Madison River Fishing Report for August 4th, 2023
Dam: 1,030 cfs
Kirby: 1,170 cfs
Varney: 1,390 cfs
Fishing on the Upper Madison has been a little slower over the last week. That’s not to say we haven’t had some great days out there, but there have also been some tough ones too, and a lot of that has to do with the heat wave we’ve experienced over the last two weeks. The good news is that a sustained low-pressure system is in the forecast through next Thursday, which will bring some much needed precipitation and cooler temperatures to the area. Hopefully the cloud cover will make for some happy fish, and get them looking up with more regularity. This front will undoubtably help a lot of the freestone rivers in the area cool down as well.
The upper wade section between Quake and Lyons still has a decent amount of smaller caddis, eperous, and small mayflies hatching, but their numbers start to decrease the further you get below the West Fork of the Madison. Small Cornfed Caddis and X-Caddis, Rusty Spinners, and Small PMD Emergers have been good for us recently, but I wouldn’t go out there without a few Purple Hazes with all the cloud cover in the forecast this week. Productive nymph patterns in this section have all been on the smaller side lately, and it a good selection of small mayfly nymphs like green machines, tungsten red necks, olive hot spots, perdigons, and lightsaber jigs in #16-20 are always a good choice. You’ll also want some Three Dollar Dips, soft hackles, and caddis pupa for good measure.
The float stretch of the Madison has been good one day and tough the next, and we are still waiting on the terrestrial bite to really take off. Two weeks ago we were getting enough good fish to eat small hoppers on the lower river to think that it would really good by now, but it just hasn’t happened yet. The incoming cloud will push the hopper window back another 5-6 days at least, as fish on the Upper Madison generally turn a blind eye towards them unless the sun is shining brightly overhead. If you are looking to throw bigger dries during this period, I would concentrate your efforts on Nocturnal Stones patterns such as Chubbies, Water Walkers, and various chernobyls. The best window for them is usually early in the morning, but they will continue to look for them throughout the day as long as the clouds hold. Black Ants, Purple Hazes/Para Wulffs, and Small Royal PMXs are also a good choice once temperatures start to warm up.
The nymph bite has been tougher down there lately as well, and fish seem to be changing up what they want every day. That should change with the rain and cloudy skies though, and small mayfly nymphs, dips, psycho princes, pat’s rubber legs and black and purple perdigons, are all good choices this time of year.
Streamer Fishing continues to be productive from dawn until 9:30 or so, but we still haven’t done much after that. My guess is that window will get a little better this week so be sure to keep changing up your color and patterns until you dial in what they want. Some of our better flies lately have been Mini Dungeons, Double Screamers, Mini T&A’s, and Mini Loop Sculpin.