Madison River Fishing Report for July 19th, 2021

Dam: 1,150 cfs

Kirby: 1,320 cfs

Varney: 1,350 cfs

*** 7/21/21 Update***

The Entire Madison River is on Hoot Owl Restrictions as of July 21st until further notice.  Anglers may fish between the hours of midnight and 2:00 p.m. but no fishing is permitted between the hours of 2 – 11:59 p.m. 

It’s been a hot one out there and the smoke isn’t helping either, but we are still getting some good fishing in during the morning and early afternoon hours.  The Goose Fire has grown to over 6,000 acres since our last fishing report and the smoke has been thick throughout the entire valley most days.  The good news is that the forecast is calling for a chance or rain from Monday afternoon through Thursday night, so keep your fingers crossed for some colossal downpours and hopefully the fire management team can get this thing under control sooner than later. 

Fishing as a whole has still been good on the Upper Madison, but it sounds like the upper wade stretch between Quake and Lyons has been a little more inconsistent.  We are still seeing good numbers of Caddis, Epeorus, Yellow Sallies, Flying Ants, and a few PMDs from Raynold’s down to Palisades but most of the mid to lower stretches are now entering the transition phase where nocturnal stoneflies and terrestrials such as hoppers, ants, and beetles are your best options for dry fly fishing.  With water temps starting to creep into the upper 60’s after 2:00 p.m., the best windows for productive fishing are still between dawn and 3:00 pm and then again during the the last two hours before dark.  We have had some good early morning streamer fishing over the last several weeks, and it’s always nice to get on the water early during the coolest part of the day.  We have also seen some good fish looking for nocturnal stoneflies early in the morning as well.

Some of our better dry flies here lately have been tan and olive caddis imitations in the #16 – #18 range like Missing Links, X-Caddis, and Bloom’s Parachute Caddis.  Other Small Dries that have been working include Rusty Spinners, Parachute Ants, Purple Hazes, Black CFO Ants, Delektable Cinnamon Flying Ants, PMD Cripples, and Micro Chubbies.  Ants have definitely been more consistent than hoppers, but that has more to do with the smoke in the air than anything.  We have actually had some good hopper fishing during the few clear afternoons that have occurred since the fire started but it always seems to slow down when the smoke gets thick or the clouds roll in.  Hopefully we get enough rain this week to knock out some of this smoke and we can get back to throwing larger hoppers with more productivity.  Some of our favorite patterns for the Upper Madison are Morrish Hoppers, White Clouds, Dave’s, and Thunder Thighs.

If you can’t get fish to look up then you can still get into a lot of quality trout on smaller nymphs. Perdigons, Serendipities, Quill Jigs, Caddis Larva/Pupa, and Green Machines have been some of our most consistent patterns this week, and the higher quality fish continue to hold in the faster pockets and seams so make sure you have enough weight to get those bugs down in a hurry and you should do well out there.