As warmer weather approaches in Southwest Montana, the town of Ennis has slowly awakened from its annual hibernation. Restaurants are filling and anglers are beginning to flock to the Upper Madison in waves. The mass migration of the American White Pelican is occurring as we speak. Gaze out onto Ennis Lake and you’ll likely see these local residents sporting souvenirs from their holiday in Southern California and Mexico. Spring fever is undoubtedly in the air… If you’re still in need of proof I can assure you that my house is cleaner than ever!
Let’s talk business. Water temperatures have been steadily rising on the Upper Madison, from 32°F to 46.8°F since Thursday, April 14th. Northwestern Energy has been regulating flows out of Hebgen Dam since April 4th in order to fill Hebgen Reservoir. April 24th is set to be the end date of the reduced flows. As it stands, flows out of Hebgen Dam have been adjusted to 485 CFS. The recorded discharge at Cameron has been closer to 645 CFS. The Madison Basin is looking at 82% snowpack as of Thursday, April 21st - Not ideal.
Fishing on the Upper Madison has been relatively consistent over the last week. Rainbow Trout are actively spawning so please be incredibly mindful of where you’re wading in the river this time of year. Nymphing has been the most successful practice for our shop. Streamer fishing is picking up by the day so don’t be afraid to throw some meat!
This week’s Nymphs:
Prince Nymph (#10 - #14), Mega Prince (#6), Pat’s Rubber Legs in Black (#6 - #10), Zebra Midge Black (#18 - #22), Tung Tied Black (#16), Improved Wire Worm Red (#10), Globug Egg (#16), Perdigon Nymph Black BL (#16).
This week’s Streamers:
Give us a call or stop by the shop to figure out what section of the river makes the most sense for you to spend time on. Water levels are grim so there may be a clear answer depending on your circumstances. With all that being said, get out there and have some fun. Check the forecast and pick a day that works for you to go catch some fish!
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. 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, pray for snow and Go Wild!
- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden