Madison River Fishing Report 11/25/2015

Dam: 870 cfs

Kirby: 914 cfs

Madison River Fishing Report for 11/25/2015.  Old Man Winter decided it was time to make an appearance around SW Montana and the mercury has started to fall in a big way.  That said, fishing has remained productive on the Upper Madison, with nymphs doing the most damage as of late.  Most of our BWO’s are done for the season, but we have started to see midges popping in decent numbers anywhere from late morning until approximately 2:00 p.m..  It’s still a little early for the blanket hatches that we typically see from late December through February, but it should only get better with each passing week.  When you do encounter a pod of fish working on midges, a #18 Goober Midge or a #18-20 Griffith’s Gnat should be all you need to pick them off.  During the emergence, most of the fish feeding on the surface are within 20 feet of the bank, but you can also find them in slow moving tail-outs as well.  It is also important to point out that as we make the transition from Fall to Winter fishing, the water you target is generally more important than fly choice.  That’s not to say that fly choice isn’t important, but it is usually fairly straightforward…#18 Zebra Midges, #18-20 Hare Ears, #18 $3 Dips, Egg Patterns, San Juan Worms, and Pat’s Rubber Legs in #8-#12 will get you into fish 99% of the time.  However, if you aren’t fishing the slower buckets, deep slots, and soft bends then you aren’t fishing where the trout are holding this time of year.

If you are like us, and simply refuse to put away your streamer rod for the Winter, then rest assured there are still some big Browns to be had out there.  There are still a handful of fish spawning in the Upper River, but the vast majority of them have entered into the post-spawn phase and are looking to put on a little extra weight before going into Winter mode.  We’ve had a few people say that they have been doing well on smaller food-base flies like mini-loop sculpins and zonkers, but we are still seeing big fish willing to eat larger articulated patterns as well.  Sex Dungeons, Silk Kitties, Peanut Envys, and Barely Legals have all had their time in the spotlight over the last week, but we have been slowing down our retrieves considerably as water temperatures continue to Fall.  We tend to favor slow and erratic presentations this time of year, and the vertical jig is always a favorite method of ours.  That’s not to say that you can’t get them on faster retrieves, especially when water temperatures peak late in the afternoon, but we tend to do best by keeping it on the slower side once temps start to drop below 40 degrees.  Lastly, and I know we say this a lot, please watch your step when wade fishing this time of year and watch out for spawning redds.