Winter can be a great time of year for some. With hunting season coming to a close most of us retreat to the den and spend our time sipping whiskey next to the fire, dreaming of our next adventure in the great outdoors. Some dreams wonder towards fishing. For most the dreams are a far off reminder of fish that got away and the need to chase after them. However there are some that decide that the dreams can be reality and they dust off their fly rods and head out braving the winter weather. The Madison river is one of those places where you can chase that dream.
Fishing the winter means a change in tactics. The water is cold and the fish will be pretty lethargic. So you must really slow down your presentation and concentrate your fishing time to areas that the fish can be without using up much need energy. Winter fishing requires anglers to look for areas that are slower and deeper than the rest of the river where food can come to the fish without them having to waste energy to be there. Once you find that spot it might take a couple of cast through that area to find a fish but if you find one there will likely be more.
Gone are the days of summer with it's plethora of hatches so fly section becomes pretty simple. Midges,scuds, eggs and worms are the most popular winter flies but plenty of fish have falling for stonefly nymphs, blue wing olives and streamers as well. Wade Anglers will have the advantage in this winter wonderland but wade fishing can be dangerous this time of year. A fall in these frigid water can ruin your day pretty fast. A wading staff can save your day this time of year.
Winter fishing on the Madison river can provide the angler with a lonely serenity that can only be found this time of year. Local wildlife abounds by the river this time of year and the view of the Madison valley in it's winter splendor is something to behold. So get out of that recliner, put the whiskey down (or take it with you, a nip on the river can brighten your day). Dress warm ,good base layers and hand warmers are a must. Dust off your fishing gear and get out and chase those dreams.