We are currently experiencing spectacular winter weather in the Madison Valley. Right now it is relatively warm and calm. It looks like its snowing up higher. We had a storm move through in the beginning of the week that dumped a bunch of snow up at Big Sky. Needless to say, not too many people fishing the river.
The Madison River flows are nice for wade fishing right now - holding steady just below 1,000 CFS. Water temperatures are bottoming out overnight around 33-35 degrees, with the daytime high reaching only into the upper 30s. You can expect better fishing on the warmest days. Looking forward, the early part of the week is setting up to be quite nice. Then we see some more snow by the end of next week!
I fished solo on Wednesday and Thursday up past Lyons Bridge. The fishing was quite slow for me, actually. The fish are definitely most active in the warmest part of the day. On Wednesday, I had one of those days where I kept getting very subtle takes. I fished one slow run where I seemed to get bumped on every cast. Then, I finally tail hooked a whitefish. The mighty whiteys had been trying to eat my double stone fly rig. I figured that I might as well catch something so I tied on a small Prince nymph behind my Mega Prince. If you ever want to entice the whitefish in the Madison River, try a #16 Prince Nymph. Just crimp the barb so you can effectively practice your long distance releases with those slimy creatures. Within a few minutes I had hooked into several whitefish.
Thursday was a bit better as I was looking for some redemption. The whitefish were full or something because I didn’t catch a single one in the same hole from yesterday. Nymphing a Pat’s Rubber Legs and a micro egg got me into a couple fish early on. I ended up putting a black Zebra Midge behind the stone fly and caught a couple more. On the way back to the truck I dead drifted a black Trevor scuplin by some of the deeper undercuts. This yielded some more aggressive takes from the brown trout. Anyways, I thought that was going to be my fishing report for the week, but Justin just asked if I wanted to go fishing agian. We'll see how that goes...
We just fished around the Ennis access. As we had expected, all the ice moving through has displaced a lot of the fish in the lower sections of the upper Madison River. Or at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. That being said, you can still find them in the side channels that are less affected by the ice flow. The slower runs held some nice fish but the fishing in this area of the river is not spectacular by any stretch of the means. If you do fish near Ennis, plan to do a lot of walking and searching. If you find one fish, you can bet there are more. Our advice though is to go up river. You'll be sure to find them there.
- #16 Standard Prince nymph
- #18 Black Zebra midge
- #8-12 Pat's Rubber Legs
- Black Trevor sculpin
- Sheila sculpin
- White micro egg
Just a reminder, the 10th annual Fly Fishing Film Tour is stopping in Bozeman Tuesday, January 26th. We will be there so don't be a stranger. Tickets are available online. Click the flier for a link.