NJ trade show, fishing report & average temperatures in the Madison Valley

The New Jersey Show
I want thank all of you who stopped by my booth and attended my presentations at The Fly Fishing Show in Edison, New Jersey last month. It was great to see many return clients and friends and it was great meeting new ones!
SECOND STOP IN OUR TRADE SHOW SEASON
Alameda County Fairgrounds
4501 Pleasanton Avenue
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Show Hours
Friday February 23rd: 10am – 6:00pm
Saturday February 24th: 9am – 5:30pm
Sunday February 25th: 9am – 4:30pm
I am happy to have guide Doug Casey helping out in the booth this year!
Doug is a true fly fishing fanatic. A Georgia native, Doug grew up chasing Brook Trout in the Appalachian Mountains. He was introduced to fly fishing in Montana at a young age and knew he would call it home one day. Doug moved west in 2004 to take a job in Yellowstone National Park and spent 3 seasons living, working, and fishing in the park. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Education, Doug spent 5 years teaching in Bozeman, MT and Kalispell, MT before turning to guiding full time in 2012. He is comfortable on the larger blue ribbon rivers and also excels at finding off the beaten path wade fisheries. His easy going nature, experience as an educator and uncanny fish sense make him one of the most versatile guides in Southern Montana.
Destination Theater
I will be giving a talk each day of the show on
“When & Where to Fish The Madison River”.
The Madison River is fish-able year round no matter what the news or social media says about river closures, runoff conditions and wildfires. Climate change is real and we adapt to these new conditions by changing when and where we fish. Because of river closures and environmental concerns, more and more anglers worry about limitations to their fishing vacation in SW Montana. I want to reassure you and help you make the most of your fishing vacation to the Madison River by letting you know when and where to fish it.
The Madison River is a very different river from Yellowstone National Park to the headwaters of the Missouri River. I think of it as 6 different rivers in one, with three lakes thrown in. I will be discussing the best times to fish each sections based on runoff, winter conditions, river closures, some major hatches and crowds. I will also touch on the types of structure to fish as some anglers struggle to read much of the Madison River. I may mention a section of river that fishes best based on a major hatch, but I will not be going into details of hatches.
Presentation Details
Friday February 23rd: 1pm, Building R
Saturday February 24th: 1pm Building P
Sunday February 25th: 1pm Building P
Snow Pack
Colder weather and more moisture this past week brought the Madison Valley snow pack up to 116%. The runoff water fills local reservoirs which is important for the fish and anglers!
Fishing Report
I had a chance to snowshoe into one of my favorite spots on the Madison River to fish dry flies on February 13th. I started my short trek around 11am in hopes to see some fish rising by the time I would reach the river. Only 15 minutes into my trek I was at my spot. The outside temperature was around 18 degrees but the wind was terrible and must have brought the temperature down to single digits. This was the first time I have been in this location this year, by the looks of the snow it seemed like it had not seen any pressure from anglers all winter. As soon as I arrived I saw a couple of heads come up! So I strung up my favorite dry fly rod, a Winston Im6 9′, 5 weight, that I have had for almost 20 years, paired with an Abel Reel. I tied on a Morgan’s Midge in a size 22. I have fished this spot hundreds of times in my life and I figured I could have great fishing without getting into the water, so I did not put my waders on for this trip. Momentarily this was a mistake, because the fish that were rising were out of reach from the bank. So I decided to walk up river and check out a couple of other spots in this location which was a good idea. I soon found a pod of fish rising in ankle deep water within casting distance from the bank. I hooked six fish and landed 4 in a few minutes. By now it was noon and the wind had settled down and it now felt like the temperature was in the 20’s, warm enough not to need gloves or have my ear flaps down on my hat. It was hard to leave rising fish but I knew that my first spot would come alive if the wind stopped, so I reeled up and walked back down river and sure enough the pool was alive with fish working the surface! As most anglers know, the feeling you get when you see the water “boiling” with rising fish never gets old. I felt like it was Christmas morning and I was 6 years old. Now I did not feel so badly about not putting my waders on. I continued catching both rainbows and browns, sizes 8″-16″ from the bottom of the pool to the top. I don’t know exactly how many I caught but enough to leave a smile on my face for my 2 hour ride home. From the time I starting hiking until the time I returned to my truck it was only a few hours and some of that time was spent observing the river, fish and surrounding area. Point being, you don’t need to spend all day on the water in the winter months to have a great time. Heck, you can even sleep in and enjoy a nice breakfast!
This recent cold snap brought more ice and slush to local rivers, but not enough to stop us from fishing the open areas of the Madison River such as Reynolds Pass. As you can see in the above picture, the ice has built up on the lower Madison River with Red Mountain in the skyline. Despite this, the majority of our boat ramps on the Madison River are open enough to launch, and conditions on most days allow us to drift. This is more access than we historically have had this time of year.
Average high & low temperatures, record high and low temperatures, and average precipitation in the Madison Valley
Don’t let the cold weather stop you from fishing in Montana during the months of October through April.
We hope to see you in Pleasanton, CA!