Madison River

Dam: 740 cfs

Kirby: 809 cfs

Varney: 891 cf

One only needs to glance up at the snow covered peaks towering above the withering expanses of sage to understand why Fall is our favorite time of year in Southwest Montana.  Then again, big buttery brown trout chasing streamers and pods of rising fish tend to get the same point across.  We have had some gorgeous weather move in over the last couple of days, and it’s supposed to continue through the middle of next week.  That being said, the Upper river has been fishing very well on all fronts.  Yesterday we had a biblical baetis hatch in bright sun that lasted close to 2 and a half hours and P-O-D-S of rising fish getting after them.  Again, most of what you’ll be seeing out there are Pseduos in the #22 range, but you can usually get away with a well presented imitation in size 20.  Those running the indicator have been going back and forth between midge and baetis patterns and doing well once they crack the code.  A good assortment of patterns that you would be wise to have in your box before heading over this way include (but not limited to): #18-20 Black Zebra Midges, #18 $3 dips, WD-40’s, Galloup’s Baetis Nymph in #18, BWO Triple-B Flashback in #18-20, Idyl’s Baetis Nymph in #20, BWO Barr’s Emerger in #18-20, and Pat’s Rubberlegs in #8-12 (Black, Brown, and Tan/Brown).  Streamer fishing continues to churn out some of the larger browns in the river, and our best patterns this week have been Barely Legals, Dungeons, Silk Kitties, Double Screamers, and Boogie Men.  If you plan on getting out on the water before noon, you should think about slowing your retrieve down a tad (3″-6″ per strip), as water temps are typically a bit on the chilly side first thing in the morning– Dead-drifting a pearl or copper zonker with a small beadhead behind it is also a good option.  As the day warms up, start throwing a little more action into your fly and you should do well out there.