Closing Out April With Big Browns on The Madison

Spring Fishing On The Madison - Big Browns


April 2021

Updated 4/26/2021 - Pre-runoff spring fishing is usually pretty darn solid on the Madison River, and this spring is no different!

Flows are lower than average right now which makes drift boat float fishing a little rough at times, especially below 8 Mile Ford. However these conditions are great for wade fishing, and are generally good float fishing too if you can be stealthy, row and read water well, and can occasionally make some long shots.


The spring hatches have really begun in earnest recently. We are seeing thick hatches of Midges and BWOs daily, and also have quite a few adult Skwallas skating around from Varney downstream. A big Skwalla dry and dropper have been working well, with a few fish even taking the dry fly! The late afternoon BWO hatch and rise, is somewhat intermittent in the lower river but worth hunting for. There is greater consistency as you move higher up the valley. The most consistent insect and dry fly activity is typically above the West Fork. Size 18/20 Baetis Duns and Emergers are the most techy and best bet if fish are rising to naturals. Sometimes a #18 Parachute Adams is all you need....

We love the #12 Guide-Chute Adamsonce the March Browns get going, which should be any day now. This could be one of those years when we get to fish through a March Brown hatch without getting blown out by high water right when it starts. Still a little too soon to say, but the forecast looks pretty friendly for the next 7 days anyway... Another much anticipated hatch that should start any minute now is the spring "Mother's Day" Caddis. This hatch usually blows up first on the lower Madison and progresses quickly upstream into the Varney stretch. I don't think it would be out of the question to see it start this week with warmer temps in the forecast...

Nymphing is generally the highest probability tactic this time of year. All kinds of patterns are producing when fished at the right depth: Big Hare's EarsTurds of all types, PrincesMidgesPerdigonsWorms and Eggs to name a few. These fish are just hungry!


The streamer bite has also been solid lately on the Upper Mad. The basic BH Black Bugger has not lost it's charm, and is always a solid bet. 24/7/365. Sparkle Minnows, Thin Mints, Mini-Loops, and Black Peanut Envy will also work.


PSA: Remember that Rainbow Trout are spawning right now on the

Madison, and in all of our area rivers and streams. Please look out for Redds in the shallow gravel and avoid walking through them. Let's all be good stewards and good neighbors!!

- MRFC Owner Joe Dilschneider