Madison River Fishing Report for 4/18/2016
Dam: 910 cfs
Varney: 1,210 cfs
Madison River fishing report. With many of the surrounding rivers on the rise, the Madison has been one of the most consistent options around southwest Montana over the last several weeks. The cold snap we had last Thursday slowed some of the melt down, but with sixty to seventy degree temperatures in the forecast for the rest of the week it shouldn’t take long before we start to see the creeks on the rise once again. Beaver and Cabin have been putting enough mud into Quake that it finally made it through the outlet on Saturday afternoon, and we are now sitting at roughly 18″-24″ of visibility in the wade section. The West Fork has also been putting a dirty stripe that has ranged from 10-20 feet wide above Lyon’s Bridge, but the rest of the creeks have been running clear down to Ennis and it should be closer to 2.5 feet of visibility around Varney. The fishing has remained excellent most days, but the bite has been a little tougher when the north wind has been a factor. We are starting to see good numbers of BWOs hatching in the afternoons, and midges are still bringing fish up to the surface when the wind hasn’t been ripping them off the water. Nymphs are still your best bet out there, and with the recent coloration in the water you’ll want to mix up your patterns a little bit. Pat’s rubber legs, san juans, purple lightning bugs, yellow sally nymphs, caddis larva, $3 dips, and BWO nymphs are all good choices right now, and we have started to find more fish in pockets and faster seams with the rise in water temperatures. That said, you will still find the vast majority of fish holding within 20 feet of the bank in the wade section so don’t work too hard out there. Streamer fishing has also picked up over the last several days and we’ve been doing best on smaller sculpin imitations like Trevor sculpins and Pecs along with the usual standbys such as sex dungeons, peanut envys, barely legals, and boogie men. Pearl zonkers trailing various beadhead nymphs like lightning bugs and PT’s have also been effective under an indicator in the float section. We are still having the most luck keeping our retrieves on the slower side from early morning until 1:00 – 2:00 in the afternoon, but fish have been much more willing to chase streamers on a faster strip after that. As always, please watch out of spawning redds this time of year especially when wading around gravel bars and side channels. There are plenty of spawning fish on beds right now so please don’t harass them and let them do their thing. If you do encounter freshly cleared gravel, always walk in front of the redds rather than behind them as most of the eggs usually end up 5-15 feet downstream from the actual beds. Be sure to keep checking back for another Madison river fishing report from the Slide Inn.