We’re in the midst of spring runoff in the Madison Valley and water levels are only going up from here. Starting May 26th, NorthWestern Energy will be increasing the volume of water releases from Hebgen Dam to flush fine sediments to enhance the quality of spawning gravels that support the healthy wild trout fishery. Flows will gradually increase over the course of several days to coincide with peak runoff in the West Fork of the Madison. To Protect the outlet of Quake Lake from erosion, Madison River flows will be maintained at about 3,500 CFS at Kirby.
Fishing has been difficult these last few days as water levels have continued to rise. If you’re jonesing to fish some high-murky water, Three Dollar Bridge and above is your best option. My best bet is that it’ll be like a zoo on free admission day, so take that with a grain of salt. Stay close to the banks and avoid wading around if the water looks nasty - otherwise we’ll see you at the town bridge. A lot of fish have been holding in slower seams in the middle of the river that are hard to reach while wading. Those seams will likely be increasingly difficult to reach as the water rises over the next week.
I don’t have an array of flies that will work magic for you this week. Get your hands on the biggest Pat’s Rubber Legs you can find and trail a caddis nymph beneath it. Both of those flies have been producing fish in the muddy water for me. This can be a great time to throw streamers on a heavy sinking line as well. White, yellow and tan are some of my favorite colors to entice fish with in these conditions.
Try to avoid fish pictures when you can out there. Everybody loves a great trout photo, but not as much as you think they do. We're in the midst of our annual Fly SALE. Checkout our SALE flies here for killer deals on your favorite patterns. If you're interested in what the river looks like here in town, give the live cam a gander below!
- MTS Guide Danny Eiden