June 17th, 2019
The Madison has been a tough one to figure out recently with variable flows and fluctuating weather. Flows have been up and down over the course of the past few days currently running at 1100cfs below Hebgen, 1850cfs near Kirby Ranch, and 2980cfs here in Ennis. The river has a silty green tint to it up river, but begins to clear on river right as you get closer to the entrance of the west fork. The upcoming cooler temperatures may cause these flows to drop more resulting in some great fishing.
Nymphing is the most productive tactic on the river as of late. Run your rig about 4 ½’ - 5’ from the indicator to the top of the fly (#4-6 Black Rubber Leg or #8 Mega Prince) with a BB split shot 5” above the first fly, add weight as needed. Tie the trailing fly about 24” from your lead fly using a smaller nymph pattern (#12-16 Lightning Bug or a #12 Jig nymph). A double rubber leg rig has proven to be very effective recently due to the increasing movement from the big stoneflies subsurface. You need to use some heavy tippet as well running 2x to the top fly and 3x to the trailing fly.
If you are looking to chuck some streamers, now is a great time to do it. My go-to rig consists of a 7’ 4IPS VersiLeader with a swivel off the tag end. I add about 3’ of 0x or 1x to the fly. Run your streamer right off the bank and into the deep buckets or behind any big boulders in the middle of the river. Stick with natural coloring such as black and olive. A white Sex Dungeon or Silk Kitten will get those big fish to eat if it is a bright and sunny day. Another good tactic would be to dead drift a sculpin or woolly bugger (#6 Mini Loop Sculpin or #6 Olive Woolly Bugger) under an indicator with a smaller nymph pattern off the back about 24-30” with 2x or 3x tippet.
We are still a few weeks out from the big Salmon Fly hatch, but if you are looking for some good dry fly action make your way down to the Bear Trap, which is currently running at 1970cfs. Down there you can find some great evening Caddis hatches using a #16 Peacock Caddis or any dark bodied caddis, as well as a #14 Olive or Royal Micro Chubby.
#6 Woolly Bugger (Olive, Black)
Dolly Lama (Olive/White, Olive/Black)
Mini Loop Sculpin (Olive, Tan)
Sex Dungeon (White)
Mini Sex Dungeon (Olive)
#6 Black Rubber Legs
#8 Mega Prince
#12-16 Lightning Bug
#14 Jighead Prince
#12 Spanker (Red, Silver)
#14 Brillion's Lucent Prince Jig
#16-18 Psycho Prince (Green)
Chenille Worm-Pink *if flows jump again*
#16 Peacock Caddis
#16 Elk Hair Caddis (Brown)
#16 CDC Elk Hair Caddis (Olive)
#14 Mico Chubby (Olive, Royal)