An Early February Thaw

It’s been in the 40's and raining here in Ennis causing things to get pretty sloppy around town. There are concurrent active warnings for flooding and avalanches locally right now.

You don’t see that too often, and when looking at the 10 day forecast, slight concern begins to mount for our snowpack. But, we’ve still got a ways to go, and we may end up relying on those late winter snowstorms to lift snowpack back up.

A few hardy anglers have been fishing as far downstream as the Varney Bridge access lately with good success. The gorge didn’t quite make it that far upstream this year, and the water looks great. Major players are still the rubber legs stonefly nymph. Specifically, the Jimmy Legs variation was particularly effective. Even more so than the tangerine egg trailed behind it. When in doubt on the Madison River, a Stonefly and something shiny behind it like a lightning bug oughtta get you in the game. Fishing short leaders with little or no weight in shallow side channels is the recipe right now. Especially for hungry Cuttbows in the Pine Butte area. Anytime we have cloudy balmy weather, the dry fly fishing with Griffith’s Gnats is extremely good right now up river. Many fish are already spawning, so as always, take care where you step.

Speaking of stepping, I had a chance to try out Patagonia’s Foot Tractor wading boots recently and was extremely impressed. Admittedly, I was suspicious of a boot that looks more like it belongs on the heels of an ice climber than a fly fisher, but it became immediately clear this was the best traction I’ve ever had in or out of a river for a wading boot. Period. Bar none.

And, they’re completely safe in drift boats! All your grip comes from the edges of the aluminum bars. If we’re being brutally honest here, compared to the sticky rubber vibram bottoms of Simms (with or without studs) it’s not even close. Traditional felt is pretty good in rivers, but you don’t want those things on your feet when you’ve got to walk through even a quarter inch of snow or you’re walking on snowballs in a matter of seconds. The Foot Tractor’s offer better traction for any wading boot I’ve ever owned and are perhaps the most comfortable too. Come try a pair on or buy them now online.