UPDATED 1/30/2024 

Well winter is finally upon us here in the Madison Valley, kinda. We have had a heck of a January with temperatures ranging from 60 degrees fahrenheit to -39 degrees fahrenheit.  Yep, you read that right -39. According to Tom Dimeola (former owner of MRFC) it was the coldest night he has ever recorded in the Madison Valley in 21 years of keeping data. With that being said the river gorged up all the way to 8 Mile, and Montana Fish and Game has closed off every fishing access below 8 Mile. That includes 8 Mile, Burnt Tree, Town Access, and Valley Garden. Now in the big city of Ennis, weather is ranging between 35-45 degrees and the river gorge has opened back up but the fishing accesses have not. With fishing accesses closest to town being closed, fishermen have been heading up river towards Raynolds Pass, fishing indicator rigs and having some success. 

Over the weekend a few of us had the chance to get out there and found a variety of bugs to be working. We even got a few fish to chase around a small olive streamer. We found a lot of our fish in the shallow slow moving water, with a few in the deeper slow runs. The nymphs of choice were a variation of small midge/baetis patterns. At the end of the day, a #10 Girdle Bug and Red Worm did the job for us this weekend. 

We’re seeing a lot of reds throughout the river, so please be careful and watch your step. Swing by the shop to get outfitted with the right bugs for the upcoming week. Good luck out there!

Hot Flies:

Streamers: Olive Mini Dungeon, Black Dungeon, Black Silk Kitty, Olive Mini Loop, Lil Kim, Black Screamer, Olive Trevor, Sparring Partner white/gold.

Dry Flies: Parachute Purple (14-16), Griffith's Gnat (18-20), Parachute Adams (16-18).

Nymphs: Zebra Midge Black #18, Zebra Midge Red #18, Three Dollar Dip#16, May It Be Baetis (18-20),Jiggy Micro May Pheasant Tail (16-20), Black Rubber Leg (8-10), Pheasant Tail (14-16).

If you're interested in what the river looks like here in town, give the live cam a gander below!

- MTS Guide Nicko Opinsky

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