I guided on the upper Mad yesterday between Varney and Burnt Tree. With very clear water and bright conditions, the catching was not that great, especially between Varney and 8-Mile. My hunch is that the fish were probably pretty spooky given the conditions and are mostly still in the holes. So, unless you could get a good drift 30-40 ft from the boat; it wasn't going to happen. Our best luch of the day was hitting the shallow buckets between 8-mile and Burnt Tree.
I was surprised at the number of anglers, both guides and "freedom fishers" (a term I learned in NZ this year) seemed to be all around. Several anglers were walking right through the buckets that I wanted to fish and I saw a couple guide boats just go bouncing right over them too.
The rainbows are starting to get their spawn on as well, so bugs are less effective than protein flies right now as well. Hopefully they'll get Ennis or Valley Garden open soon to take some of the pressure off that stretch. The river changed dramatically this year between Varney and 8-mile...more so than I've ever seen before on that stretch. This is due to the way that the ice jams form and break up. It looked like there was more and better buckets in this stretch than before.
I'm back on on Monday and hopefully will get in on the LM for the day.