Ennis, Montana · fly fishing · Madison River · madison valley · Montana · Snow PAck · Spring Fishing · Winter Fishing

March 2nd, Late Winter Madison River Fishing Report

Hebgen Dam 880cfs

Old Kirby Ranch 959cfs

Varney Bridge 1120cfs

Lower Madison River 1460cfs

March 2d in the Madison Valley and it is really starting to feel a lot like spring. Markedly different than this time last year. At this time last year myself and others where scrambling to dig drift boats out of 3 plus feet of snow and find places to launch for those early season trips that come in. This year? My yard is clear of snow, the river gorge didn’t reach Valley Garden access and aside from a drift here or there we will be able to launch with no troubles fo upcoming early season float trips. All this with a good snow pack hovering around 100 percent of the long term average with some wet months to come.

Snotel snow water equivalent for western Montana.

Is winter over, not technically, but the inevitable march towards spring will win out over the last of winter. Increasing day length just cannot be defeated. Day length increasing is a key factor as to why we also don’t see the river gorge in March. These are all good signs for anglers. Be ready for a winter blast but enjoy these warmer 50 degree plus days we are going to see.

March 1st is the beginning of our 2020 license season, be sure to grab your new fishing license before you head out to fish. Licenses can be obtained on line at Montana FWP website or at local fly shops.

I keep my winter fishing box fairly simple. It consists mostly of larger stoneflies, midges, eggs and worms. Of these stonefly nymphs are still my go to unless there is a good midge hatch happening. I fish #4 and #6 black rubber legs more than anything else. Midge droppers in black, amber and or olive can make good droppers. I don’t usually fish midges in sizes smaller than #18 on the Madison but they will eat the smaller sizes if you like that kinda thing. With some warming water temps an angler might see a few more fish willing to chase streamers if you’re into that kinda thing. Olive and white is a go to color but in the streamer game changing colors can be a good thing. Eggs will be more important as we move closer to spring.

Brown trout caught fly fishing during a winter float trip on the Madison River near Ennis, Montana.

I will be making some shake out floats over the next week to prep for upcoming spring trips and will keep you updated on conditions and boat ramps. Also Varney Bridge is still closed to traffic. Anglers should still use the Highway 287 side to access Varney FAS. I will let you know as soon a construction is complete and we can cross the bridge again.

Thank you and Keep your Tip Up!

Brian Rosenberg

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