Madison River Fishing Report

Madison River Fishing Report for July 10th, 2021


Dam: 1,160 cfs

Kirby: 1,420 cfs

Varney: 1,560 cfs

Despite the warmer temperatures, smokey skies, and below average flows, the Upper Madison continues to hold its own and the fishing is still pretty damn good out there.  As is per usual during the Salmonfly hangover in mid July, we are seeing a lot more smaller fish come to the dry in addition to some very nice ones, but they are still looking up for a variety of caddis, PMDs, Sallies, and Eperous.

Where’s the Fire? has been a very common question from most folks entering the shop, and we do indeed have a big one going over by Hidden Lake which has grown to almost 700 acres over the last several days.  This is pretty close to home and we hope that all the firefighters stay safe and are able to contain it the best they can.

While we still have a few Salmonflies and Golden Stones in the upper-most reaches of the wade section, the fish have pretty much shifted gears to the smaller stuff and we are now primarily fishing smaller aquatic insects.  As mentioned above, expect to see a nice variety of caddis in the #14-20 range, PMDs, Eperous, Yellow Sallies, Green Drakes, and flying ants if you are planning on heading over this way.  The best window for dry fly fishing seems to be from around 9:30 am – 1:30 pm and then again in the evening after 6 pm or so.  On the cloudier days that window seems to be much longer, but with the relentless 90-95 degree highs the best fishing continues to be early in the day.  That said, make sure you bring a thermometer with you and consider giving the fish a little break once water temps start to get above 68 degrees.

It’s still been primarily a caddis game out there, and some of our better patterns have been X-Caddis, Missing Links, Elk Hairs, and Bloom’s Parachute caddis in #16-18.   There are still plenty of mayflies around as well, and don’t leave home without your favorite PMD imitation in 16-18 in addition to the good old Purple Haze especially if you get lucky enough to have overcast conditions.  Other small dries that have been on the menu include Rusty Spinners in 14-16, #16-18 Yellow Sallies, Green Drake Cripples, #14-16 cinnamon ants, Micro Chubbies, and Para. Wullfs.

If you have having difficulty getting fish to look up then you can definitely get them to eat a variety of nymph patterns as well.  Caddis Larva, Sally nymphs, Perdigons, Spanish Bullets, $3 Dips, Soft Hackles, Lighting Bugs, and Caddis Pupa are all great choices.

Streamer Fishing has also been getting better and better with each passing day, and we have got a lot of nice fish to chase from dawn until around 10:30 a.m. or so.  If you get lucky and have a cloud bank extend that period of low light for even longer then they seem to keep at it until the fireball in the sky finally shows itself.  Mini Dungeons, Double Screamers, and Small Sculpin imitations have been some of our better patterns over the last week, and most of the eats have been very tight to the bank.


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