Madison (Hebgen Dam-Ennis)
Flows out of Hebgen have been rising, currently sitting at 1,410cfs. The high outflow is due to NW Energy not wanting to start filling the lake until run-off actually gets started. Generally, this approach makes me pretty nervous, but we should be in good shape as SWE Snowpack for the Madison Range is currently at 120%. High flows translates to good bankside nymphing and streamer fishing as fish are pushed to the banks and the pockets will have plenty of water to hold them. Keep you're eyes open & make sure to avoid Rainbow spawning grounds.
There have certainly been opportunities for quality dry fly fishing through the wade section. Mostly midges and baetis still, but as we jump into May dust off the BWO and March Brown boxes. Until the flows warm a bit, search the slowest bankside pockets/slicks for heads, it'll be awhile until fish consistently rise in the choppy riffles. Stop by or tie up a few #18 Sparkle Duns, #18 Baetis D.O.A., #18-20 CDC Comparadun, and a few #18-20 Purple Parachutes never hurt.
As for nymphing, smaller stones and attractor patterns have been excellent. If you've ever been interested in Euro/Czech/High-Stick nymphing, stop by or give us a call (406-646-9644) anytime. We have a sweet spot in our hearts for these styles of nymphing. Also, the Upper Madison's wade section is an excellent area to learn these techniques as the pocket water is so darn good. In regards to patterns, our favorites this week have been the #10 Biot Stone, #12 Tungsten Goldie, #14-16 Frenchie, #16-18 Zebra, #16 Lake Prince, and #18 Green Machine. Leave your eggs at the farm.
As of Saturday (4/29) the Gallatin is still crystal clear upstream of Taylor Fork. But even with the mud Taylor was pumping, the Gallatin immediately downstream was still only emerald green, not brown. Water is still very cold, expect to nymph/streamer fish, any dry fly fishing between YNP and Big Sky you can find is icing on the cake. In addition to nymphs listed for the Madison, take a few #4 Purple Sparkle Minnows along to strip through the tail end of runs.
Ice is currently off the majority of the north shore. There's still a little around the cattle (bison) guard, but plenty of room to get out and strip flies. Cover water and keep mixing up your patterns, lots of hungry fish out there. Top sellers this week for Hebgen were the #4 Swinger Leech in black and rust, #6 Rusty Rubber Leg Bugger, and the #4 Flash-A-Bugger.
Closed to fishing until 5/27
(Photo above by Chris Daniel)
Comments will be approved before showing up.