Madison River Fishing Report

Madison River Fishing Report for September 11th, 2019

Dam: 1,090 cfs

Kirby: 1,110 cfs

Varney: 1,230 cfs

After a warm and sun filled August that brought with it some of the most incredible hopper fishing the Madison has seen in decades, the weather finally took a turn a few days ago to remind us that Fall is just around the corner.  The mountains received their first dose of snow since the summer solstice yesterday morning, and the landscape has started to absorb the scents and colors synonymous with Autumn in the Greater Yellowstone Region.  It truly is our favorite time of year, and we know that rings true for many of you out there as well.

While the peak of the hopper season is behind us, you can rest assured that it is far from over.  We have warmer temperatures heading this way by the weekend and a little sunshine will get those bugs moving again.  Look for the most productive windows between noon and 5:00 and be sure to keep changing up your sizes and colors as we’ve mentioned in our previous reports.  Ants will be back on the menu as well, and cinnamon ants have continued to be our best color when the sun is out.  With the cooler weather, we have seen some incredible hatches of both Fall BWO’s and Pseudos (or Iswaeon for all the bug geeks out there) in the upper sections of the river.  Dry fly fishing has been good for these smaller mayflies, but they have been eating the nymphs and emergers with more consistency.  You can fish a size 20 for the larger Baetis, but good fish will rarely eat anything bigger than a size 22 imitation if they are selectively eating Pseudos, so plan accordingly.

Fishing with nymphs has been a lot more productive since the weather came in as well, most likely due to the increase in bugs moving around like BWO’s and midges.  We have been doing best on smaller midges during the morning hours in the #18-22 range until the Blue Wings show up, and this will likely be the trend for the next month and a half.  Some of our favorite Fall BWO Nymphs are Idyl’s Baetis Nymph, PT’s, Thin Mints, Micro Mayflies, and especially Kelly’s BWO (all in size 20).  For the Emergers we always seem to do well on Barr’s Emergers, Juju Baetis, and Triple B’s in #20-22.  Once it starts to warm up again, you’ll still see a few caddis hatching during the afternoon hours and smaller krystal dips, three dollar dips, and soft hackles in the #16-18 range are all good choices– We’ve also been getting some good reports on worms and stoneflies in the both the float and wade stretches recently.  Dead drifting small sculpin and zonkers with a trailing nymph has also been picking up some nice fish as well.

As you might have guessed, streamer fishing has also picked up in a big way since the weather rolled in over the last week.  Fish have been keying in on darker colored patterns all day long as long as long as the cloud cover remains stable, and they have definitely be eating the bigger stuff with more consistency.  Sex Dungeons, Boogie Men, Kitties, Envys, and Double Screamers have all been getting some love recently, and we anticipate that to keep going until the sun shows itself again in a few days.  We are still getting good fish to come to the fly when the sun hits the water, but we have noticed that they are paying a little more attention to smaller patterns such as CH Barely Legals, Mini CH T&A’s, and Mini Loop Sculpin under bright skies.  With water temperatures still above fifty degrees in the morning, medium to fast retrieves have been have been working best for us…just keep changing up your colors and profiles until you crack the code.

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