Summertime showed up this week. We got the memo, but apparently, nobody else did. That is what happens when one lives in this part of the country – you get to take advantage of the early season, when everyone else is wondering if the river is any good yet. FYI – it’s killer.
The flow at Kirby Ranch is 1610 cfs and clear as a bell. However, looking around at the empty boat ramps one would think the Madison was blown out, high and muddy. Not So. Not one bit. Heck, there are even fish rising up and down the entire river. In about a week or so, the word is gonna get out and things will get busy. This year, almost every river in SW Montana is fishing pretty darn well at this point. The Fork is still holding it’s own, so the folks over in Last Chance haven’t showed up yet.
We have already seen more PMDs hatch out this season on the Madison, than all of last season. Madison River trout love to eat mayflies on the surface. Which patterns you ask? The ones that float and drift, free of drag…..near the bank, in the slicks and around the nervous water of gravel bars. Early season on the Madison will find trout living on the banks. In a couple of weeks, they will move off and find other hideouts, but for now, the banks are king.
Hatching almost daily right now are: Caddis, PMDs, Yellow Sallies and yes, a few Salmonflies are fluttering around near Ennis. The Big Bugs are not going quite yet, but by the end of the weekend, it’s gonna get serious. We are on the water a fair bit now and will keep folks like you posted on what the Big Bugs are up to. Honestly, I don’t think it’s gonna be a banner year for Salmonflies, but there will be some great opportunities for casting big fluffy flies to unsuspecting trout. I rolled a few big rocks near the bank, just upstream of Palisades, and found big nymphs crawling all over, waiting to hatch.