Brown Trout · Ennis, Montana · fly fishing · Madison River · Runoff · Snow PAck · Spring Fishing

On Again, Off Again, On Again…Madison River Report 6/13

Hebgen Dam 1140 cfs

Old Kirby Place 1890 cfs

Varney Bridge 3190 cfs

Lower Madison 3120 cfs

Runoff…It’s on again. At least for a time. There is still more than average amount snow in the Madison drainage for this time of year. With daytime highs reaching into the high 70s and low 80s the Madison is seeing another rise in water volume and will loose some visibility. In short it is going to get worse before it gets better. Southwest Montana experienced a significant cold front that really slowed runoff and gave us 5 or 6 days of very good conditions. The fish responded to the dropping and clearing flows very well and have been on the feed. This is likely going to change today and tomorrow as the flows are now skyrocketing again. My experience tells me trout are affected more by rising water than by the color of the water itself. This rise may make for some grumpy fish and likely tougher fishing over the next several days. The following graph depicts what we have seen on the Madison the last week. The peaks on the left of the graph made for tough fishing but not impossible. The drop and the bottom trough made for much better fishing. Can you guess what the right side of the graph might do t the fishing? Thats spring in Southwest Montana. Take the good with bad.

A graph of the flows over the past eight days on the Madison River at Varney Bridge near Ennis, Montana.

Getting above a majority of the creeks that influence the river can help. So can fishing the local lakes and reservoirs. Both options give anglers a way to mitigate rising waters effects. Having fished the upper Madison through the last rise and subsequent fall with the cold weather it is noticeable how the fishing gets a little harder each day with the rising flows and then gets significantly better on the drop and at the bottom. It is next to impossible to plan for these events. So we take them as they come and do the best we can with the conditions we are given. Such is life of a trout angler in the Rockies during late May through June. No amount of wondering, worrying, speculating or whining about it changes a thing. Mother Nature doesn’t care what we think. Best just to be patient and thankful for the opportunities that present themselves.

Flies haven’t changed much over the past two weeks and my MVPs are still stonefly nymphs. Easy to see, and easy to eat for trout on the Madison. Both Salmonfly and Golden Stone nymphs are moving toward banks now and over the coming weeks in anticipation of their emergence toward the end of the month and into July. This makes it a good choice for a first fly selection. I have noticed more of a larger caddis we see leading up to that time period locally called The Brown Bomber is it is a large specimen in the range of a hook size 6-8 and I think is in the Genus Arctopsyche or Hydropsyche but I am not positive about that and would need to do more research to be sure. Think giant Elk Hair Caddis, larger foam caddis in the 6-10 hook range for dries and large Prince Nymphs, Hares Ear in similar sizes.

Fishing durning runoff high water and muddy conditions on the Madison River near Ennis Montana.

Thanks for tuning in and as always…Keep your tip up!

Brian Rosenberg

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