December 2nd | Madison River Flow Update

In the early morning hours on Tuesday November 30th, 2021 a malfunction occurred with the headgate at Hebgen Dam on the Upper Madison River. The malfunction caused flows below the dam to decrease from 650 cfs down to 150 cfs. The severe and sudden decrease in flows resulted in numerous side channels in the section of river between Hebgen and Quake Lakes to be emptied. The receding water left many Adult Trout, Whitefish, Juvenile Trout, and Sculpin to be stranded and in some cases unfortunately lost forever, and Spawning Redds were exposed. Most of the river below Quake did see a large reduction in flows but the impact was not as severe. The most impacted area below Quake were the side channels around the West Fork and Eagles Nest.

As the day went on FWP and Northwestern Energy began doing what they could. An emergency fishing closure was put in place on the entire Upper Madison from Hebgen Dam down to Ennis Lake and remains in place at the time of this writing. People on scene began rescuing as many Trout, Whitefish, and Sculpin in all age classes as possible. Fisherman, Flyshop Employees, and other local volunteers were also on the scene quickly to begin helping with the rescue. In the early part of the emergency it was hard to know what to do. Help began, but then due to fear of trampling exposed Spawning Redds and the possible danger to folks if the gate was repaired with sudden increased flows that could impact people in the River, a call to stand down was made. By the end of the day though it was clear that more help was definitely needed, rescues should occur, and the gate was still not repaired as parts were needed to be brought in and installed.

Calls for help went out through Social Media, Email, and Phone Calls. And… boy did the Cavalry show up on Wednesday morning the 1st of December. Hundreds of volunteers came from near and far including: Guides; Flyshop Employees; Fisherman; Montana FWP; and Northwestern Energy Personnel. Volunteers included people from all walks of life and from communities near and far. Groups split up in all areas of the River walking the banks and carefully looking for fish still stranded in the small pools and pot holes left by the reduction in flows. Luckily nighttime temperatures had been mild and the crews throughout the valley were able to rescue many many more fish, and return them to the main channel.

Yesterday evening close to midnight and into today and the early morning hours of December 2nd Northwestern Energy crews were able to get the broken part installed on the headgate and return flows on the Upper Madison below the dam back to 650 cfs. This should bring welcome relief to the exposed Redds. Time will tell what the long term impacts will be on the River going forward.

We were able to send Ryan Ongley our Shop Manager up to help in the rescue effort. During this time of year there are only a few of us here at the shop. Ryan reported back as to the very large army that showed up to help. The Flyfishing Community is a special one. It’s almost like a family. It truly was amazing to see just how many people took time out of their busy lives to come do their part to help this special resource. Thank you one and all for helping the Fish and the River!

At this time we have no word on how long the Emergency Fishing Closure will remain in place. But it’s best to leave the River at Peace for now and give Mother Nature some time to do some healing and let the trout fatten up more for the coming Winter.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Upper Madison River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on December 2nd | Madison River Flow Update

October 25th – November 24th | Madison River

As our season seems to be winding down and less busy with the Holiday Season upon us, we’d like to of course give thanks to all of our loyal customers and their support throughout 2021. It was a year that saw early high temps, and the first Hoot Owl closure on the Upper Madison ever. We all persevered though and enjoyed a great summer fishing on the river we all hold so Dear.

The last few weeks have seen unseasonably warm fall days, some cooler days, and the wind has been blowing many days. Welcome to Montana Right!?! Fishing has been solid to excellent many days. Flows remain low throughout the Upper and water temps are in the low to mid 40’s most days currently. The Trout are still hungry and attempting to fatten up for the long Winter ahead. Brown’s are spawning so keep an eye out for those Redds as your out wading the river. And of course let them do their thing in Peace.

For the Dry Fly enthusiast out there we have now transitioned into Midge time. If you can pick the right day with calm to no wind there are a surprising amount of heads up in the soft pockets along the banks, and behind the rocks in the Upper Wade Section.

Nymphing remains the most consistent method of catching and landing right now. Smaller Stonefly Nymphs, Midge Pupae, Worm and Imitations, and Small Attractor style Nymphs with a bit of flash are doing the job. And of course some of the year round producers like Pheasant Tails, Delektable Lil’ Spankers, Shop Vac’s, and $3 Dips.

Streamer action remains solid. Everything from Buggers to the Big Articulated Nasties are on the menu depending on the day. Just have a good rotation of patterns and colors available and you should have some hookups and the possibility of that Two Footer we always hope for.

Swinging the shallow riffles and softer water with a Soft Hackle is also producing well. Don’t be afraid to swing a larger brighter pattern this time of year. A size #10-#14 pattern with some color and flash can bring some amazing fish in this time of year. And those big bruisers sometimes are hiding in those little riffles. Keep in mind we are not necessarily matching the hatch right now. We are targeting those larger migratory fish. So whether you do this with a Single Hand Rod or are a newly converted disciple of the Trout Spey game there is just something about that grab on a Softie.

Dries: Parachute Adams #18-#22, Carlson’s Purple Craze #18-#20. Griffith’s Gnat #18-#20. Brook’s Sprout Midge Olive #20.

Nymphs: Delektable Mega Prince Standard and Flashback #8-#10. Delektable Lil’ Spanker Pheasant Tail, Silver, Red, Blue #16-#20. Delektable Tungsten Bead Head Big Spanker Warrior #18. Rainbow Warrior #18-#20. Zebra Midge Black, Red, Olive #12-#20. Formerly Known as Prince #16-#18. Pat’s Rubberlegs Black #10-#12. Worm Imitations #4-#12.

Streamers: Delektable Single and Double Screamers Black, Olive, White, Black/Olive, Brown/Yellow, Badger.
Galloup’s Dungeons Standard and Mini Black, Olive, Cream, Olive/Black Barred. Zonkers. Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow. JR’s Conehead Olive.

Soft Hackles: Full Dressed Red, Partridge and Olive, Partridge and Orange, Partridge and Purple. Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle, Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle. #10-#16.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Upper Madison River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on October 25th – November 24th | Madison River

Steelhead Rehab Oct. 23rd – Nov.11th | Rogue River, Southern Oregon

My first destination trip in over two years, to rehab the body, mind, and soul. 15 days of Flyfishing the Rogue River in Southern Oregon . Staying with one of my best friends Jeff Wilson. We caught Steelhead everyday except one. While also catching Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout on Dry Dropper combos.






Thank You to all of our friends. Jeff and Jules. Jack and Angie at The Fishing Hole. Dave, Andy, Steve, Kam, Heather, Jed, and Clay.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Other Locations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Steelhead Rehab Oct. 23rd – Nov.11th | Rogue River, Southern Oregon

October 18th – 24th | Madison River

With the end of October in sight Fall temperatures and weather are taking hold here in the Valley. We’ve had a good amount of windy days this week. Some very windy of course making casting anything but a Streamer a bit of an adventure. The Nymph bite and Streamer bite remain good to excellent though. And when the wind is calm enough the hatches of BWO’s in the Upper Wade section have been very heavy. Fish have also been eager to rise to a well placed dry BWO in the slicks behind rocks and those calm soft pockets along the banks throughout the wade section.

There is plenty of good fishing to be had before the snow starts flying in earnest. The river isn’t crowded at all with hunting season being in full swing. It’s a great time to be out there for some solitude and some very solid fishing. Flows are right around the 800 cfs to 900 cfs mark river wide. If you’re bringing the hard boat for one or two last floats the Upper River from Lyon’s to Mac will still be your best bet. 

Dries: Delektable Sparkle Bug Light Olive, DarkOlive, Gray, #18. Delektable Lil’ Teaser BWO #18-#20. Delektable Lil’ Squeezer BWO #18-#20. Brook’s Sprout Emerger BWO #18-#22. Snowshoe Baetis #18-#22. Sparkle Dun BWO #18-#22. Parachute Adams #18-#22. Carlson’s Purple Craze #18-#20.

Nymphs: Delektable Mega Prince Standard and Flashback #8-#10. Pat’s Rubberlegs Black #10-#12. Splitback Baetis #18-#20. Delektable Lil Spanker Silver, Blue, Red, Pheasant Tail, #16-#20. Delektable Tungsten Jig Spanker Red, Silver, Pheasant Tail, Holo Black #18. Geppart’s Master and Mega Emerger #18. Geppart’s Skinny Dip Black, Brown #16-#18. Pheasant Tail Nymphs #16-#18. Copper John’s Copper, Red #16-#18. Lil’ Green Machine Pheasant Tail, Olive #18-#20. Shop Vac’s #16-#20. $3 Dollar Dips Brown, Red, Crystal #16-#18. Zebra Midge Black, Red #18-#2

Streamers: Delektable Single or Double Screamer Black, Olive, Olive/Black, Badger, White. Delektable SS Jointed Screamers Black/Olive, White, Olive. Galloups Dungeon and Mini Dungeons Black, Olive, Cream, White. Galloup’s Boogie Man Black, Olive, White. Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow #6. Zonkers Copper, Pearl, Olive. #6-#8. McCune’s Sculpin Olive #6-#8. Sculpzilla Olive, Black, White #4-#8.

Posted in Fishing Reports, Upper Madison River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on October 18th – 24th | Madison River

October 11th – 17th | Madison River Fishing Report

We were greeted with a blast of winter at the beginning of the week. Lots of accumulating snow and high winds brought drifting snow and lots of shoveling to all of us here in the Madison Valley. We were grateful for a plow rescue from a friend. Thank you! The boat ramps at Varney and above were out of commission for a couple days but cleared up within a couple days. Now things are back to normal October conditions and we’ve had some pretty darn nice weather since Wednesday.

The front that moved through sure got the Big Browns of the Madison moving around and chasing quite well. Some very good streamer and nymph fishing was had the second half of the week. If you could find some spots shielded by the “W” there were trout sipping BWO’s in the soft pockets around rocks and near the banks.

Fall is here to stay and it won’t be long until we’ve all wondered where this season went so quickly. So get out on the water if you find a day to your liking and enjoy the last few weeks, before the snow is flying in earnest.

Flows still remain low so if you’re looking to squeeze in a last float or two before storing the boat for the season, your best bet will be up higher in the Lyon’s to Mac section. The water up top is just fine for floating without beating up your hard boat.

Dries: Delektable Sparkle Bug Olive, Dark Olive, Gray #18. Delektable BWO Teaser #18-#20. Delektable BWO Squeezer #18-#20. Brook’s BWO Sprout Emerger #18-#20. BWO Sparkle Duns #18-#20. Parachute Adams #18-#20. Carlson’s Purple Haze #18-#20.

Nymphs: Delektable Mega Prince Standard and Flashback #10. Delektable Guide Stones Black #10. Pat’s Rubberlegs Black #10-#12. Formerly Known as Prince #16-#18. Delektable Prince Brandon #16-#18. Delektable Lil’ Spanker Silver, Pheasant Tail, Blue #18-#20. Lightning Bugs #16-#20. Pheasant Tail Nymph #16-#20. Geppert’s Master BWO Emerger, Geppert’s Mega BWO Emerger.

Streamers: Delelektable Single and Double Screamer Olive, Black, White, Olive/Black. Zonkers Natural, Copper, Olive. Galloup’s Dungeon and Mini Dungeon Black, Olive, Olive/Black Barred, Cream. Galloup’s Boogie Man Black, Olive. Mini Loop Sculpin Olive and Natural. McCune’s Sculpin Olive. Coffey’s Sparkle Minnow #6. 

Posted in Fishing Reports, Upper Madison River | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on October 11th – 17th | Madison River Fishing Report