March 2, 2014
In like a lion and out like a lamb. This is an age old saying for the month of March. The first part is at least proving true this year. Let's all hope the remainder is true as well.
Like the above saying the fishing does get significantly better as the month rolls along. The general warming trend energizes the fish to come out of winter mode and start eating in earnest again. One needs to remember that the upper Madison above McAtee Bridge and below the Ennis Bridge to Ennis Lake is now closed to fishing. This will reopen again on May 17. This closure was originally designed to help reduce stress on the rainbow trout that spawn in this area. Also your old 2013 fishing license is not expired. The license year for Fish Wildlife and Parks runs till Feb 28 so if you want to fish this month stop by the shop and pick up a new fishing license.
Concentrate your efforts this month below Ennis Dam in the Bear trap and all the way downstream to Blacks Ford. This area the water temps tend to warm up quicker in the spring. Look for rising fish during the heat of the day to midges. A standard parachute midge or buzz ball in size 16 on a 4X should take all risers. If you're not seeing risers or the dreaded wind is blowing try going sub surface with a standard nymph rig. Start with an olive or brown rubber leg stone fly nymph trailed with a midge larva like a zebra midge. If this is not working try a pink San Juan Worm. Sometimes in the spring the fish will aggressively take the pink worm over all other flies. Why I don't know.
Also remember it is spawning season for rainbow trout and the river will soon be full of eggs again. Try either a pink or flesh colored egg pattern in size 12. I like the Otters soft egg pattern. Also remember that if you notice rainbow spawning leave them alone and let them do their thing. Please do not walk over redds as this can damage the freshly deposited eggs.
March is when the door starts to open for our main fishing season and the fishing gets better day by day. If you're itching to wet a line do it, you might just be surprised by the best fishing you have seen in a while.
We are getting new gear and clothing in the store each day. Stop by and grab your new fishing license and check out the new arrivals.
Click here to monitor Madison River Flow Data
Madison River at West Yellowstone
Madison River Below Hebgen Lake near Grayling, MT
Madison River at the Kirby Ranch near Cameron, MT
Madison River below Ennis Lake near McAllister, MT
February 1 2014
Well it is February and the snow is coming down and all I can think about is fishing. The tug is really a drug. Good news is that there are some great fishing options even in the dead of winter that can satisfy my need.
In the winter it is more a matter of where you fish not what you fish. Great reports are coming in from the Madison in the Bear trap as well as below Warm Springs and upriver near 3 Dollar Bridge. Most guys are nymphing with a combination of a stonefly like a Patts Rubber Leg in size 8 followed by either a zebra midge or other midge imitation all in size 18. Use a 6 ft leader and a 3-4X tippet. If you are not getting down add a small split shot above the first fly. This type of rig has been highly productive in the later afternoon.
The winter midge hatch usually happens about 2 and the fish get on them shortly after that. On a calm day you can see rising fish in the slower water as well in the slicks behind rocks eating midges. Try a buzzball or parachute midge in size 16-18 on 4X and you should take all risers. If you get to the river before the midge hatch try a Otters soft egg in peach or orange or a San Juan Worm in Pink or red. These are great searching patterns this time of year. One angler came in the shop the other day and bought 4 dozen of size 12 Lightning bugs. He tells me he has been killing them on the large Lightning bug recently and needed to restock his box. Although the Lightning bug is a summer staple on the Madison River give it a try during your winter fishing.
Remember one fish caught in the snow of winter is worth 10 in the sun of July. Get out and fish!
December 1, 2013
With the big game hunting season now over, the turkey completely devoured, college football winding down, and the Ennis boys own a championship trophy, now is the time to get back out on the river and enjoy a little alone time in the best place on earth. Most folks give up fishing this time of year and spend time at the mall; this will leave plenty of elbow room for anyone who needs to scratch the itch.
Winter fishing is a pick your day type of affair. Find a sunny day with temps at least 30 and little to no wind. Fish will have moved from the heavy summer riffles you found them in August and are concentrating on the deeper slower holes with less current. This time of year if you find the fish you usually find a bunch. Concentrate on the lower river from Warm Springs downstream as the water temps usually are warmer and ice flow is less of an issue.
Nymphing is the name of the game in December. Each nymph rig should start with a Pats rubber leg stone fly in a size 6. Keep the color dark (brown or black) and use a stout 2X tippet. As a trailer fly try a pink or red San Juan worm, orange laser worm, peach colored egg pattern or a midge larva nymph. Remember the whitefish are spawning this time of year so the trout are seeing a bunch of eggs and will even key on them. If you end up catching a whitefish move directly downstream and find some deeper water and a trout will not be far away.
For those hard core fish bums out there don't let a little cold keep you from getting your December trout on a fly. On the cold windy days get your tree, or Christmas shopping done so on the nice days you can spend it on the river.
Stop by the shop during the Ennis Christmas Stroll and save big on items for the angler on your list. Most everything in the store is on sale now till the first of the year. Also, we are now taking reservations for our spring guide trip special. $325.00 full day guided fishing trips with a warm lunch on the Madison from January 1 till May 1. Get your day booked now as the prime dates fill up fast.
October is here and the last blast of good fishing is upon us. There is no more beautiful time in the Madison Valley than fall. The leaves are turning colors, the first covering of the white stuff lies on Sphinx Mountain, and the brisk mornings just beckon anglers to the river. Most of the crowds of the summer madness are long gone and those you do see on the river keep their distance as solitude is just as important to them as it is to you.
Streamers and nymphs are the name of the game right now. The larger brown trout are making their yearly trek up the river to spawn. The silver sided browns of spring are replaced with the butter yellow spawning colors of fish headed to the party. Most of the larger fish become aggressive and will readily attack any intruder into their space. The streamer game is a fickle one and one that rewards those that experiment. On any given day the fish are looking for Olive, black, yellow, white or natural colored streamers either dead drift, twitched or stripped fast. If you're not getting the response you want change up the size, color, or retrieve. Some of our favorite's streamers of fall are the Exasperator Sculpin, Sculpzilla, or Shelia. Most fish these with a floating line on a short stout leader say 7ft 2X. To double your chances try two streamers of different colors or a trailing nymph of a copper john or prince.
For those nymph-a-holics out there feed it to them and they will eat it. We have been having the best luck lately with a large Pats rubber leg in size 6 or 8 with a Present tail or copper john trailer in size 18. This rig should catch fish all month long. By the end of the month try an egg pattern. Along with the browns, the whitefish are spawning as well and they are a broadcast spawner so the eggs are readily available to waiting trout. We like peach or flesh colored egg patterns in size 14.
For your dry fly guys there is still fish to be had. On overcast days expect a blue winged olive hatch about mid-day. A parachute BWO or even a purple haze in size 16 should do the trick. Also midges will be hatching in large numbers. A high-vis parachute midge in size 20 should get any risers. Concentrate on calmer water behind boulders or on the inside of turns.
Right now the fishing is as good as it gets and you will not see fishing like this till next spring so get out and fish. The largest fish of the year are always caught in October.
Stop by the shop for the latest info, a cup of coffee as well as great end of season deals. Right now 30% off all in stock waders, boots and Costa del Mar sunglasses.
August 1, 2013:
The dog days of summer are upon us and the fishing is still holding in there. The water temps are getting in the critical range during the mid-afternoon to early evening heat so plan your fishing trips for early in the morning and be back in town eating ice cream by 3pm.
The water in the Madison this season has been in a constant state of change thanks to the wild management from PPL. The root of the drastic changes in flow from week to week is this. The Lower Madison below the Bear Trap canyon has been reaching critical temps for trout survival. This forces PPL to pulse flow daily out of Ennis Lake. These pulse flows increase the water volume thereby decreasing the temps slightly. To make up for the loss of water in Ennis Lake they have been raising and lowering the Upper Madison on almost a weekly basis. Flows in July at Kirby have been as low as 695CFS and as high as 1800CFS. I would not expect this to change as we move into August.
The changing water flows make the fishing challenging. There are two simple rules. First, fish like water. Second, fish do not like change it makes them grumpy. If the water is on the rise it kicks lose all the nymphs and sculpin. Try either a sculpin pattern like Shelia, or Montana Mouth Wash, dead drift or a larger stone fly nymph and you should hook up. Trail these with a smaller prince or lightning bug. Remember to keep them dead drift or on a slight swing. We have been catching some really large fish with this technique each time the water volume increases.
For the dry fly guys there is some really good fishing to be had. Right now the nocturnal stone fly is hatching every evening. The fish have been willing to take a chubby, Para-madam x, or tantrum in the mornings. The nocturnal stone hatches at night and is flightless. Check the rocks at rivers edge in the morning and I am sure you can find a few. Also in the mornings there is a nice may fly hatch about 8am. A well floated Parachute Adams or other mayfly pattern will take fish especially in the large slicks behind rocks. A super H&L and a small ant pattern have been getting lots of attention from the fish as of late.
As we move through the month we should start to see an influence from hoppers. We are not sure yet if it is going to be a good hopper season or not but we are due for one. Try a hopper in either peach or tan with an ant trailer.
We have lots of Chubby Chernobyl's, hoppers, and ants in stock in a variety of colors. Also, stop in and check out the new rvis Helios 2 fly rods.
Remember we do FREE Fly fishing classes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:00 am sponsored by Orvis.
July 2, 2013
There is no better place to be in summer than the Madison Valley. Great weather, beautiful surroundings, a one of a kind town and the Madison River makes Ennis the summer fishing destination in Montana.
Currently, the fishing is out of hand on the river. If you like fishing dry flies now is your time. Take your pick of hatches. Salmon flies, Goldens, Yellow Sallies, Sedge, Caddis, PMD's and Drakes will all take fish right now. The real problem is deciding which fly to imitate. Even though the big stone flies are meaty and make a great meal for a trout the real action is in the caddis. We have been having far better luck with a Furminski Caddis or Delektable Caddis than with the larger golden or salmon fly. The great part about this time of year is fish both. Try a Chubby with a caddis dropper and cover all your bases. It is the dry fly time of year and it is almost a sin in Montana to be staring at a bobber fishing nymphs when all this good dry fly fishing is going on.
If a guy must throw nymphs or a dropper off a big dry we have been having the best luck with a green colored caddis emerger as well as soft hackles. Try the Ticket, Lime Juice or a CDC Prince all in a size 14 and you should have no trouble getting bent. If you must nymph try a rubber leg stone fly with a caddis emerger behind. Also keep a look out for larger mayflies. We noticed these larger drakes the other day, switched to a gold lightning bug and beat them up.
The river is really low right now thanks to the infinite miss-management wisdom of PPL. This is good for the wade fisherman out there. It is easy wading river wide. Actually we have June Hatches with August water levels. If you can get here now do it.
Get out and fish them head to Ennis for the 4th of July parade and rodeo. We now are a dealer for Costa del Mar sunglasses, Redington Rods, and Tilley hats.
The dry and almost desert like weather we have been experiencing for the majority of the spring has been remedied in the last three weeks. It has rained almost every day and for the month of May we have received 2.39 inches of precipitation in Ennis. Just a few short weeks ago the hills were brown with increasing fire danger, today they can be mistaken for the lush green hills of Ireland.
All of this moisture and cool temps has caused our snow pack to come out slow and steady as well as keep the river fishable all month long. If we get a few days in the high 70's or above we are sure to see a pulse in the flow and a decrease in clarity. How long this will last and the severity is anyone's guess at this point. br>
The Madison has been in good shape and the fishing has been excellent so far. The color is the perfect bugger green with 1-2 feet of visibility. Barring any blow outs the Madison should continue to fish good with both streamers and nymphs for the foreseeable future. Steamers like Grand Master Flash, the Banjo Bugger, and Montana Mouth Wash have been producing some really great fish. Most have been taking on the slow twitch or swing. They want it in their face and do not want to chase. Slow down your retrieve and swing it a little. br>
The Nymph fishing has just been out of this world. As one well respected river guide says "Embrace the Girdle Bug". Anything with a dark body and rubber legs has been out producing any other technique 3 to 1. Fish these on a stout 1X leader 5-6 feet behind an indicator and get ready. If you want to switch it up try a San Juan, Prince, Formally Known As, or a Copper John all have been taking fish but the Girdle Bug is king. br>
The Hatch is Coming, The Hatch is coming!! The hatch of the season the Salmon Fly's is right around the corner. Many of the stone fly nymphs are starting their migration to the banks right now. This is why the fish are so keyed on the girdle bugs. We can expect to see adult salmon fly's sometime around the end of the month. I am sticking with my date of June 20 for bugs in the town stretch. We will keep you posted. In the meantime get out and catch a bunch of fish. There is relatively know body on the water and the fishing is really good. br>
We now have Costa Del Mar Sunglasses in stock. Known the world over as the best fishing eyewear around.
Madison River Fishing Report April 1, 2013
If I had two months a year to fish in Montana it would most certainly be April and October. The thing I like about April in Montana is the wide variety of outdoor activity. As I sit here in the shop watching Main Street, three trucks pulling drift boats just went by followed by three with skis on the roof and two pulling snowmobiles. Whatever you're outdoor vice is April is the month they all come together. r>
The fishing right now on the Madison is really good. Throw any stonefly nymph and San Juan combo 6 feet behind an indicator and get ready to get bent. It's that good. Our fist stone fly hatch of the year the kwala is just starting to make an appearance and the nymphs are migrating from the center of the river to the banks. Turn over a few rocks along the banks and your will find a handful of creepy looking stonefly nymphs getting ready to hatch. Our best luck has been with the speckled leg girdle bug in a tan body with speckled white and black legs. Try a size 8 on 3X. If you're not tapping the bottom every few casts add a little weight.
If the weather stays nice all those nymphs should start to hatch shortly. The fish will take notice and a guy can fish a dry stonefly with good success. Right now look for the soft water on the inside of bends and in the slick behind big rocks. Those rising right now will be to midges and any small midge pattern like the Hi Vis parachute will take them. If your floating try a small chubby with a green or tan body and hang a prince nymph dropper 2 feet.
On cloudy days look for hatches of blue winged olives. Little sailboat mayflies will get the fish looking up and prefer overcast days with some rain.
As the month rolls along keep a look out for the famed Mother's Day Caddis. Usually they start hatching when the water warms up around the first of May. Just prior to the hatch an olive caddis pupae in size 12-14 will get the job done.
Now is the time, get out and fish. There is lots of elbow room and the fishing is really good.
We are still running our Spring Float Trip Special of $300 full day guided float trips for two the entire month of April. Lots of folks taking advantage and catching some really nice fish.
Madison River Fishing Report for March 1
It's all about to start here on the Madison.
If you have been putting off that first fishing trip of the year now is the time to get out there. March can be a great month to fish and one can expect increasingly good fishing as the month rolls along. Temps above 50 degrees, longer days, hungry willing trout, and a little touch of cabin fever from the long winter all combine to make the spring our favorite time of the year to fish.
All those fine tippets and small flies of late summer are gone now you can almost use rope thick enough to anchor your drift boat. Start with 2X to the first fly of a large rubber legs stone fly nymph and follow behind with 3X to either a prince, copper john or pink san juan add water and your good to go.
Remember that the fish are still in their winter lies so spend more time in the deep slow stuff and less time in the fast riffles. The key this time of the year is getting it down to their level. If you are not tapping the bottom every other cast you are not in the game. Add a split shot either between the two flies or ahead of the first fly and try again. The fish are there and eager to eat they just need to see it at their level.
If you're looking for dry fly fishing keep an eye out for both Midges and Blue Winged Olives. These hatches should start around mid-month and will surely pull a few heads to the surface. Also keep an eye out for the Skwala and Nmora stone fly. These will start hatching here on the Madison sometime in March and once the fish see a few it is game on for the remainder of the spring season.
As always stop by the shop or give us a call for up to the second report. Also, lots of folks are taking advantage of the $300 Full Day Guided Spring Special. Some really good dates are still available between now and the end of April. Give us a call, save a few bucks and catch a few fish.
Remember: SPRING GUIDED FISHING SPECIAL:
We are offering $300 Madison River Full Day float trips from February 15 till April 30
Madison River February 2013 Fishing Report:
February 1, 2013
We are halfway into winter and our snow pack is in really good shape. We are sitting above average for the Madison River Basin and it is currently snowing. If we can maintain this we will be set up for another great year of fishing on the Madison.
Although February is the shortest month of the year it seems to take the longest here in the Madison. The reason being, good weather, great fishing and another busy season is right around the corner come March. That being said if you need to test out the new rod you received for Christmas or you just want to see if the old waders still hold water there are some really great fishing opportunities to be had but, you may need to pick your days.
Find a day with little or no wind and above freezing and you're in luck. Our best reports have been coming from the area between Hebgen and Quake Lake as well as below Ennis Lake at the head of the Beartrap Canyon all the way to 3 forks.
If you're headed between the lakes try nymphing standard midge stuff. Zebra midges, Brassies and Serendipity on a 4X leader with a bunch of lead. If that is not working try an egg pattern with a San Juan behind.
If your headed below Ennis Lake Crayfish imitations such as the Banjo Craw, TS Yuk Bug, Mohair Craw or a standard Brown Pats Rubber Legg all in size 8 followed by a Pink Paris Hilton Worm, or peach colored egg on a 3X tippet. The fish have been found in the standard winter water, slack and deep as well as the inside seams. Many of our guides have been fishing down there and really beating them up on these rigs.
Get out and fish on the good days and remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The fabulous spring fishing is a coming up fast. As always give a call or stop by the shop for the latest report.
January, Madison River Fishing Report:
Well it is finally 2013 and we are off to a new year on the Madison. Our snow pack is looking good as of right now and will hopefully continue that way for the remainder of the winter. If you are trying to scratch the itch and catch the first fish of the new year like I am, you are in luck. There is definitely good opportunity out there to catch a few fish.
I would suggest staying sub surface with the standard Madison bugs. I would try a large stone fly nymph with lots of rubber legs. A Pats, banjo bugger, or similar variety in brown, olive or black is a good lead fly. Behind it try either a pink, peach or green egg pattern in size 12. We have been having the best luck with the soft eggs as a trailer. The fish are keying on the remaining spawning whitefish and are devouring the eggs. Remember whitefish are broadcast spawners so there are lots of eggs floating around the Madison right now. If this does not work try the old winter stand-by of a pink San Juan worm. Also give your sub surface midge larva a shot as fish will be keying on these for the months to come. No need going super sneaky as a 3X tippet is plenty fine this time of year.
If you find a place where you are picking up a bunch of white fish you are in luck. Move directly downstream about 50 yards and you should be into the rainbows. Look for shallow gravely shelves about 2-3 feet deep.
The entire river is fishing but concentrate on likely spawning areas above Ennis in the channels to Varney and between the lakes. On warmer days when the wind is not blowing nuclear look for a few heads rising to midges in the slicks of rocks and in the soft inside seams on turns.
As always stop by the shop for the latest report and a hot cup of coffee.
December 1, 2012
With hunting season finally over and Christmas fast approaching we can finally turn attention back to what is most important fishing. With the warmer weather we have been having as of late there are still some very real fish catching opportunities on the Madison.
If you need to scratch the itch and catch a few fish the river between Hebgen and Quake Lake may still be your best chance. We have been getting reports of people doing well with small egg patterns, red san juan worms and rubber legg stone fly nymphs. Fish these deep with the help of a little weight and and indicator on no less than a 4X tippet. There are still some really big fish in the system from the fall Brown Trout spawning season so meeting brother two foot is not out of the question.
Another good place to try would be the lower river below the Bear Trap Canyon. Try the old standby's rubber leg stone fly nymphs, and red San Juan but also try your winter midge larva patterns in red and pink. Keep your eyes out on warm days with no wind for a few heads looking for midges.
If you need to get out stop by the shop and grab a cup of coffee and we can point you in the right direction. We also have great Christmas specials. Not sure what to get the fisherman on your list try a Tackle Shop gift card. For every $50 gift card purchased before Christmas we will add an additional $10 to the certificate.
Most of all have fun and get out and fish.
October 1, 2012
Fall is here in full force. The leaves on the aspen and cottonwood are bright yellow, the river has cooled enough so that wet wading is not a great option unless you're a walrus, and the large angry brown trout have started their pre-spawning movement. All good signs if you're a fisherman on the Madison River.
We have been having better luck dredging up large angry brown trout between Varney Bridge and Ennis Lake lately than up above. We have been finding these fish everywhere from 2" of water right into those deep green bottomless holes below Varney. If the sun is out they have preferred a Zonker in size 6 dead drift, tight line, or twitched with a shiny bead head nymph trailing. If it is overcast they have preferred it on the strip and like more feather based streamers like the double screamer, or the original screamer. Olive sculpin patterns have also been flying out of the shop in the last week. These big bugs do not require any subtle tactics and 2X is usually the norm.
If you want to nymph you can stay bent most of the sunny afternoons on a pats rubber leg, and any beatis looking nymph. We have been selling lots of RS2, the wonder baetis, and panty dropper baetis. If the wind stays down and it is overcast look for a few risers in the slicks and any slack water. Also, the evening rise has been really good on standard parachute baetis patterns.
We have been getting almost summer like weather the past few weeks. If you believe the weatherman we are in for a change. This will mean good things for the fishing. If we get the overcast, rainy, snowy weather they are forecasting the streamer and Blue wing bit will be on. This could mean epic fishing in the next week to 10 days.
Get out and fish.
August 28, 2012
The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler and that is starting to drive the water temps down. Most days the water temps are staying in the normal range.
Nymphing and sub-surface has been the primary fish getter of late. Try a green or tan Pats below an indicator on 4X with a lightning bug, sparkle prince, or serendipity. Many of the fish are being caught in a lot more shallow water than a person expects.
Streamer fishing is either hit or miss. On cloudy days it can be very good. Sculpin patterns have been the major producer. Try a wool head, sculpzilla, pearl zonker, or Shelia in olive or black on a slow twitch or tight line from the bank. Throw a small bead head behind to double your chances. Some really big fish have been taken this way.
If a guy was going to fish dry try a small hopper either a pantie dropper, more or less or a small chubby with an ant trailer. The ants of late have been the ticket with the majority of the fish coming to a red Para humpy, power ant, Para-royal, or Para- ant. These need to be fished dead drift on 5X. Also, the drowned bead ant has been a guide's favorite. Fish this on 5X as a dropper and be ready for subtle takes.
Ennis on the Madison Fly Fishing Festival this weekend.
August 14, 2012
The Madison River continues to fish well especially in the mornings and evenings. If we end up getting the forecasted cool down the river should continue to fish all month.
Sporadic mayflies are hatching during the day especially in the morning before 11 am. A parachute adams, purple haze or purple rooster will take all lookers. Try it in a size 14 or 16 on at least 4X. There is a good spinner fall in the evenings if the wind is not a factor. Try an indicator spinner in size 16 on 5X with a long tippet.
There are still a few nocturnal stone fly's around so a chubby in size 10 will work during the day. Also try nymphing a green or tan pats during the heat of the day to imitate the nocturnal nymph. Trail a beaver hole special or lightning bug and you will stay bent all day.
There are a few hoppers around and fish have been eating smaller hopper imitations possibly as a stone fly during the mornings. Try trailing a red or black ant. The fish are eating the ant 2 to 1 over the hopper right now. Try a small parachute ant, power ant or our favorite the parachute royal as a searching pattern.
There has been a bunch of big fish being taken in the mornings on bunny fur. Try tight lining a shelia, olive sculpin, or zonker followed by a small nymph and get ready to catch the biggest fish of the day. Just throw it out there especially in the middle and let it hunt. Don't mend a little drag is key. Takes are usually violent and sudden.
Keep track of the water temps especially on hot days. Once the river hits 70 stop fishing until the evening. This should be less of an issue as nights are starting to get cooler and longer and the water temps should start to trend lower in the next week or so.
Get out and Fish! John
August 1, 2012
The fishing has stayed somewhat consistent even through the dog days we have been having. The flow on the river is great right now with more water than expected. PPL is trying to completely fill Ennis Lake so they are pushing water from Hebgen down river. This is an added bonus for us fisherman.
Hoppers and Ants: We have started to catch a few fish on hoppers in the last few days. Each day is seems like there are more and more hoppers on the river bank. Give this another week or so and it may be epic. If you want to fish terrestrials try a small size 12 foam hopper with a red ant behind for a searching rig. Fish this on 4X and concentrate away from the banks.
There is a good may fly hatch each morning and a parachute adams, para-rooster or purple haze will take all risers in a size 14 or 16. You can continue to fish this through the day as the fish continue to look for it. We have been having good luck with a royal parachute in size 16.
There are still a few nocturnal stone fly's around. Try a large size 10 or 8 golden in the morning mostly in the big riffles and center of the river. This has been producing a few really big fish.
Caddis are still a force on the river. Try fishing pupae all day, emerger starting at 5P.M. and dry's sometime after 7. We have been having the most luck on the royal caddis dry and the G6 emerger both fished on 4X.
Nymphing has continued to be the bread and butter at least for the heat of the day. Try a large size 4 pats rubber leg or zonker as your lead fly on a 3X tippet. Follow this with a lightning bug, lucent, or batman and fish down the center of the river. The fish are definitely in the heavier water this time of year so get it down and they will eat it.
Our best fishing has been between 6 A.M. and say 1 P.M. and then again after 7. Typical mid-summer schedule.
Get out and fish. Check out our Facebook for up to the minute river changes and weekly NET-FLIX video's.
July 27, 2012
Mid-Summer on the Madison River:
With all the heat we have been having the Madison has maintained a good flow level and somewhat cool water temps. Temps can push up near the 70 degree mark on the really hot afternoons but each clear cloudless night cools the river off to 61 in the morning. The rains showers have given a nice little boost to the river and fishing.
In the morning you will see swarms of Trico's over the river bank. The fish have not keyed on these small insects. About 9:30 you will notice a bunch of larger size 14 mayflies and the fish have really been keying on them. Try a parachute adams, purple haze or parachute pheasant tail and you will score on most of the fish looking up. Run this on a 5X tippet to get a good drift.
The spruce moth thing is just now getting going. We caught some fish on spruce moth patterns the other morning on the upper river and it is going gang buster in the Bear Trap. Look for these light grey to white moths on the banks. They occasionally fall into the water and the fish will look for them. We expect this to only get better in the next week or two. Try a parachute spruce moth, or large Goddard caddis as well as a small chubby or fat Albert with a pink to orange body to imitate the spruce moth.
Hoppers have yet to make a big impact on the Madison fish. There are getting to be some small hoppers along the green riverbank. The country off the riverbank is really dry so it is just a matter of time till the concentrations of hoppers get high enough along to river for the fish to take notice. Give it another week and things could change.
For someone wanting to go sub-surface an indicator with 6-7 feet of leader and a lightning bug, small red copper john, serendipity, or any flashy P-tail imitation will take fish during the heat of the day. Try a zonker or other small streamer followed by a lightning bug and dead drift or drag it to wake them up mid-day.
Caddis are still a force in the evening. Try emerger starting at 5 pm and dry's after the sun comes off the water. An X-Caddis or Dancing caddis is a good searching pattern any time.
Stop in or check out our FACEBOOK page for the latest and some great underwater Net-Flix videos.
July 17, 2012
Summer on the Madison River. With the afternoon rain and clouds we have been seeing lately the river has stayed cool and fishing well. Even if it is uncomfortable for the fisherman the afternoon showers are a god send to the Madison valley and the river.
Stoneflies are still a good option and a guide's favorite. Try either nymphing a golden stone nymph or a green Pats Rubber leg in size 10 with a Psyco prince, sparkle prince, or lightning bug behind on 4X and you will stay bent. Switch it up to a G6 caddis emerger in the evening around 4pm and you will take advantage of the emerging caddis.
If you are getting no love from the river try dead drifting a small streamer like a #10 zonker or shelia with a bead head flash back hares ear behind. Also, try swinging this rig out from the bank on a tight line and get ready. Strikes are sudden and violent.
For the guys looking to cast dry fly's. Try a chubby in peach or flesh color or a fat frank in size 10-12 and hang a psyco prince or copper john behind. These have been a good choice for the heat of the day. The nocturnal stone has been hatching and the fish are looking for them big time. Keep an eye out in the rocks or on the bushes for these summer nocturnal stones. There are not many of them compared to the Salmon Fly's but the when they are around the fish search them out like candy bars from heaven.
Look for mayflies during the morning and a standard parachute adams, purple haze or parachute p-tail is a good option for a searching pattern and will take all risers.
If you're out in evening the caddis has been making a big impression on the fish. Look for emergers around 4-5 pm and the main hatch starting at 7pm. A tan elk hair caddis, royal caddis, or X-caddis will usually take any players. If you are having a tough time try an elk hair with a CDC emerger behind with about a foot of 5X.
The Madison River is fishing really great so get out and take advantage of it. Stop in or check out the website, www.thetackleshop.com for day to day reports.
July 10, 2012
The Madison River is still fishing really well even in the heat of summer. The great fishing that started sometime around April continues into July. We are experiencing a great year to fish the Madison. On any given day stoneflies, caddis and mayflies will all be on the water at the same time.
Caddis is the king of summer on the Madison and this summer is no exception. Daily hatches of caddis will bring fish to the surface morning and evening. Try and X- Caddis or an elk hair caddis in size 14 on a 4X tippet during the morning or evening hours and you are sure to get bent. Try the same rig as a searching pattern during the day. If you see really splashy rises the fish are taking emerging caddis. Try a soft hackle or other emerger and put a little movement on it. The emerger has been our key to success the last few days.
There has been a smaller mayfly emerging during the mornings especially if we get a few clouds. If you see a few of these sailboats floating by try a size 14 parachute Adams, purple haze or parachute pheasant tail on 4X. When there are mayfly's around the fish tend to prefer them over the caddis and a parachute makes a great searching pattern.
There are still a few golden and yellow sally stone flies around and the fish are still keyed into them especially in the morning. Try a yellow sally or small parachute madam X on 4X and drop a small nymph off the back. Keep a look out on the bushes and rocks for nocturnal golden. These hatch and are active at night but the fish are continually on the lookout for them.
During the heat of the day nymphing is the key to staying bent. Try a small golden stone nymph with a psyco prince, batman, lightning bug or caddis pupae behind. Fish these with no split shot and 5 feet from an indicator. You can still get away with 3X to the first bug. Concentrate on the deeper water in the center of the river and any green colored buckets.
It does not get any better than this summer fishing on the Madison so get out and fish.
June 27, 2012
The Madison is still fishing well and the big bugs of early summer are still around. The main Salmon Fly Hatch has now progressed upstream and you can expect to see them anywhere from Varney to Windy Point. The summer golden stone has been coming on strong behind the salmon fly and our better luck is with a smaller salmon or golden. We have been fishing Dog Puke, bullet heads and Para-madam X orange with great success. The fish are still willing to eat on a thicker tippet and 3X to the first bug has been the norm. Try dropping either a caddis emerger or yellow Sallie nymph behind.
You will be most successful during the heat of the day nymphing a stone fly nymph and a yellow Sallie nymph. We like Kyle's Golden in size 10 or a Peacock Double Bead stonefly with a Psyco Prince Yellow or Robin as a trailer. We have been having the most luck fishing these with no additional weight and about 6 feet of leader from the indicator.
It would not be summer without Caddis and they are making a huge impression on the fish. Late evenings or early mornings the fish have been keying on Caddis big time. Try a standard elk hair caddis or a Thunder dome with a G6 emerger or other soft hackle behind it.
Our best fishing the past few days has been either from daylight till about 11 in the morning then again after 7pm. The bright sun and nuclear wind has been making it tough for fisherman and fish both. The Caddis hatches in the evening have been epic starting around 7pm when the wind dies down. They will still look for the caddis or the emerger especially in the morning and somewhat most of the day so it is always a good bet to try. The fish have moved off the banks and into their summer positions. Look for them in knee to waist deep riffles out from the bank and mid river has been producing big time.
June 19, 2012
Its Salmon Fly time on the Madison River!
The bug, the myth the legend the elusive salmon fly is making its yearly appearance on the Madison River. Good numbers of bugs have been spotted in the channels section of the Madison River below the Ennis Town Bridge. A few have been spotted upstream of the bridge. Remember it takes two to make an official hatch.
As this hatch progresses slowly upstream you will encounter mind blowing dry fly fishing at the peak of the emergence. Upstream from the point of the main hatch plan on fishing stonefly nymphs tight to the bank as the fish are keying on the migrating insects staging to hatch. If you are below the main hatch keep fishing a dry as the fish have pattern hang over for several weeks and will still be looking for these T-Bones from heaven. Also remember the golden stones will hatch at the same time and following the Salmon Fly's so try a golden stone pattern. Frequently the fish will switch over to the more abundant goldens shortly after the salmon flies are gone.
If you happen to hit the main hatch fish a Cat Puke, Dog Vomit, Dark Night, or any other floating orange imitation on a good stout leader of 7 ½ foot 3X. You will need something this short to easily turn over the big fly. Also try a Keller's Floaty Bitch Salmon behind your dry as a sunken salmon fly.
Like a Yeti sighting the Salmon Fly hatch doesn't last long and can sometimes be elusive to find. Stop in the shop or give us a call and we can help you out on what to fish and where the hatch has progressed.
It is a great time to be in Ennis and on the Madison River. The river has been dropping and clearing the past few days and has turned the happy bugger green color. The fishing is good now and only going to get better over the next few weeks.
Lately, we have been in streamer madness. The bigger the better especially on cloudy overcast days. Some days they want the black and some days they want the olive. We have been having luck with Powell's Bunny Sculpin, wool head sculpin and sculpin buggers. These are all size 4 or 6 and need to be fished on no less than 2X. Fish have preferred the slow twitch to any other retrieve method.
The fish have been hanging mostly in the slower softer water next to the banks and in the eddy and slicks behind big boulders.
If the streamer thing does not work for you try a Madison River happy meal combo of Pats brown rubber leg in a size 6 and a pink San Juan trailer. The salmon fly nymphs are starting to migrate to the bank in preparation to hatch and the fish have really taken notice. Also keep your eye open for a few risers way down the slicks behind rocks. If you see them a standard Parachute Adams will usually get them to eat.
We are getting into the best time of year to fish the Madison River. The salmon flies are coming and we will have great water conditions this year to f
May 28, 2012
If you're in to fishing sub surface the Madison River is fishing about as well right now as you are going to see it all season. For those of you who were brave enough to go out and fish the last few days in the rain, wind, and snow you know what I mean.
The ticket to success right now at least on the upper river below Lyons Bridge has been pick a stone fly nymph with rubber legs, add a San Juan worm of your favorite color, hit the wet spot and mend. We have been fishing the Pats rubber leg or an old school black girdle bug in size 4 or 6 on a 2X tippet with a size 10 pink or red San Juan worm behind and just having great success all day. We have been fishing it dead drift except in the slow slicks or anywhere there is a break in the current where we have been twitching.
Yesterday we spent all afternoon stripping and twitching the biggest black streamers we can cast with great success and several large fish. If the action slows down on the nymphs tie on a streamer that resembles a half a chicken and go to work. Check out the picture of one of our guides Mike Elliot with a nice streamer brown.
Also yesterday while floating near the Sun West Ranch we ran into this great Grizzly bear and cub along the river. Remember these big critters are out and about and along the river corridor this time of year. If your wade fishing packing bear spray is not a bad idea.
This window to great fishing on the Madison River is going to close with the next few warm days. This will bring all the new snow and the existing snow pack down and again muddy up the river. We expect this to be relatively short lived and nothing like last year. We should see good fishable water and the elusive Salmon Fly's by the 22 of June.
We are getting new products from Orvis, Simms, Korkers and others daily so stop in the shop and get all the gear you need for the season.
Get out and Fish.
May 18, 2012
Opening day on the Madison River is tomorrow and the river is not in that great of shape. A week of well above average temps has started the runoff and snow melt and all of the smaller creeks are pumping something like Yoohoo. We will by no means see the epic runnoff that we had last year at this time. We just do not have near the snow up high. Today has been rainy and cool and some of the clarity has come back into the river but not much. I check the river under the Ennis bridge a half hour ago and there is almost a foot of clairity.
If you are headed out for the opening day of the Upper Madison River bring plenty of big uglies with rubber leggs and a pound of split shot. I would suggest a black yuk bug or rubber legg with white leggs. They really look for the black and white combo when the water is off color. Pitch them up near the bank and anywhere there is slower water. Also don't forget the worm. San Juan can be a big player during spring fishing. We like the fire truck red with the wire body or the pink.
The color of the lower Madison is slightly better as the mud line has yet to make it across Ennis Lake. We are living on borrowed time down there. I expect the off color water to hit the lower Madison in the next 24 hours. Lately sub serface stuff has been the ticket and the dry's are hit and miss. We have been having luck with Tackle Shop Yuk bugs twitched off the transition between shallow and deep water. These look just like a crayfish and drive the fish nuts. I have had a run in the shop of guys looking for cray fish imitations but still the best is the TS Yuk Bug. The large Yellow Psyco Prince has been getting its share of lower river fish recently. Try dead drift in a size 12 on a 4X and you should be in business.
With the snow coming out fast we are looking at a short and sweet runoff. We are expecting a early salmon fly hatch. Our magic 8 ball says June 22 is the day for Salmon Fly's on the upper river.
As your heading up the river keep in mind the power of high water. Each year people do not respect it and get in trouble this time of year especially in boats. Be safe out there. We are in for a great fishing season and an accident this early will just ruin it.
Stop by the shop on your way fishing and check out some of the new fly's, Simms, Korkers and Dan Baily products.
Get out and Fish
May 4, 2012
With the winter weather on tap for the weekend today is the day to get out and fish the Madison River. The weather experts are saying that they expect snow about 5000 starting tonight and lasting right till Saturday night.
The Madison River is in great shape to fish right now. The best fishing found is on the lower river from the Bear Trap right on downstream. The Mothers day caddis hatch is in full swing and there are lots of heads looking up. We have been having best luck with a soft hackle emerger in the morinings and early afternoons. Try a size 14 hot wire caddis, or just a strait peacock soft hackle. The real key is movement. As the fly passes you lift your rod time so the nymph raises in the water like an emerging caddis. Takes are sudden so I would suggest 4X tippet. Once you start to see some fish looking up try a peacock caddis or mothers day olive caddis in a size 14 and hang a soft hacke behind it. There has been good fish looking up on all afternoons and evenings when the wind is not nuclear.
If your up for the upper river the same old game applies. Try a girdle bug in size 4 and get it down with some lead. Also getting fish is the copper john and the one and only san juan worm. Fishing has slowed on the upper river in the last day or so. We are seeing a few caddis and some BWO's. We expect in the next week after this short shot of winter weather the the fishing on the upper will again rebound as more caddis start to hatch.
If your not into fishing in the snow this weekend stop by the shop for a cup of coffee and check out the new fishing products from Orvis, korkers and Simms or attend the Lyons club auction on Saturday.
Get out and Fish>
April 27, 2012
With the warm almost summer like weather of last week and significant rains the Madison River flows have increase significantly. Places like the west fork of the Madison are now pumping water that more resembles a Yoohoo than a trout stream.
Fishing above town has slowed down considerably. If you are going to go try a black and white rubber legg girdle bug in a size 4 and get it down there with some lead. This has been getting mixed results the past few days.
The better fishing right now is down below the Bear Trap on the lower Madison river. The Mothers day caddis hatch is in full swing. As of yesterday the water was a dark green shade and rising fish in the late afternoon and evening were the norm. If the water stays the same shade this is only going to get better in the next few days.
If you want to go sub surface during the moring and early afternoon try a size 14 bead head hot wire caddis emerger in the hot green color. Fish this on a size 4X and give it some motion as the fish are looking for the emerging and rising caddis. There should be some heads looking up starting about 3 in the afternoon. The standard olive mothers day caddis in the X-Caddis will work just fine.
The weather for the next few days looks like more of the same with colder temps, rain and snow levels dropping. This will improve the color of the water but the colder temps will drastically decrease the number of hatching caddis. Still your best bet in this area right now.
Stop by or give the shop a call for the up to the second report. Also stop by and check out the new products from Simms and Korkers.
Get out and Fish.
April 19, 2012
Come Check out the Madison River:
Right now the Madison River is fishing great. With the warm temps forcasted for the weekend it looks like just the time to scratch that fishing itch you have had all spring. The good folks who control the dam bumped flows about 100 cfs yesterday and put the fishing off for a day or so but by the weekend it should be game on. The rainbows are getting ready to spawn and are stacking up in knee deep riffles between town and Storey Ditch.
The same old stuff is working great. Try a green pats rubber legg in size 6 on a 4X tippet and you will be into Madison River fish most of the day. Try a purple prince dropper off this rig and double your pleasure. The purple prince in size 14 has been getting its share of fish recently. Also try smaller stone patterns as well as Copper Johns, prince nymphs and the dreaded san juan worm will all get your bent.
I have had several folks come in the shop in the last week with pictures and stories of big fish on dry's. All have been fishing skwala patterns and have the pictures to prove their story. They report not many fish rising to the parachute skwala but the fish that do come BIG! If you get tired of the indicator and nymph game try a size 10 parachute skwala. You may just get the biggest fish of the day.
Stop by the shop and check out some of the new inventory from Simms, Orvis and some of the new bugs we have in stock. The coffee is always on.
Get out and fish this weekend it is going to be as beautiful as you can find it for April on the Madison River
April 7, 2012
The Madison is fishing Great!
The Madison River is fishing great right now. Everything from Ennis bridge up to the Mcatee bridge is fishing good. Start your day with the standard spring nymph rig of a pats rubber legg and either a san juan worm or a large copper john. The green Pats has been the ticket for the past few days. We have several reports of fish eating dry skwalla imitations in the afternoons. Try a bullet head or parachute skwalla on non windy days in the afternoon. Several large fish have been caught on drys the past few days. Floating is the best option but remember to get out of the boat and fish the good stuff. The rainbows are in the pre spawn stage and are colored up and activelly feeding. All the fish have wintered well and are in good shape.
If your up for a drive try between the lakes. The fish are moving up from Quake lake to spawn and are really stacking up in this section. Up there the hot fly has been a midge larva. Fish these dead drift under an indicator. Try a three dollar dip, zebra midge or any other sparse midge and get ready to get bent. The only problem is you will not be alone up there.
Stop by the shop and get the latest and hottest nymphs and skwala imitations along with a cup of coffee.
Remember the river between Mcatee and Quake is closed right now.
Get out and fish it does not get much better.
March 15, 2012
Spring is here in Montana and the trout fishing is starting to look up. We have been getting good reports from the lower Madison River below the Bear Trap Canyon. Fish a Pats Rubber Legg Nymph with a San Juan or egg trailer and concentrate on the deeper water. If that does not work try a Copper John or P-Tail in the size 14 range. The bug you are fishing does not matter as much as your persistence this time of year. If you are in fishy water and down near the bottom, keep showing it to them and they will eat it. The big question for the past week is how hard the wind is going to blow. Try to find a day where the wind is at reasonable levels-a daunting task lately.
Stop in the shop for a cup of coffee before or after your trip and we will get you up to date on all the latest reports.
Good luck and get out and fish.