Current Madison River flows
Hebgen Dam 794 cfs
Kirby Ranch 839 cfs
Varney Bridge 875 cfs
The Upper Madison River is closed from Quake Lake downstream to Mcatee Bridge Fishing Access Site and also from Ennis Bridge to Ennis Lake until the general season opens Saturday in May 17th. The stretches that are open to fishing on The Madison are from Hebgen Dam to Quake Lake and Macatee Bridge (FAS) to Ennis Bridge (FAS). The upper Madison is mostly slush and ice so your best bets for winter fly fishing right now are between Hebgen Dam and Quake Lake.
TACTICS AND PATTERNS: NYMPHING
Nymphing a two fly rig will be your most productive method. Although Midges make up the bulk of the winter food forage for trout on the Madison River, stone flies will also catch fish. Midge larva patterns in black, red and purple in #14-16 Red Brassies, baetis nymphs #14-18. Rubber legged stone fly patterns in black and brown #10-8. San Juan Worms and Wire San Juan Worms in red #14-10.
There are fish rising to midges, look for risers in softer water along inside edges and rock pockets and back eddy’s. Try a Parachute Adams or Griffith’s Gnat #14-18. Try tying a dropper off the bend of your dry fly and tie on a Zebra midge, emerger, or bead-head Pheasant Tail # 18-14 15” below your dry fly.
Streamer bite has been a little chilly. Warm, cloudy day’s will be. Try a slow strip and pause retrieve or dead drifting sculpin patterns like the Mini loop in olive or brown or a Zonker in natural/pearl #10-4. Boogie men and Sex Dungeon’s are also a good choice.
Be aware of winter fishing hazards like drifting ice, shelf ice and rapid weather changes. So be prepared with appropriate winter fishing clothing. If you have studded boots or cleats… where them! The rainbow trout are starting to spawn , so if you see patches of bright gravel, watch your step, and please stay clear!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information on Montana fly fishing and guided fishing trips The Madison River please contact FishTales Outfitting.
(Report and photos by Michael Stack-FishTales Outfitting LLC)