What a weekend for weather here in the Madison Valley! We witnessed thunder, lightning, and even a fair share of precipitation. Virginia City was declared the music capital of the world on Saturday. A huge thank you goes out to Scott and Amy of the Gravel Bar for putting together an unforgettable event at the Vigilante Music Festival. Fear not if you were unable to attend, I’ll still be talking to anyone willing to listen about it for the next six months. A Cold Rain and Snow encore in the pouring rain…I mean come on folks!
The Upper Madison is looking mean, high, and dirty. Hebgen Reservoir is now 100% full and rose a mighty 6 inches yesterday. NorthWestern Energy is reporting that Hebgen is currently at flood stage, with 4500 CFS entering the lake. It appears that flows will be increased out of Hebgen at an interval of 10% every hour until discharge reaches 3500 CFS at Kirby. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Ennis & Valley Garden campgrounds flood due to the continuous rainfall. Discharge at Varney Bridge is at 5160 CFS, only 640 CFS below the recorded max in 1970. Do not float between Lyons bridge and Palisades FAS. Both the Wolf Creek and Sun West Bridge are impassable due to the highwater. As of yesterday, the Ruby Creek FAS was closed due to flooding. Please exercise extreme caution when recreating the river in any manner this week.
The successful bugs are still in the same rotation. This is a great time of year to throw some downright-disrespectful meat. Nymphing is a great option as well. If you’re looking to fish the Madison in the next few days, head up high and bring plenty of split shot. Be prepared to lose a plethora of flies.
Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs Olive (#4 - #10), Eric’s Firebead Sparkle Worm Orange and Red (#12), BH CDC Prince (#16 - #20), T’s 0351 Baetis Olive (#18 - #20), Tung Tied Black (#16 - #20), Hot Spot PT Jig Chartreuse (#14).
Streamers: Peanut Envy Black and Olive (#2), Sculpzilla White (#8), Satkowski’s Usual Suspect Black (#2), CH Pine Squirrel Leech Black and Olive (#8 - #10), Wooly Bugger Black (#4 - #8), Cousin It Sculpin Jig (#6), Silk Kitty White, Dungeon Black and White.
Looking for some fly tying material to create these patterns? Check out our fly tying collection online or stop by the shop! As temperatures warm up, continue to practice your best fish handling techniques. Avoid fish pictures for the gram whenever possible so that we can continue to have healthy fish populations for years to come.
- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden