Runoff on the Madison peaked May 30th at around 4800 cfs at the Varney Bridge gauge. We are currently in the later stages of runoff. The dam has been dropping 10% a day for the last 10 days. Current flows out of Hebgen are 1120 cfs, 1880 cfs at Kirby, and 3330 cfs at Varney Bridge.Over the last week, clarity has improved throughout the river. The upper wade section will provide the best clarity right now. As you get further down, the river gains color but is definitely fishable. Many tributaries are still pushing in some mud. Clarity can change drastically this time of year. Keep an eye on water flows and weather.
Finding the softer, slower holes will be your best chance to catch some fish. Fishing out of the boat can be challenging this time of year. Getting out of the boat and wade fishing will give you the best shot. Nymping has been the most productive. Pat's rubber legs and red/pink worms are great flies for the higher water. Smaller caddis nymphs have been productive as well. Make sure you have plenty of weight to get these flies down. This last week streamer fishing has been productive in the higher and dirtier water. Yellow, copper/gold, and black have all worked for me. Let the fly stay in the zone for as long as you can. Most of the eats have been very visible. Dry flies are right around the corner. We should start to see more caddis as we move into next week and salmonflies not too far behind them.
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 Borden "The Fish Reporter" Porter