MADISON RIVER FLOWS
The end of August is clearly here! These are pretty solid flows for this time of the year making the banks and the mid river gravel bars pretty darn fishy.
Below Hebgen- 986 CFS
Kirby- 1070 CFS
Varney- 1230 CFS
BETWEEN THE LAKES
Terrestrials are still making their moves as summer winds down, and dominating the dry fly game for the time being. Ants and hoppers have both been heavily prevalent all along the Madison, and fish haven’t been shy to come up for them. Jojo’s Honey Ant, Arrick’s Cinnamon Ant, and Heames’ Honey Ant are all excellent tricky choices for feeding those smart fish between the lakes. Other than single ants, fishing a bigger Thunder Thighs or Morrish Hopper with a dropper in the mornings may be slightly more productive while waiting for the morning to warm up and if you plan to head out that way before 9 or 10am.
As always, don’t get caught up in casting over and over waiting for a desperate fish to appear. Cover water, take your time on each cast, don’t get sloppy with your presentation.
With the temps starting to drop down a bit as fall weather begins to roll in, it’s not a terrible idea to wait a little longer than usual to get out on the water in the mornings. If you’re eager to hit the water, try swinging a streamer through any deep water you’re antsy to get out into. (Pun not intended). Fishing a #16 olive caddis or ant is will move a fair share of fish. There are still plenty of Epeorus Mayfly spinners around, so keep an eye out for their little dance. Once they hit the water the trout will be all over them.
The float section is still in nearly prime shape, fishing best once the sun comes out each day. The sun isn’t just something we’re happy to see in the afternoon to thaw our bones out- it is a serious game changer in determining the willingness of most fish in the Madison. The hopper and ant bite has been much better in the afternoons than mornings, leaving time to drop a streamer down into some deeper water while you wait to throw dries. Olive caddis are around in decent numbers, and fish are dialed into caddis in the slicks and banks. The deep nymphing game has been pretty good lately as well with jigs, Shop Vacs, Olive Dips, Zebra midges and smaller rubber legs.
Make a program out of tossing an Olive or Black bouface in the early morning to find some more active fish. Transition to ants and smaller dries such as Micro Chubbies, Jojo’s Chubinator, Iron X Caddis, Iris Caddis, Arrick’s Cinnamon Ant, Jojo’s Red/Black Ant or Jojo's Honey Ant once the sun comes up. As the day goes on, switch things up with droppers on bigger dries or even drifting a zonker streamer through deep, slow holes.
Don’t be afraid to change things up, and find what “doesn’t” work before you find the winning ticket- patience is key