Fishing Report - January, 2019

OK, writing regular fishing reports is not our strong suit.  Fishing a lot, and guiding anglers into a good time on the Madison is another story! 
To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of fishing reports. They are inherently backward looking and if there is one thing I know to be true about fly fishing for trout, it is that what happened yesterday has almost no bearing on what will happen today. In this game, the best thing you can do is get out on the water and fish. Put yourself out there and be open the possibilities of what can happen.
Most all anglers want to stack the odds in their favor as much as possible before heading out, and we can’t blame anyone for that. “When is the best time to fish the Madison?” is a question we hear all the time.  It’s not an easy question to answer, and my standard quick reply has become “whenever you can!” The truth is that this game can be very counter-intuitive. Many days when everything seems perfect, the fishing is weak. And conversely, often times when conditions are far less than perfect, the fishing is red hot. Even with many years of experience, it’s not easy to predict. 
Lyons Bridge - Upper Madison River
Fishing reports can help anglers with info like water conditions, current hatches and some fly suggestions. But I circle back to my previous point. None of that information can be consistently used to predict an outcome. For example, you may read a fishing report in May indicating that stream flows are on the rise and the water is off-color due to runoff. And sure, maybe that’s not your thing and you opt for golf instead of fishing. But that day could turn out to be some of the best catching of the whole season, with nobody on the water. I’ve seen it many times. But we are always looking for validation of our beliefs, so if you did go fishing and didn’t catch anything it would probably confirm your belief that trout don’t bite in dirty water.
Anyway, we accept the fact that we’re not good at writing regular nuts and bolts reports here. As a result we have decided to remove the “REPORTS” tab from our site navigation and add our occasional narrative/story style fishing reports to our “BLOG” page.  Of course, you can always give us a call for up-to-date reports and information. 406-682-5150  And I suggest checking out the Madison River Fishing Company reports for regular updates on conditions, hatches, and flies.
Having said all that, winter fishing on the madison has been great recently! Most of the action is either above the West Fork, or below the Ennis Dam in the Bear Trap Canyon. The standard default is very small nymphs and midge larva. However, on warmer days when you can fish the lower reaches of the river around Macatee and Varney big black buggers and stonefly nymphs will produce also.
Tight Lines,
Joe D.
Macatee Bridge - Upper Madison River