Dam: 1,080 cfs
Kirby: 1,280 cfs
Varney: 1,440 cfs
The Upper Madison is still fishing well in both the wade and float sections, and the crowds of weeks past have started to thin out considerably. We still have caddis and epeorus hatching in decent numbers, and are still fortunate enough to be having some great evening sessions around Three Dollar and Raynold’s Bridge over the last five days– It is still good enough that a #16-#18 Olive or Tan X-Caddis has been about all you need to know, followed by a #16 Rusty or Bobby Spinner for the last hour into dark. While the bugs are still hanging around a little longer than we thought they would, I would guess that their numbers will start to dwindle over the course of the next week or so. In the meatime, we are starting to see more and more nocturnal stones pop up below the West Fork with each passing day and there have been an impressive amount of shucks below Ruby Creek as well. Early mornings and evenings are still your best best for getting fish up on your favorite imitations, and some of our favorites are Chubby Chernobyls, Fat Alberts, and Morrish Hoppers.
The hopper bite should start to get going any day now, but we have yet to receive a good report from guides or recreational anglers as of late; however, small terrestrials such as ants and beetles have been taking some really nice fish during the early afternoon hours…small attractors such as Cripple Royal Wulffs, Trudes, Stimulators, purple hazes, and the tried-and-true parachute adams should not be overlooked this time of year either. Also worth noting is that we are starting to see spruce moths falling around Pine Butte and up and around Quake and Hebgen Lakes. We’ve been seeing a few hit the water below Lyon’s Bridge as well, so make sure to be prepared with a few #16 Twisted Babies, #12-14 Elk Hairs, or #16 Half Down Hoppers before heading down that way.
There are always going to be those days where trying to raise a fish is like pulling teeth, so don’t be affraid to put on the indicator when times get tough. We are still doing really well in the wade section on basic patterns such as PTs, Caddis larva/pupa, princes, serendipities, and the like but they are starting to get a little more “snoody” below Lyon’s Bridge. One of the most productive ways to fish the river when things get a little more technical and fish aren’t looking up is to go to the zonker/beadhead system while drifting on the run and then isolating good holding water by posting up and running small caddis pupa and midges a little higher in the water column.
Streamer fishing has started to pick up in the mornings again, and should continue to get better with the increase in flows and the cooler night time temps we’ve been experiencing over the last week or so. Olive Dungeons and Pecs Sculpins have been some of our go-to patterns during periods of low light and the baby barely legal is always one of our favorites once the sun hits the water.