March 19th, 2020 -
Spring fishing is upon us and warmer days are in the forecast. I write this report coming off of a three-week long streak of not missing a day of fishing. Admittedly so, I recently broke the streak and sat a couple days out when the lows dropped to around zero. But up until that point, fishing was everything you would hope it would be. The last few days fishing has picked back up with the rising temperatures and I would expect it to do so even more as the water continues to warm.
A consistent factor in finding fish recently (as you might have guessed) has been almost exclusively focusing on deep/slower water. Slow inside bends, deep confluences that funnel food to the fish, as well as anywhere that a trout won’t have to fight the current too hard are features to target. Colder water means oftentimes fish aren't as willing to move very far to eat your fly. Fishing heavy in some of those deeper holes might help you get an eat if it keeps the fish from having to move as far to grab your fly. So when searching for the rig combination that leads you to the promised land, don’t only experiment/change flies but also make adjustments to your depth as well. Which means maybe changing up the amount of split shot you would normally use, or maybe just using a couple bugs with tungsten beads... dealers choice.
If you head up river above the West Fork, at some point in the day you’re likely to see some fish rising to midges. You’re less likely to find those larger pods of rising fish down river/closer to town, but that’s not to say you won't find any dry acting down lower. A couple of go-to midge dries for us would be a #18/20 - Griffith's Gnat and a Renegade. Blue wings have been confirmed on the Lower Madison, and we expect to see those appear on the Upper sometime in the next several weeks. Naturally, nymphing has been the easiest/most consistent way to drum up some business with our fishy friends. The farther up river we've gone, the more success we have found with smaller bugs. #18/20 - Zebra midges, Serendipities and Frenchies have all been very effective flies. From mid-river down, (Palisades-Ennis area) big bugs have been effective. #6/8 Stonefly nymphs such as Rubber Legs and Mega-Prince’s have had good enough days to just double up and not worry about a smaller dropper. However, some days have been made by a #14/16 attractor pattern being tied behind the larger bug on 4X tippet. Tungsten Pheasant Tail jig and the tung Copper John jig are great choices to start your day with and might end up being the bug you fish all day.
There's a lot of uncertainty in this world we live in today, but I feel pretty certain the fish are still gonna eat and I’m still going fishing. Get out there, hang with the fish and stop by to see us on your way for additional stoke and information.
Boat Ramp Conditions (last updated 3/19/2020)
Raynold’s Pass - snow
Pine Butte - snow
Lyons - snow but pushable
Windy Point - small drift, passable
Palisades - bigger drift, NO go
Ruby - good
McAtee - good
Storey Ditch - solid ice
Varney - good
8 Mile - good
Burnt Tree - good
Town - good
Valley Garden - big drift, catution advised
Ennis Lake - 80% frozen
Check out our Madison River Fishing Report for the latest!