Below are reflections by our Owner, Managing Partner, Dan Larson about a great spring day on the Channels section of the Madison River. We hope it gets you excited for spring fly fishing!
Last Thursday and Friday found me and some Montana friends wade fishing the Channels of the Madison River right behind the Madison Valley Ranch. With the epic winter snowpack and cool spring days keeping the water flows in outstanding conditions (2-3’ visibility and good flows in all the side channels) we split up to explore the main channel, side channels and islands all within a half mile of the Ranch.
Although there were midges hatching along all the banks and eddies, we didn’t see any heads coming up yet. But, our nymphing was almost too good to believe. If we found one fish we’d find numerous more in each run and hole. Jeff, Marshall and I tried various combinations of beadhead wooly buggers, san juan worms, Delekta Spankers, and small serendipities; all were successful! Each day produced at least a dozen fish to the net for each of us, almost exclusively fat, sassy rainbows ranging from 12” to 17”. Jeff did have a very big brown take his small nymph, but the first acrobatic jump was the last we saw of that boy! Reason to come back next week and try again!
As my picture shows, the islands are still covered with 4-5’ of the ice flows left from the winter gorging that covers the Channels with ice from late November until early March. As Spring comes the waterways open up but the ice remains on the islands making it a surrealistic fishing experience. Having seen lots of moose droppings over the two days, we finally caught a fleeting glimpse of a moose about 1/2 mile from the Madison Valley Ranch. We also saw the first arriving San Hill Crane couples working their way north. The fields in front of the ranch will start filling up with cranes over the coming month or two.
All in all, a great way to start the Spring fishing season! Rainbow heaven!