Dam: 460 cfs
Kirby: 886 cfs
Varney: 1,360 cfs
It’s been a crazy month here in southwest Montana, with seventy degree blue bird days, cold rain and snow, and everything in between. The good news is that our last storm brought our snowpack levels up over twenty percent and we are now sitting at roughly 70% in the Madison Range. Flows out of Hebgen are still crazy low for this time of year and will continue to stay that way until the reservoir gets closer to full pool. Obviously this is less than ideal for spawning fish between the lakes, so please take that into consideration if you are in the neighborhood.
Fishing has been excellent on the Upper Madison over the last several weeks, and we still have very good visibility throughout the entire river. Right now the river is running green with a little over 4 feet of visibiltiy from Quake down to the West Fork. You start to lose a little bit when you get below Windy Point and then again below Indian Creek, but we still have very fishable conditions top to bottom. That could change by later next week though, as the forecast is calling for highs in the 80’s with fairly warm nights which should get the creeks rolling. While we have had some great dry fly activity the upper stretches, especially on those wet, rainy days, nymphing is still where it’s at for numbers. We have been doing best by keeping it small in the upper wade stretch, with zebra midges, jujubees, baetis nymphs, perdigons, and caddis larva being our top producers. Once you start getting into the float section we have been picking up more fish on worms, pat’s rubber legs, and golden stones as well as the aforementioned smaller bugs.
Streamer fishing has also been good lately, but definitely a little inconsistent as well. We’ve had some really productive days where fish are chasing readily only to return the next day under the same conditions with very different results. When the bite has been good, some of our better patterns have been mini dungeons, peanut envys, mini loops, and boogie men and on some pretty swift retrieves. Black, Olive, Yellow, and Olive/White have been our best colors but natural has definitely had its moments as well.
As always, please watch your step out there if you are wade fishing on the Upper Madison. There are quite a few spawning beds out there right now, so please remember to walk in front of the redd rather than behind it, as most of the eggs end up 3′-10′ behind the cleared gravel.