Madison River Fishing Report for July 23rd, 2020
Dam: 974 cfs
Kirby: 1,190 cfs
Varney: 1,520 cfs
The Upper Madison has been fishing well lately, and we finally got a little bump in the flow out of Hebgen last week due to increasing daytime temperatures. Things are definitely not as consistent as what we saw during the first two weeks of July, but that usually happens as we start to transition from fishing a wide variety of aquatic insects to a smaller percentage of caddis and spinners and then into terrestrials. The best window of fishing seems to be from around 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and then again in the evening where you will still find caddis and Eperous spinners hitting the water from 7:00 p.m. until dark in the upper stretches. If you’re an early bird, dawn to 9:00 a.m. is definitely the best window for throwing streamers so there is a time slot for just about every method of fishing right now.
The wade stretch between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge continues to see good numbers of caddis, yellow sallies, and Epeorus Mayflies with nymphs still being the most productive method of getting after them. If you do see fish rising to caddis, the usual suspects are always tan and olive X-Caddis, Missing Links, and Bloom’s Parachute Caddis in sizes 16-18. Some of our better nymph patterns up high have been $3 Dips, Krystal Dips, Tungsten Yellow Sallies, Sally Tag Jigs, Black and Pearl Perdigons, Quill jigs, and FKA Princes all in 16-18. Be sure to have a few yellow sallies in your box too, and you’ll start to see them hovering around between 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m..
The float stretch between Lyon’s Bridge and Ennis has been fishing well too, but the dry fly fishing is not quite as consistent as what we saw a few weeks ago. Small caddis, yellow sallies, and attractors are the name of the game right now in the upper section while larger dries like nocturnal stonefly imitations, hoppers, and ants are bringing up fish further downstream. Nymphs are still the way to go for numbers, but be prepared for a pretty impressive whitefish bite as well. Some of our better nymph patterns down below have been small pat’s rubber legs, small serendipities, green machines, PMD Barr’s Emergers, Perdigons, Tungsten Red Necks, and lightning bugs.
The streamer game is definitely an early one as we have not had great success getting fish to chase once the sun gets high. Our best early morning patterns continue to be small sculpin imitations in Black, Olive, or Natural and they have been willing to chase them down on a fairly fast retrieve due the warm nights we’ve been having. Once the sun hits the water you can usually get some interest for about another hour or two, but it’s been slim pickings once the bugs are out. The only thing that seems to get their attention after 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. is if you dredge a zonker or small sculpin down on the bottom.