Madison River Fishing Report for June 24th, 2021

Dam: 924 cfs

Kirby: 1,250 cfs

Varney: 1,400 cfs

The Upper Madison has been fishing very well over the last week, and dry flies are finally on the menu. In all but the upper most reaches you can expect to see a large variety of caddis, PMDs, yellow sallies, a few green drakes, golden stones, and salmon flies and fish have been looking up consistently throughout the day.  The river is running at below average flows for this time of year, but there is plenty of water to keep the banks full for the time being.  River traffic has been pretty busy, especially in the sections where the big bugs are present, but you can always find some solitude by seeking out different water or fishing early or late.

And now for what’s been on everybody’s mind…SALMON FLIES!  We have been getting a lot of phone calls with regards to the whereabouts these incredible creatures, and we are currently seeing them between Windy Point and Cameron Flats above Varney.   They should start to move up into the upper reaches between Lyon’s and Raynold’s Bridge over the next 3-4 days and their numbers will start to dwindle below McAtee around that same time as well.  In addition to the larger stoneflies, trout are also keying in on hydropsyche caddis in the #16 range and there are also plenty of Great Gray Spotted Sedges fluttering about, which are closer to a size 10.  Throw in some PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and a few Green Drakes during the late morning/early afternoon hours and you have the makings of an incredible buffet for all the trout that call this river home.  The dry fly fishing is still a little bit slow from Pine Butte up to Raynold’s but it will continue to improve with each passing day.

If the sub-surface game is more your style, then you can certainly do well with a variety of nymph patterns right now.  Whether you are using an indicator, tight lining, or using a dry/dropper set up, you can expect a fair amount activity as long as you are targeting the right water with enough weight to get it on the bottom.  Tungsten Sally Nymphs, Caddis larva, Green Machines, PMD Barr’s Emergers, $3 Dips, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Perdigons, and Spanish Bullets have been some of our most productive patterns this week, and we expect that trend to continue with the myriad of insects taking flight.

Streamer Fishing has been decent as well, especially during the early morning and evening hours.  That said, it has been difficult to get fish to chase once the bugs start popping so keep that in mind if you decide to head over.  The nice thing about Salmon Flies and Goldens is that the same trophy fish that you are looking for with streamers is just as willing to eat on top during this short window, so committing to the big dry is your best shot at finding a true giant in the Madison this time of year.