Updated 4/16/2021 - It has been a bit breezy here on the Madison with a cold north wind that refuses to let winter die. Temperatures have been staying in the mid-40s and water temps are around the same. All boat ramps are good to go, except town fishing access which is still closed due to the aftermath of the river gorging and not expected to be open for another couple months. Snowpack is still sitting around 90%.
It is no surprise, with variable spring temperatures, that nymph fishing has been the best method to get fish to the net. With these colder water temps, fish are stacked up in slower deeper pools, not looking to spend much energy on their next meal. A size 10 tungsten coffee/black girdle bug has been my main lead fly ensuring my rig gets down to where the fish are holding. For the trailer, pink and orange eggs have produced as rainbows come up from the lake to spawn. If these are not generating fish then switch to smaller nymphs like #18 zebra midge, #16 prince nymph or #18 lighting bug. PSA: Please be on the lookout for these spawning rainbows and avoid walking on redds!
If the wind ever dies down and the sun comes long enough to bring water temps up a bit, we could see a significant increase in dry fly activity. Targeting the upper most section of the Madison above Lyons would be your best odds to get some dry fly action. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to break out the readers, some 5x leader and tie on some extremely small Griffiths Gnats, BWO’s and Parachute Adams in sizes 18 and 20.
Streamers can always produce big fish however as mentioned before fish are not looking to spend much energy on a meal so tight lining and dead drifting streamers would drastically increase your chances of picking up some fish. Sculpzillas, Mini Dungeons, and Buggers in natural, olive, or black have been working the best.
- MRFC Guide Travis Stott