The Tackle Shop has been named The Orvis' 2017 Outfitter of the Year!

Fishing Report Upper Madison River 5-7-2016

Fishing Report Upper Madison River 5-7-2016

Fishing Conditions

It is that time of year again when the brown water of spring hits us all. We have had the clock ticking for several weeks and not the alarm has sounded. We are seeing run off conditions in the Madison River right now and the water is off colored most of the way. The river is currently running at 2110 cfs at Varney this is almost double what it was just a week ago. If you are still looking to get bent and catch some fish there are some options. I would concentrate on fishing from slide in to Lyons bridge and between the lakes. These are above most of the mud pumping tribs. Sooner or later Cabin and Beaver Creek will make this section off colored but for right now it is good to go. I would fish the standard spring stuff of stone fly nymphs, caddis emergers and may fly nymphs. Most of the guys staying bent all day are bobber lobbers so go with the crowd on this one. If your looking for dry fly fishing there is still hope. Get up around $3 bridge in the afternoons or evenings on non windy days and you should see fish rising in the slicks to march browns, caddis and BWO. These will be hard to spot so keep a good look out. Targets will be scattered so if you find a pod stay on them because the next pod of risers might be quite a way's. Streamer guys this is your time to fish the Madison River. Fish are on the feed in hight off colored water and streamer fishing is at its prime. We have been having the best luck on olive and white colors. Also the sculpin imitations and sparkle minnow has been the ticket. How long will this run off last and how long will the main river stay dirty is anyones guess. I am betting a little cooler weather ill clean up the river and make it fishable in a week or so.

Fly Patterns


Peacock Caddis 14, Bugmeister 14, Purple Haze 14, Para Dancing Caddis 14, Para BWO 14, Extended Body March Brown 12, Chubby Olive 14, Chubby Tan 14


Pats rubber leg in black, olive or brown 6-10, Hurless stone 6-12, Mega Prince 6-10, Soft Hackle Purple Lightning Bug 14, CDC Baby 12, Green Machine 14, San Juan Worm Red 10, Lazer Worm 10, Plan B 10, Gummy Worm 10, Lime Juice 14, CDC Prince 14, Psyco Prince 14, FKA Prince 12, Psyco May Olive 14


Trevors Olive 4, Mini Loop Olive 4, Exaspirator Olive 4, Sculpzilla Olive or White 4, Shelia 4, Banjo Bugger 6, Sparkle Minnow Sculpin 6, Sparkle Minnow White 6, Trash Can Sculpin Olive 6, Hay Maker Olive 4

More Info

USGS flow information


Shuttle Services:

Meadowlark Shuttles


Dorothy’s Shuttle Service
Quake to Ennis Lake

John Way Posted by John Way

Guide, Outfitter and chief bottle washer for the Tackle Shop.  Recently developing his inter web ninja skills. 

Products related to this article



Recon 6-weight 9'6

Recon 6-weight 9'6" Fly Rod

3¼ oz. 9'6", 4-piece fly rod for 6-wt. line.Recon teams a high-performance, fast action feel with light swing weight. With close-in loading prowess and the power for longer reach, Recon rods boast a completely new ferrule design, a modern shadow green blank, and covert black nickel hardware and reel seats. Proudly made..


Related Articles

Here is a great video that Guide Bill Youngs and I help film for Southwest Montana Tourism association.   Some great views of the Madison River.  ..
0 comments on this article - view comments
Making the Most of your First Fly Fishing Trip to Montana

Each year thousands of people make the trek from each and every state and other countries for their first fishing trip to Montana. They have been lured by numerous magazine articles, blog posts, tales and stories from the in the know crowd and they depart for Montana ready to land two foot trout and pay a pilgrimage to the holy water. 

Five Montana Fly Fishing Taboos you should Break

Fly fishing has become an almost color by number sport. Go to X spot tie this fly on this leader and cast here to get fish. This myth has been perpetuated by the big gear manufacturers as well as the outfitting and shop industry as a whole

0 comments on this article - view comments
Wednesday Wanderings and other Muddy River fishing Ideas.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the week. The guessers are saying that we will get back into the 60 and lower 70 for a few days before the next little disturbance comes in over the weekend. Be aware they are saying just light rain and cooler. Sound familiar? Expect to see the main Madison get back into somewhat fishable state if they are right. Pretty typical spring weather for us.

0 comments on this article - view comments

0 Comments To "Fishing Report Upper Madison River 5-7-2016"

Write a comment

Your Name:
Enter the code in the box below:
Your Comment:
Note: HTML is not translated!