Took a drive down to the Madison Valley this afternoon, hoping for minimal wind and 20 degree temps.   The wind was up, just enough, to make the 25 degree weather feel like it was 10.  After walking down to $3 Bridge from the highway, I noticed a rig in the parking lot next to the old sign in box.  Driving down to $3 is not a wise decision this time of the year. The snow pack is not too deep, but the wind is the biggest factor here.  There are two spots where drifts can build up and stick a rig.  You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone willing to come down there and drag you out.  The road base is pretty solid, and since it stayed cold, the road was passable.  However, this is risky business.  I never drive down there this time of the year…..

After carrying two rods down to the river, hoping for risers and not wanting to change out nymphs for dries, I rigged up the Freestone 906 and got to nymphing with a rubber leg and a zebra.  As expected, the angling was pretty good.  Our Madison River trout occupy some sexy water on during the winter.  As most of you know, there are not that many deep and slow runs, so watching a bobber is not akin to watching paint dry.  The takes are a bit more subtle, as you should expect, but the fish are hot – jumping and running their way around the river.  I caught a mixed bag of browns, rainbows and mountain whitefish, nothing smaller than 10 inches and not one fish was over 15 inches.  Never did see a rise, but with the wind cranking up, most of bugs were blown into the bank and unable to sit on the water long enough.

Madison River Flows

below Hebgen: 1110 cfs

@ Kirby Ranch: 1160 cfs

Madison River Temperatures

below Hebgen: 35.5 – 36.5 degrees

@ Kirby Ranch: 33 – 37 degrees, however there was a cold spell this past week where it rarely got over 34 degrees.