No promises but its hard not to think that we are through the coldest portion of winter. Drastic changes in weather patterns and river conditions have occurred. It is now okay to start thinking about floating the Madison River. The flow charts below are inactive, however the flows are PERFECT right now.
Fish are still very easy to catch. Problem is you have to find them. Don't waste time hammering buckets. If you feel like there are no fish, move on until you find one. They are stacked up in the A+ situations. All of the standard nymph patterns have a chance at producing fish right now. Today was clear as can be, so dry fly action was a little on the slow side. But, you can still get them in the middle of the day with various midge dries. An emerger trailing your dry will just increase you chances. Look for overcast conditions for the best surface activity though. Not a bad idea to cover some water with a streamer either. As long as you move often you should be able to grab the attention of some nice fish.
As for an update on the boat launch conditions...
Pine Butte: No, too much snow.
Lyons Bridge: Bring a shovel and get creative, but it is NOT impossible to drop your boat in.
Windy: 100% accessible.
Palisades: Drifted in, don't try it unless you are prepared to dig your rig out of a snow drift.
Ruby: 100% accessible
McAtee: 100% accessible
Storey: Ditch is iced in, not worth the effort.
Varney: Snow on the ramp, but entirely doable with 4WD
8 mile, Burnt Tree, Town, Valley Garden, Clutes: No Way, too much snow/ice.
Our suggestion right now is Windy to Mac. Get out there!
We always like to hear about your fishing. Send us an email with a report and fish pics if you got 'em. We'll post it on here for our next report.
We still have Smith Sunglasses on sale for 50% off. The consensus here is that the Frontman frame with ChromaPop bronze mirror lenses are the best option for the upper Madison. Stop by to try a pair on!