Madison River Fishing Report

Madison River Fishing Report for July 7th, 2022

Dam: 913 cfs

Kirby: 1,300 cfs

Varney: 1,840 cfs

The Madison is about as good as it gets right now — Flows are perfect, bugs are popping from top to bottom, and fish have been looking up for the dry fly very well over the last week.  Suffice to say, life is good here in the Madison Valley.

Salmonflies and Golden Stones are what most people have been chasing on the middle portions of the river, but there are also tons of caddis, PMDs, Green Drakes, and Yellow Sallies throughout the entire Upper Madison.  The vast majority of our larger stoneflies can be found between Windy Point and Storey Ditch, with quite a few hanging on 3-4 miles below Storey.  We have been doing best on larger salmon fly patterns such as the Egg Drop, Henry’s Fork Foam Stones, and Will Dornan’s Water Walker fished tight to the bank in the late morning and afternoon hours, but the evening bite has been getting really good as well over the last couple of days.  When the bugs start to take flight and hit the water, we have also been finding some really nice fish eating in the middle of the river and off-bank structures such as gravel bars and boulders so be sure to search out those areas if you are not finding fish on the banks.  Smaller #10-#12 Golden Stones have also been a very effective and are worth a try if you are getting refusals on the big bug.  And yes…it’s been busy out there but the fishing has more than made up for it.

The Upper Wade Section between Quake and Lyon’s Bridge should see the larger stoneflies start to show by the end of the weekend, and it has been fishing well with nymphs and dries recently.  As far as other bugs are concerned, it has primarily been a caddis game up until a few days ago, as PMDs are just starting to pop around Raynolds and Three Dollar Bridge.  Make sure you have a good selection of X-Caddis, Elk Hairs, and Missing Links in size 14-18 and a few Royal Micro Chubbies in #14-16 for some or the larger fluttering adults — Most of the bug activity has been from mid morning through the early afternoon hours and then again in the evening.  Evening caddis fishing is just getting going in the upper stretches and should only get better with each passing day.

If you can’t seem to get fish to look at the dry you can always go subsurface and nymph them up.  Olive Caddis Larva, Yellow Sally Nymphs, Tungsten Red Necks, Shop Vacs, Three Dollar Dips, PMD Barr’s Emergers, Blowtorches, and variety of Perdigons have all been fishing extremely well.  Fish have been holding in more traditional summer lies since the water level dropped two weeks ago, so be sure to fish the heavy seams, pockets, and larger drops in addition to the banks.  Also worth noting is that with so much food available this time of year you may have to change your flies several times before you figure out what they want, but once you crack the code the bite has been incredible.

For all the streamer folks out there the bite has been a little slow lately, and that is usually how it goes on the Upper Madison once the bugs start to really get going.  If you want to strip some big ones up, we would suggest fishing early and late in the day, particularly on the lower river down by Ennis or the area between the lakes.  Darker colored streamers like Peanut Envys, Dungeons, and Silk Kitties are always a good bet early in the morning, and with water temperatures bottoming out in the low to mid 50’s you can rest assured that they will chase down a fast retrieve.  If you are not having much luck, get out the floating line and tie on a salmon fly.  This is one of the few times of the year that that monster brown you are looking for will be just as likely to eat a big dry fly!

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