February is a notoriously arduous month to get through. Most folks spend their nights at the vise accompanied by dyed feathers and fine bourbon. Taste enough dye (or perhaps just bourbon) from these finely tinged feathers and you’ll soon find that the mad hatter comes alive in all of us. What does he say? Well to go fishing, of course! The last few weeks on both the Upper and Lower Madison have generated some Grade AA fishing. The valley has been gifted with borderline balmy weather, something a quick probe of our fishing accesses would indicate. The Madison near Cameron has been steadily gaining flow since the 26th of January, rising from 750 CFS to 1060 CFS.
Nymphing has been nothing short of consistent. Heavy, fast-sinking flies have proven to be the most effective this winter. 4x Leader and Tippet combined with a ninja-like approach has been the recipe for a successful outing. Dress warm and take plenty of breaks to maximize your time outside this winter!
Successful Nymphs: Lightning Bug Silver (#16 - #20), Crystal Dip (#16 - #20), Serendipity Tan or Olive (#18 - #22), Three Dollar Dip Red or Olive (#16 - #20), Zika Jig (#18 - #22), Zebra Midge Red or Black (#18 - #22), T-Jig Grease Lighting (#14 - #18), Hot Spot PT Jig Purple (#14 - #18), T-Jig Purdee John Yellow (#14 - #18), Jig Napoleon Yellow or Brown (#14 - #18), TBH Pheasant Tail (#18 - #22).
Streamer fishing has drastically improved over the last few weeks. Dead drifting a streamer is how most of our fish are being caught. Successful streamers include:
Mini Olive Peanut Gold and White #4, Mini Dungeon Envy White #4, Brown Town Olive #4, Sculpzilla Olive (#4 - #8), Lil Kim Silver #4, Delektable Single Screamer Olive #6, Sparkle Minnow Smoke #4, Peanut Envy Black #2, BH Wooly Bugger (#4 - #8).
We’ve witnessed a few epic midge hatches this week. Make sure to bring your favorite dry fly rod along for the trip when the sun is out… The results can be spectacular. Stock your box with a variety of Griffith’s Gnats and RS2s. My favorite sizes are #18 through #22.
Looking for some fly tying material to create these patterns? Check out our fly tying collection online or stop by the shop! As temperatures turn frigid, continue to practice your best fish handling techniques. Take advantage of the low foot traffic on the river and get out there to fish! Avoid fish pictures for the gram whenever possible so that we can continue to have healthy fish populations for years to come. Give our Cold Weather Gear collection a gander to ensure that you’ve got the proper warmth to maximize your time out on the water. Tight lines and Go Wild!
- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden