Molly and I got out for a float this week with some friends from Cody, a nice little treat as things are really cranking up here on the Madison River. The river is low, but clear and fishing quite well right now. There are all kinds of bugs hatching and the fish are looking up in various parts of the entire river. There are Big Bugs down low and the rest of the river is set to go once the weather warms up a bit. PMDs, sallies, the gaint chocolate Sedge and caddis are out and about as well. The next few weeks are gonna be pretty good and hopefully, the flows will raise back up a little. Starting tomorrow, we are supposed to get some sunshine and warmer weather which will flip the switch for insect life.
As of late, the Madison dropped down to historic lows at Hebgen Dam, Kirby gauge and Varney Bridge. For the last 36 hours, things got really skinny below Hebgen Dam. It’s back up slightly because by law, they have to keep the flows at the Kirby gauge above 600 cfs. PPL didn’t manage the flows very well over the winter, running the river at 1100 cfs during Dec, Jan and Feb (this was higher than the thirty year average for winter flows). Then, in March, April and over half of May we hardly received any moisture. Back in January and February, while guiding snow coach tours in YNP, we knew the snow pack was lighter than normal. It’s hard to gauge the water content without looking online at the NRCS SNOTEL Sites web site and I check this regularly throughout the winter….so do others.
Our snow pack was just okay, but the moisture content was quite a bit lower than normal for the Madison Range. They should have seen this coming. Hebgen is supposed to be full by June 21 each year and we are still about 18 inches below full pond. So, what the river gets for stream flows is the bare minimum. This is hard to take lightly. More on this later…..or can you check it out for yourself in an interesting read from the boys in Ennis……they just might be on to something.
For now, we go fishing.