Madison River Fishing Report for July 31st, 2016

Dam: 1,140 cfs

Kirby: 1,230 cfs

Varney: 1,300 cfs

Madison River fishing report.  The Madison continues to be one of the better options in the region, with low water and high temps still effecting the majority of freestones in the area.  Fishing on the upper river remains steady, but the fish have definitely started to wise up a little more this week, especially as water temperatures begin to climb into the high sixties. Mornings and evenings have been best, with things starting to slow down around 2:00-3:00 in the afternoon, and then picking back up in the evening after 6:00.  As for what to throw first thing in the morning, a lot of it depends on how you like to fish, as the nymph, dry, and streamer fishing have all been productive. Nocturnal stones are still going strong, but we aren’t seeing them eat it with quite the same conviction after 9:00 a.m. like we did a couple weeks ago. That said, the fishing from daylight until 9:00 is still pretty damn impressive most days. Some of our better patterns over the last week have been UV tan, royal, and purple Chubby Chernobyls, Mr. Midnight, and Fat Alberts, and we have been doing well twitching them along the banks and gravel bars as well as on the dead drift.  The early morning streamer fishing has also been good to off-the-chart most days, and we have even got a few fish to eat some bigger patterns like dungeons and silk kitties; however, it’s been more about the small sculpin and bait fish bite so I would stick with the usual suspects such as Trevor and Mini Loop Sculpins, and CH Barely Legals and you should do well out there.  If nymphs are more your thing, then the rubber leg bite has been great with a small lightning bug dropper until a little after 9:00 after which it seems to change quite a bit from day to day.  Small serendipities, shop vacs, lightning bugs, soft hackles, and zonkers trailing a small bead head have been some of the better sub-surface patterns this week, but some days have been extremely difficult to figure out what they’re eating.  Believe it or not, the dry fly fishing has been a lot more consistent over here and if you can’t get them to look up for nocturnals, then you certainly should with smaller dries.  Royal Wulff Cripples, Trudes, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, X Caddis, Ant Acids, Bloom’s Parachute Ant, Rusty Spinners, small Stimulators, Purple Hazes, and Parachute Adams have all been good options out there, but my guess is that we will start to see fewer caddis fluttering about as we begin to creep into August.  Spruce Moths have also provided some great dry fly opportunities between Pine Butte and Lyon’s as well as below Windy.  Size 16 Half Down Hoppers and Twisted Babies as well as the good old Elk Hair Caddis in size 12 have been about as technical as you’ve needed to get with them, and we’ve also had great reports of spruce moth fishing on our surrounding lakes as well as on the Gallatin.  Evening Caddis action is still going strong in the wade section, particularly between Raynolds and Three Dollar Bridge, and a well presented Butch or X-Caddis trailing Kelly’s Downed Caddis has been about all you need to know.  Be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.