Hebgen Dam 705cfs
Old Kirby Place 1430cfs
Varney Bridge 2820cfs
Lower Madison 2990cfs
Technically the official start of summer is something like June 20th but the last five or six days have felt like summer with temperatures getting into the mid 80’s. We had a rainy May and the Madison Valley is as green as she gets and about as beautiful as it could possibly be. Valley wide carpets of green rising to snow covered peaks.
The warm weather has warmed the high elevation snow enough to swell the creeks draining into the Madison River the past seven days and the upper Madison flow charts look like a bullish stock chart. The last couple days the river has peaked and even though there is daily fluctuation we did not hit a higher high yesterday. If it does the same today we may have hit a short term peak. The clarity or turbidity of the river over this rising water trend has remained very fishable with the best clarity about the West Fork of the Madison River. Below the West Fork the clarity varies but is about two feet with the last two days seeing a little change in the clearer direction. Hebgen Dam still has about 1.3 feet to fill so we could potentially see some increase in flow as it fills but I don’t believe this will be added to the rising water we have seen this week. It would be clear water anyhow. Likely what will happen is as runoff subsides there will be slight increases in dam flow to maintain normal flow. The telltale on Fan Mountain isn’t clear of snow but it is getting close. When this is clear of snow we are done with runoff. Im not going to make a prediction for when it will start to turn the corner but it doesn’t seem like it will be long.
We are also starting to see some of the great hatches that really kick start our dry fly fishing on the upper river. large chocolate caddis, some mayflies and soon we will start to see the famed salmon flies and golden stones. There are a few reports and I think I even say a fishing report that posted a picture of a salmon fly on the Madison. It is not happening yet but large numbers of nymphs are starting to stage under rocks near the banks and there will always be a couple early emerging stones. Thats mother natures hedge for survival.
NOTE: Madison County has started work on replacing Blaines Spring Bridge and the Varney Bridge will be next. This means that Varney fishing access site cannot be reached by the west side (Varney Road). It can be reached by the 287 Highway side just north of the town of Cameron. Anyone self shuttling from Varney Bridge to 8 Mile Ford or Burnt Tree will have a long shuttle to do.
Keep your tip up!
Montana Fish Man