Madison River Fishing Report – A Snowy End to a Warm Dry Spell

Should’ve Been Here Last Week

The rumors are true, the Madison River fished absolutely lights out last week. We received some purely awesome Madison River fishing reports. With temperatures reaching the mid 60’s multiple days in a row, the sun brought out skwalas, blue wings, and plenty of midges. Sending trout into a feeding frenzy. Many dry fly angler’s claimed success on skwala dries, while others said some midge hatches up high were as thick as a blanket. Water temps last week finally reached that magical 50 degrees for streamer fishing. This again proved to be the perfect temp as there were many follows, grabs, and large fish brought to the boat. The nymphing game has been absurd. The only bug we’ve needed is a pat’s rubberlegs; however, multiple picky fish have been gorging themselves on Blue Winged Olive flavored perdigons. With a severe weather change this week the fish may get thrown off and bunker down. It will be tough to say what the bug life will be this week with negative temps and multiple feet… yes feet of snow in the forecast.

A Snowy Answer to Our Prayers

Finally….! Precipitation is in the forecast and knock on wood, a lot of it. Overnight town received around a foot of snow, while there are reports that higher elevations received multiple feet. This may be bad news for those trying to fish this week, but for everyone coming this summer it is truly what we needed. While the Madison River drainage still sits below average in snowfall. We are hoping that this storm sets a chain reaction to a wet end of April through May. We have a saying around here “Spring snow days equal Summer dry fly days”. All we can do is pray for more of it.

Low Water Redds

For those of you who are walk wading or even trying to float on the Madison, we have to advise you about our current low water situation. Due to Northwestern energy holding water in Hebgen lake to help with summer flows. The Madison as of this morning is running around 570 CFS. The lowest some of us have ever seen our water way. This low water stretch is also hitting right in the middle of our rainbow trout spawn. This low water will cause large numbers of fish to stack up in deeper pockets of water. While easy targets, we urge you to look above these pockets of water to see if these fish are actively spawning. To put it simple there are redds everywhere right now. If these fish are sitting directly behind a redd please make the decision to fish elsewhere as these fish are in an incredibly delicate stage of their reproductive cycle. If you are unfamiliar with what a redd is or what it looks like please take some time to educate yourself. We also ask that you fish with an angler that can show you what these fragile pieces of our fishery look like. Here is a great article by Hatch magazine on how to identify and stay away from trout redds. 

An Unpredictable and Possibly Killer Week to Fish

If you are just now arriving in the area.  Or if you have no choice but to fish because Bridger Bowl Ski Area already closed. Then worry not, here is what we’d be using on the Madison. Most likely, nymphing will be the name of the game for the rest of the week. Luckily it is still Spring, arguably when the Madison River’s fishing its best. Stonefly patterns are still going to be the ticket right now. Pat’s rubberlegs, Mega Princes, and Stonefly Candy are great options as a top fly. While smaller perdigons, green machines, and other baetis patterns will be deadly as your bottom fly. There is a chance that this precipitation will dirty the water a little bit. If this is this case it will be hard to beat a stonefly/worm 1..2 punch. If nymphing isn’t your cup of tea then either dead drifting or slow stripping streamers could be a good option for going after big fish. Flashy was the ticket with the high sun last week, but with cloudy overcast days try an olive sculpin or white baitfish pattern. For the dry fly angler it will be tough with lot’s of wind in the forecast this week. Look on the edge pockets for midge and bwo hatches. Three dollar area will be your best bet at getting any action on top.

Fishing Reports and Trips

  • Fishing Reports

  • Want to know the most up-to-date information to find where the fish are biting? The Tackle Shop Fishing Reports provide you with a comprehensive look at current water conditions, recent hatches and flow data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

  • View Reports
  • Float Trips

  • The Tackle Shop offers a range of full-day and half-day float trips in the Madison River Valley area. The trips are all-inclusive and cover files, rods, reels, waders and boots. Leave your worries behind and let us give you the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

  • View Trips
  • Walk/Wade Trips

  • Enjoy one of our full-day or half-day walk and wade trips for a more immersive, slower-paced fly fishing experience. The Tackle Shop will cater to your individual needs so you are able to take in the sights and sounds of the best waters in Montana.

  • View Trips
Scroll to Top