How High Is The Water, Mama?

MAY 2024 

UPDATED 5/30/2024 

We’re only a few weeks out from the fly fishing world descending upon Ennis, Montana as runoff rescinds itself into the back of our minds. Plan on seeing plenty of mud and water make its way through the valley before that happens, however. The river is on the rise and warm days are starting to settle into the forecast. Expect the river to continue to bump in CFS and have low clarity for the next few weeks. 

In the last three days, the gauge at Cameron has jumped from 1790 CFS to 2300 CFS. Water temperatures reached 59.72 F and have been settling just under 50 degrees during the night at Cameron. Hebgen Reservoir is currently at 93.3% full. The Madison basin has a 94% snowpack as of today. The clarity in town is no bueno with all the mud starting to pump in from feeder creeks up-river. The river is about to jump up like a lab into a tailgate on opening day, up-up girl! 

There are still caddis and baetis hatches happening on the river with the odd trout looking up to sip a dry fly. That pattern should change significantly within the next few days. Nymphing and streamer fishing is your best bet at picking off a trout during the high water. Large Pat’s Rubber Legs, Lightning Bugs, and various worm patterns will be a safe bet for the next few weeks. Streamer fishing can be excellent as the high water settles but maintains low clarity. Fishing during this time of year is tough so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have a banner day out there. 

Please keep an eye on the gauges throughout runoff. It is not safe to run a drift boat or raft between Lyons and Palisades when flows exceed 1700 CFS at the Kirby gauge. As always our shop in downtown Ennis is stocked to the brim with flies so don't be afraid to swing by and check them out for yourself. Also feel free to swing by the shop for a more in-depth and up to date fishing report or general fishing advice. Just a reminder as well it is now barbless hooks only from Varney bridge to the Lake so pinch those barbs. Enjoy the warm weather this weekend and be safe out there!

Hot Flies:

Streamers: White Screamer #6, Cheech Leech Fall, Mini Dungeon Barred Yellow, Mini Dungeon Olive, Silk Kitten Tan, Dungeon Cream, Trevor's Sculpin Natural, Jig Slum Lord Black, Slump Buster Black (#6), BH Wooly Bugger Peacock (#8).

Dry Flies: Elk Hair Caddis Olive (#16 - #18), Johnson's Mimic May BWO (#18), Mini Hot Mayfly Black (#18), Mini Hot Mayfly Olive (#18),Tilt Wing Dun BWO (#18), Parachute Adams (#16), Comparadun BWO (#18),

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs Black (#6 - #8), Pat’s Rubber Legs Coffee (#6 - #8), Hogan S&M Nymph Olive (#16), Spanish Perdigon Rodrigues Black (#16), Jig CDC Prince (#14), Jig Tungsten Pink Worm (#16), Jig San Juan Worm Wine (#14).

- MTS Guide Danny Eiden