Hebgen Dam 1360 cfs
Kirkby Ranch 1450 cfs
Varney Bridge 1670 cfs
Lower Madison 1910 cfs
Going into the first couple weeks of spring it was obvious that Old Man Winter was dragging his feet a little bit. He didn’t seem to care that we had our first official day of spring and that most everyone wanted a little warmer weather, maybe a sunny warm afternoon to grill and have a beer on the porch with friends. That wasn’t happening. Not on his watch. Although lately is seems as he is taking a hint and spring is really and truly here. How do I know? As I write this it is in the mid 40s outside and raining instead of in the teens and 20s and snowing. We are expected to get some more snow tonight. This may seem like some complaining coming from a guy that makes a living indirectly from what winter brings to the area. That is water. So maybe a bit more like fake complaining because deep down it is exactly what the fish need. Water. I tried a little logic based reasoning the other day when everyone was actually complaining about the 3 inches of new snow covering their boats and garden beds. It went something like this. Fish need water, I need fish, snow is water therefore I need snow. I am not sure that follows the rules of logic as I can’t remember that far back to philosophy classes but it did make me feel better about the whole thing. I always say as an angler I am an optimist and snow pack is like money in the bank or if you’re like me, and angler optimist, like a dream come true.
So whats going on there really. No one really reads this for my waxing poetic right. Its spring out there folks. Like many springs before the fishing can be down right good. Like all fishing it can still give you a slap in face. Water levels or river flows as measured in volume are increasing on most area rivers including the Madison. It is not runoff really(not like most think of it). Just low snow melting mixed with rain mixed with new low snow that melts again so the rivers have more water coming into them. We are getting into the beginning of the cycle we call runoff. Fear not those words though as we are still some time away from the mud and ugly conditions most equate with the word runoff. Just know that now that the cycle has begun it cannot be undone. It may be slowed down with cold or speeded up with heat and rain but it will continue. Water will run down hill. There is no stopping it.
This is all good news as it also means water temperatures are rising, fish are becoming active and we will start to see something familiar. Something we all long to see, bugs and hatches on our local waters. Matt Carey over at Trouts N’at and I spotted some Skwalla stoneflies lower on the river yesterday. I haven’t spotted my first Blue Winged Olives yet but it is still a little early and water temps are still a little too cold. we need another 5-10 degrees warmer water. Don’t get me wrong, I love midges and dirt snakes and eggs and all but I would much rather be throwing dry flies or at least dries with nymphs under them instead of bobbers. Thats just what I like. I made my gal Darci throw the dry dropper the other day and although we didn’t raise any fish the dropper produced and it felt right.
Here at Montana Fish Man we are also gearing up for the upcoming season with some great new items. Unboxing gear in preparation for the new fishing season is always a blast. Some new rods from both Winston and Sage as well as some new reels. I want my clients to enjoy using the best gear and to know that part of providing them with best service I can is to also put the best equipment in their hands. I am excited for my custom reels from Nautilus and will post some pics of those as soon as they arrive. All those great rods and reels mean absolutely nothing without the most important part. Great fly lines. I have been partial to Scientific Anglers fly lines for a long time and I continue to use them on my personal gear and on my clients equipment.
Thanks for tuning in and we will see you on the water.
Keep your tip up!
Montana Fish Man