Madison River

Dam: 740 cfs

Kirby: 809 cfs

Varney: 891 cfs

“Wind” has been the word of the day for just over a week now on the Upper Madison, and pretty much throughout the entire region as far as we can tell.  Sustained 20-30 mph days with gusts between 40-50 mph have kept both bugs and anglers off the water, but the few people that have been out there have had it all to themselves.  And so it is that we enter the time of extremes…on the one hand you can go out there and have a great day nymphing up fish on midges and baetis nymphs in the #18-20 range, or even on a #8 pat’s Rubber leg, and on the other you can go out there and opt for quality over quantity with 4″-6″ streamers.  If the former is more you style, then you’ll do best by sticking to small RS-2s in gray, baetis nymphs, zebra midges, caddis larva and pat’s rubber legs under the indicator.  We’ve also been seeing good numbers of pseudos out during the afternoons, so if the wind dies down long enough to keep those little sailboats on the water then you could actually have some decent dry fly fishing out there.  If the latter is more your M.O. then now is the time to start hunting for some of the larger hook-jawed leviathans that inhabit our waters.  The last couple of days have been a little tougher than usual, which is most likely due to the fact that we’ve had a lot of different fronts moving through every day and the kind of wind that turns your rain jacket into a squirrel suit.  However, the streamer bite as a whole has been very good over the last week and we are still doing best on a handful of patterns such as sex dungeons, barely legals, Silk Kitties, Envys,  and double screamers.  As a general rule of thumb you’ll want to keep your fly colors dark during periods of low light and bright when the sun is on the water, but there are also times when everything goes out the window and fish react to the exact opposite….long story short, keep changing your colors until you crack the code.  If you’ve been fishing down around Ennis, you’ve more than likely run into a handful of good browns coming up from the lake…it’s not full blown yet, but that should change by the end of next week.  We are also starting to see good numbers of quality fish coming out of Hegben and Quake, so if you are looking for big lake runs now is the time to start stringing up your 7 wt and start looking for a Toad.