Spring has Sprung and Winter is Back…briefly

Spring has Sprung and Winter is Back…briefly

Madison River Report for March 13, 2016


River Flows:

Hebgen Dam 900cfs

Old Kirby Place 970cfs

Varney Bridge 1110cfs

Ennis Dam 116

Lower Madison 1410cs

I want to give a quick shout out to Matt Carey over at Trouts N’ At Outfitters for giving much of the front of the boat the other day and to Melissa for the great job on the sticks! You can find Matt on FaceBook Trouts N’ At.

Trouts N' At Outfitters
Trouts N’ At Outfitters and Montana Fish Man on the Madison River

We have definitely been observing the signs of spring on the North end of the Madison Valley recently while most of the south end is still locked into winter. As with most late winter and early spring conditions we are seeing just about everything. Sun and warmth, check. Windy, blustery and cold, check. Winter weather advisories, snow and cold north air, check. Shortly I imagine we will get to check the sunny and warm box again. As most things weather related in the west things change quickly.

What this means for the fishing on the Madison River can vary as widely as the forecasts. The fishing on the Madison has been fairly consistent lately. As an angler I am ever the optimist and I like to dwell on the overwhelming majority of fair to good fishing outing’s I’ve experienced and not the few tougher days I have had. The Madison around Ennis Access, Burnt Tree and Valley Garden are good options. The upper Madison (now open) has still been the better choice to get consistent dry fly fishing. With the entire river being open year round we are getting to explore reaches many of us have never fished this time of year. Enjoy the new experiences. I know I am.

The nod for most productive strategy right now has to go to nymph fishing. Fish will find many offerings fine to dine on in the spring.  Some of these include stone fly nymphs, midges, San Juan worms, small mayfly nymphs and eggs. There has been some mixed action on the surface with fish keying to midge dry flies when the conditions are right. Because of numbers and that sometimes midges cluster, trout often have a hard time not picking them off the surface. For those that like streamer fishing you’ll be happy to know you can find some very good fish in the spring willing to chase down smaller fish. Rainbows, like brown trout, will often territorial strike a smaller fish in the area and the browns often get back into hunting mode following the fall/winter spawn.

Remember it is still technically winter until March 20th, so come prepared for all weather conditions.  Watch for changes over the coming weeks as we get longer and warmer days and the official start of spring. Water temps will increase and we will start to see mayflies, a few of the first caddis, and the odd skwala stone fly adult here and there.

Head over to the Montana Fish Man Facebook page for weekly fly giveaways!



Rubber leg stonefly nymphs in #4, #6, #8 (black, olive, tans)

Various Midge Nymphs #16, #18, #20 (Zebra, quicksilver midge, Midge pupa)

San Juan Worms #10, #12, #14 (red, pink, tan, and maroon)

Small BWO Mayfly Nymphs #14, #16, #18 (pheasant tails, Micro May, Military BWO, 3 Dollar Dips)

Griffiths Gnats #16, #18, #20

Midge Emerges #16-#20



Brian Rosenberg @ Montana Fish Man Outfitting

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