Madison River Fishing Report

Madison River Fishing Report for June 23nd, 2024

Hebgen Dam: 815 cfs

Kirby: 1,040 cfs

Varney: 1,630 cfs

The Upper Madison has turned a corner over the last week and the river is running clear with tons of bug activity from the West Fork all the way down to Ennis Lake. Flows out of the dam have been lowered to around 800 cfs as NorthWestern Energy looks to bring Hebgen to full pool by the end of the month. Last time we checked, the lake was 98.5% full so expect flows to bump up a bit in the next week in order to match the inflow. For now, the river is flowing at prime levels for nymph, streamer, and dry fly anglers alike so now might be a good time to head on over and spend some much needed time in the Madison Valley.

Bug activity has taken off in a big way and we are seeing good numbers of Caddis, PMDs, Yellow Sallies, and Eperous just about everywhere on the river with the exception of Reynolds up to Quake. That’s pretty typical for this time of year as the very upper reaches are the last to see bugs and also the last to have them. Dry fly fishing is still just getting going and should only get better starting this coming week — The majority of the caddis hatching are 14-16’s but you can also find some size 10’s out there as our great grey spotted sedges are still hitting the water during the early afternoon hours. You can use a smaller chubby or big elk hair to match these giant caddis and trailing a smaller X-Caddis or Corn Fed Caddis in #14-16 is a great way to cover all the bases.

There have been tons of sallies in the mix down river as well and yes….we are starting to see good numbers of Salmonflies on the lower river. Right now the majority of the bugs are between Varney and Burnt Tree with some pockets of bugs from Storey Ditch down to the Cottonwoods. As is typical with the first 3-4 days of the hatch, fishing the big dry hasn’t been great but if you keep at it long enough you should get more than a few shots. Once the majority of the nymphs have hatched down there, fish should start looking up with a little more consistency. We are dealing with warmer temperatures and lower flows than normal this season, so my guess is that the bugs will move faster than normal with more fractures in the hatch than in normal years. Either way, it’s time to throw the big bug and we couldn’t be more excited.

Nymph fishing has been very productive as well, but be prepared to hook your fair share of whitefish as it appears that our population on the Upper Madison is thriving this year! Fish are spread out in their summer lies so don’t neglect those fast seams and pockets in addition to the traditional holes when you head out there. Some of our better patterns this week have been Olive Caddis Larva, CDC Princes, Blow Torches, Green Machines, Barr’s Emergers, Tungsten Yellow Sally Nymphs, Yellow Hot Spot Jigs, Dips, Pat’s Rubber Legs, and Tungsten Soft Hackles.

Streamer fishing has been slowing down a little but you can still find some good fish willing to chase in the upper wade section, between the lakes, and down in valley garden. Barely Legals, Double Screamers, Peanut Envys, and Mini Whiteys have been some of our best patterns over the last week and early mornings and late afternoons/evenings have been the most productive time periods.

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