Madison River Fishing Report for July 30th, 2021

Dam: 1,350 cfs

Kirby: 1,500 cfs

Varney: 1,520 cfs

The Upper Madison remains on Hoot Owl restrictions until further notice.  This means that angling is permitted from the headwaters in Yellowstone National Park to the mouth of the Missouri between the hours of midnight and 2:00 p.m..  At 2:00 p.m. you gotta reel it up and head for the ramp, and we anticipate this to continue on until September.  The good news is that water temps and river flows are still about average for late July and we are finally getting a break from the sweltering heat.

The Goose Fire that has been filling up the Madison Valley with smoke for almost three weeks is now 78% contained thanks to the hard work of the fire management team.  More rain is expected during the afternoon hours for the next week as well, with daytime temperatures peaking in the low to mid 80’s, so hopefully we can say goodbye to those hot, smokey afternoons sooner than later.

Fishing on the river has been pretty good for the most part, but it remains a lot more difficult in the wade stretch between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge especially in the mornings.  The float stretch has been a little more consistent and we should see a more consistent hopper bite if the smoke continues to clear.  As with most anglers hitting the Upper Madison, we have been getting on the river early.  While the nymph and dry fly fishing doesn’t seem to be getting going until 9:30 – 10:00 am, the streamer fishing has actually been really good.  Peanut Envys, Double Screamers, Smaller Sculpin Imitations, and Mini Dungeons have been some of our better patterns over the last week, and they have been chasing a pretty fast retrieve right out of the gate.  You can also get into them by throwing nocturnal stoneflies or nymphing a small zonker or sculpin under and indicator until things start to get going later in the morning.

Effective nymph patterns these days have been on the smaller side for us, and include #18-#20 serendipities, #16-#18 black and pearl Perdigons, Micro Mayflies and Green Machines, and other small mayfly emergers.  You will definitely have your fair share or small trout and whitefish but there are some really nice browns and rainbows in the mix too.  Most of the aquatic insects are on the way out but you can still find good numbers of smaller caddis and Epeorus Spinners in the upper stretches. Try throwing some Rusty Spinners and #18 Caddis during the timeframe from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and then switch over to terrestrials after that. While the terrestrial fishing has not been great up high we have been doing well with a variety of ant patterns in the mid to lower stretches and have had some decent hopper fishing on the brighter days.  Some of our better ant patterns have been CFO Ants, Ant Acids, Bloom’s Parachute Ants, and Delektable CDC Flying Ants in black and cinnamon.

We hope the smoke has settled and the temperatures have cooled by the time we reach out for our next fishing report and feel free to call the shop for up to date fishing conditions as we are on the river every day.