Madison River Fishing Report for May 28th, 2022
Dam: 361 cfs
Kirby: 1,130 cfs
Varney: 1,870 cfs
Up she goes. After several days of warm temperatures and overnight precipitation, the Upper Madison is on the rise and it doesn’t look like the faucet is turning off in the foreseeable future. The forecast is calling for heavy rain through Monday morning and a fair amount of snow up in the mountains, so it looks like we are going to have a fairly sizable runoff after all. Water clarity is still over three feet with a slight green tinge above the West Fork, but the creeks are starting to pump out a lot of muddy water as you can see from the picture above. Right now the West Fork of the Madison is putting in a sizable stripe, but clarity is still very good on the right side of the river all the way down to Palisades — Once you get between Pal and Ruby it definitely starts to get a lot dirtier though. Also worth mentioning is that with Beaver and Cabin creeks putting in over 700 cfs into Quake Lake we expect the mud to make it to the river by Monday or Tuesday at the latest which could make fishing the float section below Lyon’s Bridge a lot more difficult depending on the visibility. As you might have noticed, flows out of Hebgen are extremely low as NorthWestern Energy continues to hold them back in order to fill Hebgen Reservoir by the end of June. Currently we are just under 80% of full pool, but are going to get a lot of water coming into the lake over the next few weeks. All that being said, you might consider giving those fish between the dam and Cabin Creek a break as there is very little water they can hold in.
The wade section between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge has been fishing well over the last week, with nymphs and streamers being the most productive options. We have seen some good hatches of BWO’s and caddis, so don’t be afraid to throw a dry fly if the opportunity presents itself. Olive Caddis Larva, Green Machines, Kelly’s BWO Nymph, Zebra Midges, small Perdigons, and Pat’s Rubber Legs have all been effective patterns recently, and the best window of opportunity seems to be in the 9:00 – 3:00 window. As water temperatures continue to rise we are finding more fish in the faster seams and pockets of the river, so be sure to cover a wide variety of water if you head out there.
The float section between Lyon’s Bridge and Ennis had been fishing well up until the last few days. It will take some time for the fish to get accustomed to rising water levels but fishing should pick up in the upper half of the river once flows begin to stabilize. Rubber legs, worms, yellow sally nymphs, and perdigons have been best in there, and the double stonefly rig is always a tried and true method of attracting some attention in the bigger water. Streamer fishing has also been good to excellent recently and some of our better patterns have been Sex Dungeons, Mini Dungeons, Peanut Envys, Boogie Men, and Double Screamers. Afternoons and evenings have been best, but we have been pleasantly surprised by how well fish have been chasing first thing in the morning too. Keep varying up your retrieves and color combinations until you crack the code and you should do well out there.
As always, please watch your step and pay attention to where you drop your boat anchor as there are lots of spawning redds out there. If you do encounter cleared gravel it is always better to walk upstream rather than downstream as the vast majority of the eggs end up 3′-15′ behind the actual redd.