Although this week has felt like Spring, winter is still in full swing over here on the Upper Madison River. Luckily for us that means plenty of elbow room on the river.
This can be one of our favorite times of the year to fish solely due to the solitude that can be had on the river. As far as fishing goes cold water pushes trout into deep slow runs often found behind boulders and elbow bends. Fish stack up in places like these and pods can often be found in the hundreds.
Fishing stonefly, midge, egg, and worm patterns make nymphing an easy bet while the ambitious large trout could chase a streamer. However, during this time of year fish do not like to move a whole lot. So be prepared to change the depth of your rig often by adjusting your indicator and adding/removing split shot.
On warmer days where there is no wind (which doesn’t happen often), fish can be found slurping midge clusters on the surface. Small Mating Midge and Griffith’s Gnat patterns will get the job done in these circumstances. Patience is key when throwing dry flie
s this time of year. Fish don’t like to move much and when they do, their eat is extra slow. Waiting an extra half second on your hook set could be key. This time of year, cloud cover is key. Fish are in this lethargic state the last thing they want to do is look straight into a hot sun. I mean would you want to look straight into the sun after waking up from a long nap?
Be Careful out There
Another thing to be aware of is large chunks of ice that may have broken off upstream. These ice barges can prove dangerous especially if you aren’t paying attention. Being aware on the river is even more important this time of year as any slip or fall could end up in a potentially hazardous situation. Bringing along an extra set of dry cold weather clothes and fishing with a partner is highly recommended if you choose to reap the benefits of winter fishing on the Madison river. After all there is plenty of room to spread out this time of year.