Hebgen Dam 1120cfs
Kirby Place 1160cfs
Varney Bridge 1260cfs
Lower Madison 1700cfs
Good size trout coming up to eat big dries on the Madison River in the last days of March? While not unheard of, is a bit of an April fools joke. We tried and tried and tried and only got a couple of fish to look at it. While that title line is not entirely truthful because they are not really “hittin dries” yet we did get a couple to swipe at it. Since it is April 1st, I thought a little stretch of the truth might be in order.
More importantly fish are taking droppers under said dry flies and that always marks the turning point for many of here on the upper Madison River. That turning point is that fish are starting to come out of their winter slumbers and will be looking up before we know it. It is a time to be able to put away the bobbers more often and tie a dry fly on that will float a nymph. Are we still nymph fishing? Sure. Are we one step closer to dry fly fishing. You bet. I have nothing against nymph fishing, or bobber fishing for that matter. I do them both most of the winter and early spring. They are great ways to catch some fish on all those days that are cold and wintery and fish won’t move to eat anything. I am always hopeful and I look forward to the time when we can start the process of fishing and catching fish on dries. Or at least under them for the time being.
The boat ramp situation on the Upper Madison has changed a little since the last post. Still snow on the south end of the Madison Valley. Lyons bridge still has snow. but a boat can be launched there with some creative thinking. Windy Point is accessible. Palisades still has a monster drift in the road and is out. Ruby Creek, MacAtee Bridge, Story Ditch, Varney Bridge and 8 Mile Ford are all doable to take a boat in and out. Burnt Tree Hole has a giant chunks of ice in the ramp and will likely be another week or more unless FWP comes in with a front loader and pushes the ice into the river. Ennis FAS and Valley Garden FAS still remain locked up in ice and will be fro some time. another couple weeks for Valley Garden maybe. Do not take any of this for gospel as conditions change. Please check for yourself that what you would like to do is possible.
Construction and replacement work on Vanrey Bridge began officially on Friday the 29th. Like the Spring Creek bridge a couple years ago the Varney Bridge is being replaced a with a newer wider bridge to support emergency vehicles and relate the 122 year old bridge that is in poor shape. The new bridge is badly needed but it does not make it any less sad to loose such an iconic piece of Madison River history. So it goes. Change happens but water keeps running down hill and will hopefully flow under this new bridge for another 122 years. If you’d like updates on this process you can follow the link to the Montana DOT Varney Bridge website.
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Keep you tip up!