WET AND WILD
This past week we have been blessed with a lot of moisture here in the Madison Valley. River flows bumped up to 2000 CFS on Sunday and have started to taper down to around 1240 CFS (Cameron gauge). Expect around a foot or so of water visibility around town with the vis improving the farther you head upriver. There are still plenty of fish to be had! At this moment it is hard to say if we’ve reached the peak of runoff. Hopefully we continue to see another bump or two in flows so that we can get some sort of “flushing” flow to refresh the riverbed. We like to see flushing flows not only because it helps clean the riverbed, but it also helps promote abundant future bug life. It would be great to see the flows get up to at least 3000 CFS at some point to help this process happen. Luckily, we have a decent amount of moisture and warmer air temps in the forecast this upcoming week so keep your fingers crossed.
Nymphing and streamers are going to produce your best results in the high dirty water. Large stonefly patterns trailed with a worm or caddis pupa are hard to beat right now. For the streamer guys, stick to your darker streamer colors like black or olive. Darker colored flies create a great silhouette in the dirty water and can trigger some big bites. Focus on the softer water off the bank or around the larger rocks. Dry fly fishing will be a challenge during the next few days. For those wanting to catch one on top try larger caddis imitations and march brown patterns.
Nymphs: Black Rubber Legs (#4-6), Mega Prince (#6), Caddis Sparkle Pupa (#14), San Juan Worm Wine or Red, Supa Pupa (#16)
Streamers: Trevor Sculpin Black, Schultzy Sculping Olive, Sex Dungeon Black or Olive, Smoke Sparkle Minnow, Peanut Envy
Dries: Missing Link Caddis (#14), Purple Haze (#12-14), Mini Royal Chubby, Iso Mimic May (#16)
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, and pray for snow!
- MRFC Guide John Kelley