Madison River Fishing Report

Summer and Fall on the Madison

Madison River Fishing Report/Forecast

Montana summer is fading fast, and it has been one for the ages. We are very grateful for so many wonderful friends and clients who have helped make this summer great. We would also like to thank Mother Nature for being so benevolent! Once again, here on the Madison we find ourselves in the sweet spot of Montana’s best fly fishing. We had good fishable flows during May, June and the Salmon Fly hatch while many of the region's other rivers and creeks were so high that they were virtually unfishable. Then as things dried up quickly through July and many rivers were put under Hoot-Owl closures (many still remain restricted), the Upper Madison hung tough with good flows, cool water and consistently good fishing.

A Predictable Spring

Well, we got darn close, but never touched the 5,000 CFS mark at Varney last week, thanks in part to a quick cold snap that slowed things down a bit. In fact, the river had virtually no up and down cadence like it typically does from day to day for most of the week, settling down to 3,000 CFS for nearly three and a half days. But my guess is that even though the water clarity has improved, we’re not out of the woods yet. With a week’s worth of sunny skies and 70-degree weather headed our way, we might expect another bump in flows soon. 

Time To Go Big

It’s not every year that you see flows at the Varney USGS Gauge break the 5,000 CFS barrier, but it’s very likely to happen in the next 24-48 hours. In fact, available historic data on the USGS site going back to 2011 tells us it’s happened only twice before since the summer of 2011 when it reached a whopping 6,600 CFS at it’s peak on June 24th and 5,200 CFS on May 29th in 2014.

Getting Buggy On The Madison

Green up is a really special time on the Madison. In a valley that receives only 12-14 inches of rainfall annually, and most of that coming in March and April, any moisture is good moisture to help sustain our rivers through the dry summer months. And it brings a beautiful green blanket to the valley. We’ve been very fortunate this winter and spring in that regard.

Rising Tides

I think it's safe to say we're starting to see signs of runoff coming our way. The Yellowstone is already off color, and the Madison is creeping up higher and higher with each passing week. Oftentimes these conditions spook anglers off, but for those who aren't intimidated, it's a fishy time of year. This week we've got a report from the one and only Will Connoly, who probably fishes more than all of us, and certainly has as much passion about fly fishing as anyone I know.

Pages