A Looming Change Of Season

Updated: Feb 8

Trout release
Dress for success. Springtime conditions can be tough, but the fishing doesn't have to be.

As we count down the hours to April 1, signs of Spring are popping up all around the Madison Valley. Several species of our feathered friends are arriving from far away wintering grounds. Sandhills showed up this week from warmer climes in Utah, California, and Mexico. Bluebirds are helping brighten the grayscale landscape with their vibrant feathers.

Redwing Blackbird on cattail in Madison Valley
If Redwing Blackbirds say it's Spring, then dammit it is.

Redwing blackbirds are staging in the cattails. All along the banks of the Madison, pairs of Geese are settling into nesting spots. Meadowlarks are announcing the start of each day now. All of these critters are certainly helping form a light at the end of the winter tunnel.

Fishing over the last week or two has ranged from terrible to fantastic, a typical late winter mixed bag. As one fishes further upriver on the Madison the action has been considerably better and more consistent. Although good reports are starting to trickle in from the Varney to Ennis section this week as more brave souls get creative with launching boats over icy banks, it still seems slower down here than upriver.

It's also been pretty effective recently stopping the boat and fishing the slower riffles that are a foot or so deep. Dragging girdle bugs in these shallow riffles has produced great action. Not many big fish in these zones lately, but certainly plenty numbers of fish.