Holy snow! Woke up to about 5 inches here in town. The flows have bumped up a bit in the last 72 hours, but no one is complaining as we head into the weekend. The river looks great and some reports of great fishing have filtered into the shop today. Nymphs and streamers are going to be ticket, but look for BWOs and Midges up river if you are looking for rising fish. The report below comes from shop guy and fishing junkie, Borden Porter.
Sorry if you're getting sick of the PSA below, but it is important especially now that the entire Upper Madison River is open this time of the year. There are many redds scattered throughout the river right now as the rainbows spawn.
Please take a look at the image below from the Henry's Fork Foundation. We should start seeing a bunch of rainbow redds in the coming weeks. Many have been reported already. It is difficult to identify them on the Madison because it is one giant riffle with a tremendous amount of variation in current, depth and substrate. They are most commonly found in water that is 1-2 feet deep. If you are wading through these areas, please be careful. Wade anglers put our next generation of trout at risk and it is up to us to be mindful of our actions to support a successful spawn. Just remember that the trout in the Madison River are nearly impossible to see. If see something that at all resembles a redd, it is best to play it safe and walk around, even if you don't see any fish on it. Thank you!
I took my buddy out for his first time fly fishing Monday evening. We decided to head up to 8 Mile after work and walk up river. We started fishing around 6pm. Overcast skies, moderate temperatures, and no wind provided a great few hours of dry fly fishing. Blue wings and midges continued to come off as the evening went on. With some overcast, rainy days in the forecast for the remainder of this week, expect the dry fly fishing to continue to be good. Up river around 3$ and Reynolds will be the better option for consistent fish eating on the surface, but around Burnt Tree and 8 Mile is providing good dry activity in the latter part of the afternoon and into the evening.
The nymphing game has continued to be the most consistent throughout the upper stretches. To be honest I haven’t nymph the last few times I’ve been out, but not much has changed as far as flies to use. A lot of different patterns will work right now. Don’t be afraid to try some different patterns than you’re used to, experiment with other patterns in your box. The classic #8 coffee/black rubber legs and small (#16 or #18) shiny nymph underneath will catch fish. The #18 Silver Lightening Bug worked very well for me about a week and half ago when I floated from Lyons down to Ruby Creek. I focused my presentations in the slower, choppy, nervous looking water close to banks.
I began the evening teaching my friend how cast without a fly on until he got the basic and rhythm down. Soon enough I put on a #6 natural scullhead zonker on his rod while I started out with a #8 black sculpzilla. Neither provided any takes or chases. We really didn’t fish the streamer that hard. We stumbled upon a pod of rising fish and tied on dries instead. As we were walking back to the car, I put on a #8 natural sculpzilla and managed to land a few rainbows. I casted upstream, tight to the banks looking for the deeper cut banks with a green tint. I also got a few takes swinging the streamer down from some gravel bars into deep green buckets.
This past Friday I floated from Lyons down to Ruby. The weather was much like what the forecast says for the remainder of this week. Cloud cover, light rain/snow, and mild winds. The morning was tough fishing for us, but around 1pm the fish started chasing and becoming more aggressive. The browns were laid up tight to the banks in the slower, flat water and were chasing streamers aggressively throughout the afternoon. I threw a #6 and 8 natural colored sculpin for most the day and switched to a #8 black woolly bugger in the evening. They continued to be aggressive and chase it.
Monday evening while wading up past 8 Mile, we came up on a pod of risers and I put on a size 16 Purple Haze and the rainbows ate it very willingly. My buddies first time ever fly fishing and he still managed to catch a nice bow on the dry. #18 Extended body BWO caught fish as well. The fish were not picky last night. Drift it over their nose and they’ll gulp it. The blue wings continued to come off and fish were feeding up top until we decided to leave around 8:30pm.
Like I said earlier, expect the dry fly fishing to be consistent through the week. The flows on the upper section are pretty close to ideal in my opinion. Caddis have started coming off on the lower, but this could temporarily subside with the changing weather patterns coming this week. Stay Tuned!
Flies: Tan, Olive, Pat's Rubberlegs #10-6, Eggs, Worms, #16 Purple Psycho Prince, #18 Zebra midge, #4-16 Prince Nymph, Double-Bead Girdle Bug, #14-18 Red Copper John, #16 Lil' Spankers, Sheilas, Tan Sculpzilla, Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, Silk Kitty, #16-18 Parachute Adams, Small Purple Haze, #20 Goober Midge, #18-20 BWOs