January 23,  2019

Deep winter fly fishing in Montana is certainly not for everyone. But if you've got the right gear and the right attitude it can be very rewarding! 

We've been out several times already this year, and had good success each time. Very cold periods usually render the lower reaches of the Upper Madison pretty much unfishable due to ice and slush in the river. However, as you move upstream toward the West Fork and above that ceases to be an issue regardless of how cold or snowy it may be. The river flows low, clear and free of ice all year-round up there and fish can be caught pretty much every day of the year. Target the deeper slower pools and trenches for the best action.

Nymphing is your best bet, but you can also find fish taking midges off the surface most days up around $3 and Reynolds bridge. Fish a relatively short leader with 4X and 5x tippet.

MVP Patterns: 

King Prince #16
CDC Pheasant Tail #18 - 20
Tung. Zebra Midge - black #20-22
Green Disco Midge #20 - 22

Black War Bird #8

Griffiths Gnat #20-24

Upper Madison River Flows near Cameron, MT

 

Lower Madison River Flows below Ennis Lake Near Mcallister, MT

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Water Level Graph for USGS Station 06041000 Source

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Lower Madison River Water Temperature below Ennis Lake

Water Level Graph for USGS Station 06041000 Source