The warm weather recently has certainly made for some nice winter fishing conditions. I guided the Madison yesterday for the first time ever in the Month of February! The run from Varney to Burnt Tree was more reminiscent of mid-April than mid-February. It was a blue-bird day and I would give the fishing a grade of C+. Not a lot of fish, but some real quality Rainbows like the one you see here.
Nymphing was the preferred tactic. And naturally, we found most of our fish in the deep slow holes. The "A+" water as it quickly became known... Getting out of the boat and working some of the holes on foot proved to be the most effective strategy. We didn't change flies too much, and our MVP's were the #10 black Girlde Bug (of course), #18 BH Baetis Nymph, and a #18 peach micro-egg.
I think the real key to success this time of year is a good read of the water and the proper rigging. Long leaders (9-12 ft.) and plenty of lead to keep you flies down along the bottom for as long as possible when in heart of the hole.
Just be prepared to give chase when you hook a 20" Bow on 4X and a #18 or 20 hook. These fish do not want to meet you!