Fishing on the Upper Madison has been nothing short of spectacular ever since the first warmup in early February. With steady flows of about 950 CFS, the river is in good shape for both wading and floating. Although there has been some intermittent winter weather that’s kept us off the water, we have been out doing a lot of “research” and a lot of guiding in the past 2 months. And we've found the action to be very consistent. Lots of healthy Bows and Browns.
Nymphing has been the most consistent and productive tactic day in and day out. Nothing really new here. No need to re-invent the fly either! MVP flies have been: Girdle bugs, SJ Worms, Zebra Midges, and Egg patterns. We’re fishing these in the slower, deeper seams and runs for some great action.
Despite some cold water temps (37-39), the streamer bite has also been very good this spring. And sometimes downright Hot! Flashy flies stripped and twitched have been working great. We really like the new jig hook streamers, for the action they give the fly as you strip and twitch.
This past weekend we saw the first 60 degree days of the spring so far, and it comes on the heels of some very significant mountain snowfall in the last week of March. This has caused some area rivers to begin to rise with the first little wave of runoff. The Big Hole has spiked from 600 cfs to over 2000 cfs this morning. With highs supposed to reach into the 70s next weekend, this trend will likely continue on the Big Hole and Jefferson and others. The Madison however has only barely ticked up at the Varney gauge. I expect it will hang in there without too much increase until we start to see temps reach into the 80s. Then the real runoff will begin. Historically this is usually in early May, but you never know what mother nature has in store...
The takeaway is that the Upper and Lower Madison are both great bets for the coming week and weekend. Spring Baetis have begun to hatch up and down the Madison just the last few days. And we saw a rogue Caddis fly on the Lower Madison yesterday, reminding us that the Mother's Day hatch is right around the corner too. The Lower Madison usually offers some the best dry fly opportunities on cloudy and inclement afternoons like we're experiencing today. In the meantime, nymphing with your Claws-R-Crayfish and Baetis nymphs will work well.
Black/Brown Pat’s Rubber Legs #6
TH 20 incher
Pink & Red Wire Worms & Gummy Worms
Black Zebra Midge #20
Sparkle Minnows #6
PT Nymphs #18
Lighning Bug #16
Griffith's Gnat #18