cfs at the Kirby gauge this morning, and flows out of Hebgen are projected to stay at roughly 2,500 cfs through Tuesday for the scheduled flush from NorthWestern Energy.  While we were told that this would last for three days there is still a good chance that flows will hold at this level until the water coming into Hebgen begins to drop.  As of yesterday there was almost double the amount of water coming into the reservoir than what is coming out and with some heavy rain in the forecast this week it won’t be long until Hebgen is at full pool.  Currently the lake is over 90% full with a lot of water from Yellowstone National Park still to come, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next two weeks.  Cabin and Beaver Creeks have been spewing chocolate milk for over a week now and the mud finally made it through Quake two nights ago, dropping visibility to around 8-10 inches and brown.

While most of the river is blown out, the upper 12 miles of the wade section between Quake and Lyon’s is still fishing well with nymphs and streamers and the nice thing about big water is that 90% of the fish are going to be within 15 feet of the bank.  As long as you can find some soft water along the edges you can rest assured that it will hold fish…finding out what they want is all up to you.  We are doing better on larger Pat’s Rubber Legs and San Juan Worms since the visibility decreased, and some of our best droppers have been caddis larva, purple lightning bugs, princes, PT’s, and darker colored baetis nymphs and emergers.  We aren’t finding a ton of fish eating very high in the water column, so be sure to have enough split shot rigged and ready and you should get into some nice fish out there.  Streamers have been turning some heads out there too and we’ve been doing best on natural, yellow, white, and olive/tan color combinations when the sun is on the water.  When the clouds move in, or you find yourself fishing early or late, black or olive will reign supreme.  Also worth noting is that larger articulated patterns such as Silk Kitties, Sex Dungeons, and Boogie Men have been a lot more effective in the big water than thin profile flies.

On a final note, if you feel like floating the Upper Madison right now you will want to stay away from Lyon’s to Palisades.  Both the Sun West and Wolf Creek Bridges are extremely dangerous to float under, and this is not the time you want to flip a boat on the Madison.  Everything is good to go below Pal, but we would suggest sticking to the upper river above Lyon’s if you are looking for the best fishing at the moment.  Be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.