Run off is on the down swing and I would guess that the Madison is just a week or so away from seeing the Big Bugs – maybe 10 days. If this happens, it will be 2 weeks earlier than last season. Last years high water made for great Salmon fly fishing, this year will most likely be different. Caddis and Mayflies will play a larger roll in terms of rising fish this season. When the flows are high (like last season), lots of trout hang on the banks, waiting for the big bugs to fall into the river. This years flow will not be as high for as long, so I would expect the Salmon fly hatch to roll through kinda fast. Rumor has it that the salmonflies are in Bear Trap Canyon, while that is just hearsay, I will know more later today. The upper Madison has 3.5 feet of clarity and has been fishing pretty well sub-surface with caddis pupa/larva, rubber legs and various mayfly nymphs. A few PMDs emerged yesterday and that big bomber chocolate Sedge (caddis) is around in good numbers as well. A #12 Trude or Stimi works great for imitating this fly.
The flows on the upper have dropped 600 cfs in the last few days, so parts of the river have been hit and miss as the fish settle in to new holding water. River temperatures have been hovering around 52-58 degrees over the past few days….any day now it could pop. Thus far, the Madison has been great and will only continue to get better as the insects begin their march to the surface. The next month and a half is gonna be really good.
Remember one thing: This year is not like last year…….they never are.