Madison River Fishing Report for July 29th, 2022

Dam: 1,050 cfs

Kirby: 1,240 cfs

Varney: 1,430 cfs

It’s been a hot one out there over the last week, but the Upper Madison continues to hold its own.  We are still looking at highs in the low to mid 90’s through Monday, but colder nights and highs in the low 80’s are just around the corner starting on Tuesday.  Water levels at both the Kirby and Varney gauges are in great shape for the last week in July, and with Hebgen reservoir just under 97% of full pool things are looking good as we head into August.

Fishing remains solid throughout the Upper Madison, but we are seeing a lot less aquatic bug life from Palisades down to Ennis.  There are still good amounts of Caddis, Epeorus, and a few PMDs and Yellow Sallies in the upper portions of the river but we are definitely in the transition from small dries to terrestrials and nocturnal stones in the middle to lower portions.

Dry fly fishing has been a lot less consistent this week, but if you keep at it you’ll get into some good ones out there.  If you are looking to throw dries most of the day, your best bet is still between Quake and Palisades and we have been doing best on caddis and small PMDs from the mid morning to early afternoon hours — You can also get some good evening caddis fishing in for the last couple hours before dark.  Corn Fed Caddis in #16-18, #16 Missing Links, #16-#18 X-Caddis, and #18 Elk Hairs are still yielding the most consistent results.  Small PMD patterns like Nyman’s Cripple and Found Link PMDs have also been effective from 10:00 am – noon.

Hoppers and Ants have been getting some looks lately, but we are still not quite there.  Everything is just a little later this year so we should start to see more consistent terrestrial action in the weeks to come.  However, if you are willing to put your time on the lower sections of the Madison you can bring some larger fish up on small Thunder Thighs Hoppers, Morrish Hoppers, Water Walkers, Ant Acids, and Parachute Ants during the early afternoon.  Water temperatures have started to get into the 68-70 degree range after 3:00 pm, so your best window will be from noon to 3 until we start getting some cooler nights next week.

That said, some days they just aren’t looking up and you’ll have to go under for them.  Small perdigons, dips, caddis pupa, yellow sally nymphs, and PMD emergers are the name of the game right now, and we are still finding fish holding along the faster seams and riffles for most of the day.  From McAtee down to Ennis we have been getting fish to eat the Rubber Leg earlier in the morning, as the nocturnal stones have been hatching down there for over a week now.  The nymph bite has not been all that great until after 9:00 a.m. but you can certainly fill that time slot with streamers if you are an early riser.  We have been getting into some great fish from daylight until around 10:00 am or so on a variety of articulated streamers on a fairly fast strip.  The Peanut Envy has been #1 for sure, but Mini Dungeons, Boogie Men, Double Screamers, Barely Legals, and Mini Kill Whiteys have also been getting it done out there.  Unfortunately fish don’t seem willing to chase once the sun gets high, so a lot of folks have been dredging them up with zonkers and other small sculpin patterns under the bob.

Be sure to check back next week for another Madison River Fishing Report from The Slide Inn.