Madison River Fishing Report for October 4th, 2017
Dam: 953 cfs
Kirby: 1,030 cfs
Varney: 1,100 cfs
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison is back in full swing this October, and fishing has picked up throughout the entire river. Flows are still holding at near perfect levels, and we are starting to see more in the way of surface activity with the arrival of Fall Baetis and Midges. Colder temperatures have kept most of the crowds at relatively low levels, so now is a great time to hit the river.
Nymphs and dead drifting streamers have been the name of the game recently, especially with morning water temperatures in the low to mid 40 range. San Juan worms, small Pat’s Rubber Legs, baetis nymphs, RS-2’s, Zebra Midges, Red Neck Midges, $3 Dips, and hare’s ears have all been good choices over the last week and we’ve been finding most of the fish in the slower buckets and holes throughout the upper river. The streamer bite has been a little slow first thing in the morning, so you’ll do best by dead drifting small sculpin imitations and zonkers under an indicator until water temps begin to rise in the afternoon. Also worth noting is that we have started to see more in the way of our standard BWO’s (#20) in addition to the microscopic pseudocloeons (or more recently acentrella for all the bug geeks out there). We’ve had some reports of great dry fly fishing between 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. in the wade section over the last week, and two of our favorite patterns for targeting picky fish rising to Blue Wings are Nyman’s BWO cripple #20, Kelly’s BWO tilt wing dun #20. If you encounter fish early on in the hatch that are sipping emergers, try a BWO sprout, floating nymph, or a CDC RS-2 and you should do well out there.
As water temperatures begin to rise in the late morning and early afternoon hours, we’ve been getting some high quality browns willing to chase the big stuff. Sex Dungeons, Silk Kitties, Peanut Envys, Barely Legals, CH T&A’s, and Boogie Men have all been on the menu this week, and we’ve been doing best on the age-old formula of “bright day, bright fly and dark day, dark fly.” If you are as stubborn as we are and want to start streamer fishing first thing in the morning, keep it low and slow and try not to move your fly much past 6-8″ per strip. The only exception to the rule would be in the section between the lakes, where the current 52-54 degree water temps remain stable and do not go through the same temperature swing that you see in Yellowstone National Park or the Madison from Quake Lake to Ennis. We’ve also been getting a lot of calls recently in regards to the current status of browns coming out of the surrounding lakes. For the time being, the Madison in the Park and the section between the lakes have been the most consistent and have the most fish coming into the system. We’ve seen some good fish in the Valley Garden and Varney sections, but it is a trickle compared to what is coming into the park right now. As a general rule of thumb, the runs start first in the higher elevation areas so you will always see fish coming out of Hebgen first, followed by Quake, and then Ennis Lake.
In the meantime the Madison Valley is ripe with Fall colors, crowds are fairly minimal, and the fishing has been good so you could do worse than spend your time on the Upper Madison right now. As always, be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.