Madison River Fishing Report 5/19/15

     Driftin' & Dreamin' Photo by Mike Lum

One truth I know about fly fishing for Trout is that whatever happened yesterday has little or no bearing on what will happen today!  But having said that, what happened yesterday is often a decent starting point for what might happen today.  But we try to be flexible and open minded. And we always take fishing reports with a backward looking grain of salt.

So here’s what happened the last few days… Montana’s general fishing season opened on Saturday which means the upper Madison from Macatee Bridge up to Quake Lake is now open to fishing. All of Montana’s other streams and creeks with seasonal closures are also now open. And fishing has been OK, but not great. The weather has been somewhat challenging with a hard north wind blowing off and on for several days.

Naturally, on opening day we headed upstream to check it out. It was all night pouring Friday night, and was still raining hard when we left the shop bound for Palisades to Macatee on Saturday. Sometimes Mother Nature throws some real adversity at you just to test your resolve. We passed the test, because when we arrived at the boat ramp the rain quit and the conditions could not have been any better. Dead calm, low clouds and juicy green water. Although it didn’t stay that way all day, we had a 4-5 hour window of Utopia and only shared the river with a few Elk and a Moose. The weather must have scared off the “crowds.”

I’d give the fishing a solid B grade. Good, but not great. In hindsight we saw that the rainstorm caused the river to rise under us by almost 400 cfs. By conventional wisdom, this is not the most ideal situation. Nevertheless we caught fish on a variety ofnymphs, streamers and dries! Mostly we caught them by with good drifts, but here are the fly patterns we used:

                           Trout Stalker Guide Dirty Mike with Opening Day Donkey!


  • Brown Turd
  • BH Sure Strike
  • BH Hare’s Ear


  • Olive & Grey Trevor’s Sculpin
  • Olive Sculpzilla

Dry Flies

  • #12 Parachute Adams