Madison River Fishing Report for July 18th, 2016

Dam: 851 cfs

Kirby: 1,010 cfs

Varney: 1,310 cfs

Madison River fishing report.  The Upper Madison continues to fish extremely well this Summer, and the dry fly fishing has been some of the best we’ve seen in a very long time.  There are still some salmon flies and goldens hanging around between the lakes, and even a few in the Slide area above the shop, but my guess is that they will be gone in a matter of days and we will be left will only memories of an incredible big bug season.  The nice part is that we are already starting to see nocturnal stones hatching on the lower river, particularly between Palisades and Ruby Creek all the way down to Ennis, so there is still ample opportunities to throw a big dry right now.  Chubby Chernobyls in size 10-12, Fat Alberts, and a myriad of rubber legged foam creations have been bringing good fish up to eat from dawn through the later part of the mornings and again at night, and it shouldn’t be long until we start to see good numbers of them hitting the wade section below three dollar.  If you can’t seem to bring any fish up to the big bug, rest assured that you’ll be able to with smaller caddis, sallies, and attractors.  Some of our better patterns this week have been purple hazes and parachute adams in #16, Small Stimulators, X-Caddis, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, Royal wulff cripples, and black ants.  Be sure to hit the faster seams, pockets, and slicks and you should do great out there.  If you prefer to throw nymphs then you’ll want to hit the water with some smaller Pat’s Rubber Legs in the morning for the nocturnals and gradually move to smaller sally nymphs, and caddis emergers around 9:30-10:00 a.m..  Some mornings have taken a little longer than others to get going, so there isn’t a huge need to get out on the water super early unless you are looking to throw streamers or the larger dries mentioned above.  The whitey bite has also been pretty strong these days, but you’ll definitely get some nice trout in the mix too.  Some of our better nymphs over the last few days have been copper johns, $3 and Krystal Dips, shop vacs, lightning bugs, green machines, #8-10 Pat’s Rubber legs, and PMD Barr’s Emergers.  We’ve also done decent dead drifting zonkers with a small bead head nymph as a trailer in the mornings, but the bite seems to subside once we start to see bugs popping up from the water’s surface.

Evening caddis action in the wade section has also been excellent this week, with the bulk of the action coming between 7:00 p.m. until dark.  X-Caddis and Butch Caddis in size 16-18 have been about the only flies you need out there, with the exception of a rusty spinner in the last hour before dark.  You can fish it effectively with two different sizes of adult caddis, or you can drop one of Kelly’s Downed Caddis behind the dry for the ovipositing females.

The incredible streamer fishing we had on those cool, cloudy mornings last week has returned to the normal summer status — Meaning that you can get into some good fish early and late, but you’ll have to work hard for them during the day until our aquatic insects start to dwindle in numbers.  If you are hell-bent on pulling junk, I would stick to smaller sculpin patterns or baitfish imitations such as mini loop sculpins or CH Barely Legals for the time being.  As always, be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.