Looking across the Madison River at the Palisades during a recent fly fishing trip near Ennis, Montana.

Looking a bit like last year

Looking a bit like last year

Hebgen Dam 900cfs

Old Kirby Place 982cfs

Varney Bridge 1020cfs

Lower Madison 1480cfs

We are about a third of the way through winter here in southwest Montana. It’s been fairly mild so far. Flies are getting tied and fly boxes are beginning to fill back up in preparation for the 2020 season around Ennis, Montana. We have even had a good number of days worth getting out and doing a little fishing on the Madison in between those days spent ice fishing local lakes.

For better or worse this is starting to look a bit like last year. What happened last year? Well for many around Ennis it seemed like winter would never end and because it was so nice and mild many people lost their minds when we got 3 plus feet of snow and 3-4 weeks or sub zero temperatures staring in mid February. You can tell how many people are loosing their minds based on the frequency of “I’m tired of winter” posts showing up in the social media feeds. I like to remind those people that they choose to live in Montana and it’s still winter. They can bitch about winter lasting too long in April and May and not the last week of February or first week of March. Actually, they can bitch about it although I will be sure to make fun of them for it. But we will wait and see if that happens again this year. Like I always say, we will know how the winter was at the end of March.

We still have almost two months of winter left and the snow pack is close to 100 percent of average with some of the snowiest months to come. That’s always a good sign going into late winter. It’s comforting knowing more snow will add to the snow pack and give the trout more water rather than just get us back to even. Image of the amount of snow pack as a percentage of normal for the mountain ranges of Montana

Montana Snow Pack

A couple good things to note. Montana Fish Man is teaming up with long time friend and colleague Matt Carey at Trouts N’ At Outfitting to offer guided float trips on the Big Hole River during the spring season. This is a favorite time for us over there as we start to see some of the best early season dry fly fishing. Good Skwalla stonefly hatches, baetis and March browns all being in the menu in the spring months. This often starts before the Madison’s dryfly Fishing gets rolling. This is also a great way to break up a couple of days of fishing the Madison River with something a little different. Also the good folks at Burnt Tree Brewing have been hosting and open fly tying session on Sunday afternoons starting around 4pm and going to 6 or 7. It’s been lots of fun and there are a good variety of flies being tied. If your a beginner and want some help, bring a vise and come tie some flies with us. It’s informal, fun and with the variety of tiers there is definitely someone who can help with any fly tying related questions you might have. Did I mention they have great beer and have also been making great pizza to go along with the great. On a side note I will be giving away all the flies I tie each Sunday at the Brewery and you can check that out and enter to win them at Montana Fish Man Instagram account. Hope to see you down there.

Thanks for checking in

Keep your tip up!

Brian Rosenberg

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