Brown Trout caught using a large stonefly nymph on the Madison River near Ennis, Montana.

My first Madison River trips in the books….

My first Madison River trips in the books….

Hebgen Dam 1080 cfs

Old Kirby Place 1090 cfs

Varney Bridge 1180 cfs

Lower Madison 1730 cfs

Chunky Madison River rainbow trout caught on during one of Montana Fish Mans first few guide trips of the year. New anglers to Montana get to see the first days of spring.
Chunky Madison River rainbow trout from a recent guide trip on the Madison.

It feels good to be back in the saddle again, the proverbial saddle that is. . It is a bit more of a tractor seat but that just does not have the same ring to it. Being in the middle of the boat on the oars is always a welcome change to sitting in the office tying flies. Although not technically my first float trip of the year, as that happened on January 13th, it is still the real beginning of the season. Maybe thats because the first day of spring is only a day way and a trip in January is more an anomaly than getting out in March. What ever the reason, It sure does feel like the start of a new fishing season and it felt good to be rowing a boat again.

As for the fishing, it was what I would expect to see for this time of year. Fish are not dispersed very much from their winter holding spots. That means there can be some down time between spots that are holding more fish but that is normal for late winter and early spring conditions. Over the past several days fish ate readily from the boat as the water warmed up. Fish will begin to spread out over the next couple months and that will make for more productive spots as they get filled in. It is not complicated fly fishing and what I am using hasn’t changed much in twenty years. If its not broke….you know the rest. This time of year won’t be good all day but there should be a window most days when fish are willing to eat fairly well, at least for a bit. Seeing fair amounts of midges but only finding a few risers for them. That should improve through the middle sections of the Upper Madison. For those looking for that type of fishing a stop in at Three Dollar or Reynolds Pass can be a better option.

The river near Ennis actually looks like a river again and has cut through all the ice and now only the large ledge ice remains on the banks. It can be dangerous so be careful around it. The boat ramps near Ennis, Montana are mainly out of commission as are several up river as well until the ice melts. Use caution and inspect your put in and take out before going. I am not here to give you a detailed description of each ramps condition and usability. You need to check that out on your own and make decisions accordingly. Have fun out there and be safe.

The first day of spring is tomorrow and the Vernal Equinox marks the first day of the year that day and night length are equal. It will also be a super full moon and last Super moon until march 2020. This means 12 hours of sunlight and a welcome change as we move officially from winter to spring. Looking forward to longer days, thawing out and time spent chasing fish around the state. Happy first day of spring! Enjoy it out there.

Keep your tip up!

Brian Rosenberg

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