Dam: 1,040 cfs
Kirby: 1,240 cfs
Varney: 1,390 cfs
The Upper Madison is still fishing quite well, and not a whole lot has changed since our last report with the exception of the streamer bite. We have noticed that some of our larger browns have been chasing articulated patterns with more regularity than in weeks past, but obviously mornings and evenings have been the most productive time periods unless you have the clouds hovering over you all day. As far as patterns go, it’s been the usual suspects for the most part: olive envys, dungeons, and pecs in periods of low light and barely legals in the sun…we’ve had limited windows where natural has been the way to go, but that is usually during the first and last hours of true daylight, or what we refer to as “yellow light.” During the heat of the day, you are still better off dragging zonkers, sculpzillas, or your fur of choice with a lightning bug or copper john off the back though.
However, throwing junk has not been the only reason to get up early– The nocturnal stoneflies are in full force from Three Dollar Bridge down to Ennis, and we’ve been having some incredible mornings below Lyon’s Bridge over the last week. Most of the action has been from o’ dark -thirty until 8:30 a.m. but we’ve also had a few days where the bite continued well through the early afternoon hours. Some of our best patterns have been #10 Chubby Chernobyls in gold and purple, #10 Fat Alberts in tan, and #10 Mr. Midnights in gray, but they will also take larger hopper patterns as well. In addition to the nocturnals, we still have a few caddis and epeorus kicking around and small terrestrials/attractors are starting to make their way into the rotation a little more these days.
Nymphing continues to be your best option throughout the upper river if you are looking to rack up numbers, but I guess that is almost always the case no matter what time of year. Rubber legs and other stonefly patterns are good early and late, but we’ve been having to go a little smaller in the wade section once the sun comes up. Three Dollar and other serendipities are usually the most consistently patterns during August, and this year has been no exception. Other honorable mentions are #18 lightning bugs and other small attractors, shop vacs, olive hares ears, and #18 pheasant tails. We still have decent numbers of caddis hatching throughout the wade section most evenings, but my guess is that that window of opportunity will be closing sooner than later.