The upper Madison from Quake Lake down to McAtee Bridge has been closed to fishing for the past 21 years, so I am not used to having that area to fish this time of year. Old habits are hard to break so this spring I have been fishing some of the favorites down near Ennis and checking out the water closer to home a little earlier than usual. We have been blessed with some amazing March Brown mayfly and Mother’s day caddis hatches this spring. I have fished nymphs and streamers when the water resembles chocolate milk. Many trout have been brought to hand this season! I hope our spring fishing is foreshadowing a great summer on the Madison River!!
Spring weather in Montana has been very typical, beautiful days of sunshine and temperatures pushing 70 and then less than 40 all day with snow blowing around. In fact as I write this snow is accumulating on my boat and truck in the driveway. All this is keeping our snowpack in the Madison Basin in the 90 percentile. Fantastic news for summer fishing. Looking at the snowpack around the park, this slow melt should keep the waters cool, bugs hatching and fish happy. Last winter’s below average snowpack in the Madison Drainage of Yellowstone National Park, not only ended my snowcoach season a little early, it also meant that once the fishing season opened in the park, there was little cold water pouring into the Firehole river to support early season fishing. This season that is not the case! We should see great fishing on the Firehole River not only opening weekend but through the early half of June. Expect blue winged olives on the cloudy days, caddis and pale morning dun mayflies to follow. The Madison and Gibbon Rivers should also fish well in June this year. Stay tuned for an early summer fishing report.