Madison River Fishing Report for August 14th, 2019

Dam: 1,220 cfs

Kirby: 1,240 cfs

Varney: 1,380 cfs

If you asked anyone who has been on the Upper Madison over the last week to describe fishing in a word that word would indubitably be: Hoppers.  After an incredible hopper season in 2018 we are right back into it all over again and the dry fly fishing has been nothing short of spectacular over the last week. Flows are still well above average for the middle of August in the upper wade stretch as well as the lower river and water temperatures have rarely peaked above 67 degrees…it’s amazing what a little cold water does for a fishery.  The forecast for this coming week is calling for highs in the upper 70’s to mid 80’s, so now is a great time to get a taste of some of the best dry fly fishing of the year.

The best window of opportunity for hoppers seems to be in that noon to 5:00 pm range although we have had success before and after that timeframe on certain days.  Ants and nocturnal stones have been the code cracker before that window and we are still getting some good fish to come up on chubbies, water walkers, and other foam creatures from O dark thirty until the late morning hours.  Cinnamon, Red/Black, and Cinnamon/Black ants in #14-16 have been best for us but most days the bigger fish are looking for the larger dries during the afternoon hours.  Smaller hoppers in the #12-#14 range have been more effective up river, and larger imitations in sizes 8-10 have been the ticket the further you go down.  The heavy hitters over the last week have been Morrish Hoppers, Thunder Thighs, Panty Droppers, and Grand Hoppers.  Some days the body color doesn’t seem to matter, but we have had others where they are really keyed in on a specific one.  Tan, Gold, Pink, and Flesh have been the go-to’s, so keep changing it up until the fish start to take notice.  Again, be sure to drop an ant, trude, PMX, or your favorite attractor off the larger dry to increase your odds.

If nymphs are more your style, we are still getting fish on#8-10 Pat’s Rubber Legs in the morning for the nocturnal stones and after that it’s been more about smaller patterns.  Three Dollar Dips, Krystal Dips, Green Machines, Lightning Bugs, The Fly Formerly Known as Prince, Euro jigs, and Small PMD Emergers have been best, and we’ve been keeping it more in the #16-#20 range.  Honestly though, I would commit to the dry during the afternoon hours as the hopper and ant bite has been far more consistent lately.

Streamer fishing has also turned a corner.  It’s not crazy good quite yet, but good enough to make it worth your time.  Also worth noting is that your time will be best spent by getting on the water early, as the most consistent action has been from dawn until noon.  Small sculpins and baitfish are still your best bet, but they will definitely chase a bigger meal down before the sun hits the water.