Hebgen Dam 1200 cfs
Old Kirby Place 1250 cfs
Varney Bridge 1350 cfs
Lower Madison 1650 cfs
We have been getting out on the water with a bit more frequency over the past couple weeks here in Ennis Montana. Now that spring has officially arrived we are getting into a time period that I have always loved. Spring ushers in a welcome change around the rocky mountains. First we start to see birds that have gone all winter, the slushy rivers start to flow clear and ice free, green starts to emerge from the brown and white that has surrounded us for the last four months. All of these are the first signs of other changes that will start to happen around Montana as well. Many of these changes are exactly what we are looking for as anglers. Warmer days, longer days, warmer water temperatures, more hatches, hungry fish, ice out on area lakes are all good things for me. These are all changes that I love to see this time of the year.
The fishing has been fairly typical for spring so far. Lots of midges most days. Water temperatures that start to push into the low to mid 40s. This starts to help move fish around as bugs become active fish will start to transition into more of their spring and summer haunts looking for food. Some bigger browns are actively hunting now that those water temps have risen. Some willing to chase sculpins and small minnows. Midges have given us a few dry fly opportunities and as we get further into spring we will be looking for BWOs and Skwalla dries as well. Nymph fishing as generally the most productive. Small stones trailing midges and small mayfly nymphs are sure to get some fish to eat.
Rainbows are already spawning and its not hard to see some redds on the river. Please be careful as you move around out there so as not tread on them or anchor on them inadvertently. Please resist fishing directly to spawning fish on redds as they are actively trying to create the next generation of trout and continue to create the great fishery we so enjoy. Because we have a wild population(not stocked) of trout we owe it to the fish, ourselves and future anglers to let these fish create the next generation of fish that we enjoy pursuing. Are we going to catch some spawning fish? Absolutely. This is true for both rainbows and cutthroat in the spring and brown trout in the fall and early winter because we enjoy fishing at these times and many area rivers are open to fishing. There is no way to avoid catching them as they will continue to feed at times during their spawning times. I still don’t think this means that we should target active spawning fish on redds. If you see redds sit back and watch for awhile as you are likely to see some wonderful activity. It is fascinating to watch this. Seeing small males get chased off by larger ones. Watching fish drop eggs, dig out deeper depressions for laying eggs is all very cool. Just leave them be and fish other waters around the area, there will be other fish around. There may even be a good brown trout lurking around looking for an easy meal.
Lets also not forget to or ignore picking up some trash if we see it lying around.
Thanks for tuning in and I hope to see you out there.
Keep your tip up!