Here is a short supplemental video to our latest Madison River fishing report. Hope it distracts you from your work day. Let's go fishing!
When the middle of winter rolls around in southwest Montana, fishing ventures are all about keeping things short. When it’s ten degrees outside during the warmest part of the day, like it was yesterday for Parker and I up around the Pine Butte area of the upper Madison, there aren’t many mortal human beings that can keep their extremities warm enough to fish effectively for very long.
Some fishing guides head south in the winter to warmer climes, bikini-clad women, bonefish, tarpon, blue skies, and cold coronas. Others, like ourselves, hole up back on the Madison studying the forecast for dry fly days, and burning skis in sacrifice to Ullr for more powder to ride. In between the powder days and rising fish, many of our summer time friends and visitors are always curious about what we do in the winter. Find your own beach, right?
Every Year since 1990, Montana FWP has received funding from dam operators to complete a fisheries study on the Madison River Drainage. Recently, in December, the 2015 Annual Report was completed. These studies report on the effects of hydropower operations at both Hebgen and Ennis dams on all fisheries. This includes basic populations parameters of Rainbow and Brown Trout populations in the Madison, information on monitoring efforts of recent (2014) introduction attempts for native Arctic Grayling, and conservation of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in the Madison River drainage.
You gotta pick your days for fishing this time of year. Between the months of December, January, and February, days with highs in the 30’s, combined with calm winds are few and far between. When we do have days with those conditions, you’ve got to jump on your opportunity to fish. For me, I like to watch the overnight low temps. If there’s a streak of two or three days with overnight lows in the 20s or 30s, fishing can be surprisingly fun in the dead of winter.
16 years ago when we struck out to fly fish the Madison River on New Year's Day I had no idea where that crazy idea would lead us... Since then it has become a Dilschneider/Trout Stalkers family tradition to fish the Madison on January 1st, and at least attempt to catch the first fish of the new year. Fishing for me is certainly not all about a bent rod. But New Year's Day is a little different. It's about one fish. Just one. I am proud to report that we/I have succeeded in that goal every year since then, including yesterday January 1, 2016.
The wind has been wicked in the Madison Valley lately (blowing 40 as I type), but it has also been relatively warm this week with temps in the high 40s. So yesterday Nick, Justin, Kris and I jumped on the opportunity to do some winter angling and headed up to $3 Bridge around noon in the hopes of finding some lighter winds and cooperative trout. We found both!
After another great season on the Madison we are finally rolling into the take-out. And this has been one helluva year! #GRATEFUL
The last few days on the Madison River has been "Heaven on Earth," these are the September days that really make you appreciate just being here. The fishing is on the way up with fish attacking streamers (multiple days have landed fish with fishtails sticking out of their mouths), on the super sunny days like this balck is working best for the streamers. Trevors, sculpzilla and buggers have produced those bigger fish but remember at this time of year even the super small bugs (18s & 20s) can get it done!!!
Swing by the shop to see out MVPs for which flies.