Madison Report - July 11, 2024

Madison Report - July 11, 2024

The UPPER MADISON RIVER from the outlet of Hebgen Dam to Ennis Lake is OPEN to fishing, there are no closures in this stretch.  

Madison River Flows:

With the recent on set of a summertime heat wave, NWE has bumped the flows out of Hebgen Dam 185 CFS over the past few days.  This is due to pulse flows needs below Ennis Lake on the lower Madison River.  When the flows bump up on the Lower Ennis Lake is refilled from higher flows out of Hebgen Dam.  Hebgen is still nearly one foot from full pond so there is plenty of water to go around.   Generally speaking about 60% of that bump will hit Ennis Lake.  This is due to irrigation needs around Cameron Flats.  

Below Hebgen: 1140 cfs

Kirby: 1290 cfs

Varney: 1540 cfs 

 

Between the Lakes

Things haven't changed much in nearly two weeks.  This stretch, by far, has the coolest water of any stretch on the Upper Madison River.  Today's high temp was 58 degrees and the low was 56 degrees.  Fishing below Hebgen has been pretty consistent with bugs emerging daily.  Caddis, mayflies and various stoneflies are flying around, heading down with loads of dry flies is the best plan of attack.  While you might see a late hatching Salmonfly, the hatch is pretty much over. 

Flies - chubbies of all sizes, Riffle Riser PMD cripple, Iron X Caddis, #14 & #16 Jojo's PMD, #14 Sparkle Dun PMD, Baltz's Paranymph #12-14, Last Chance PMD Cripple, Center Stage Caddis, Ginger Chubinator #16, Copenhaver Rusty Spinner #14 and #12, #14 PMD Film Critic, Razorback Salmonfly, Flutterbug, Jojo's Salmonfly, Jojo's Golden, HF Salmonfly. 

For those wanting to nymph, try smaller nymphs like BH Shop Vacs, Bullet Quill style Jigs, BH Serendipities, Roza's Pink Hare's Ear, 101 Stones, Epoxyback Golden Stone, Pheasant Tail, Frenchie, AZ Hare's Ear, PTs, Serendipites and the like. 

Wade Section

These higher flows are really noticeable in the reach from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge due to the narrowness of the river and the large boulder fields pushing water around. There are now even more places for the fish to hide and deeper holes for them to take refuge in. The islands have more water flowing around them and the banks are about as sexy as you can find anywhere in the world. Morning river temps are starting out at 56 degrees but around 5pm things are warming up to almost 68 degrees.  Dissolved oxygen in the river plays a vital role in the health of the fishery, let's not forget the Madison River is plum full of dissolved O2. BUT,  please fight those fish quickly, use heavier tippet when possible and keep those fish wet!   1290 cfs is a great flow for the wade section, but be careful when wading thigh deep and deeper.  The river is strong and even the seasoned wade fisherman can get pushed around right now. Fish are eating dry flies throughout the day - caddis, stoneflies of all kinds and PMDs are hatching.  Salmonflies are still fluttering about here and there, but it's pretty much over with.  However, there are still some Golden Stone around. Flies - chubbies of all sizes, Riffle Riser PMD cripple, Iron X Caddis, #14 & #16 Jojo's PMD, #14 Sparkle Dun PMD, Baltz's Paranymph #12-14, Last Chance PMD Cripple, Center Stage Caddis, Missing Link is various colors from #12-#16, Ginger Chubinator #16, Copenhaver Rusty Spinner #14 and #12, #14 PMD Film Critic. Jacklin's Salmonfly, Razorback Salmonfly, Jojo's Golden, Jojo's Salmonfly, Flutterbug, Waterwalkers in golden and salmonfly. 

Short leashing a couple of nymphs or fishing a chubby and a long dropper is a great way to cover the water.  Nymphs that we suggest for the wade section are - Hare&Copper, Arizona Hares Ear, Jig Pheasant Tail, Red Neck, Hoover Black or 101 Stone, Bullet Quills, Jig Napoleans, Frenchies or Pheasant Tails.  Medium-sized stones flies and Pat's Rubber legs will likely produce as the bigger nymphs are moving around, but if they aren't eating the big nymph don't fret - they fish could be plum full of stoneflies. 

Float Section

As stated above, flows in the float stretch bumped up slightly and the fishing is hanging in there.  The tributaries are now coming down and might be dropping faster than we'd like due to the low winter slow pack.  Indian Creek is still flowing in the river for the time being.  Float fishing the Madison below Lyon Bridge has been pretty darn fun this year and will continue to be for the unforeseeable future.  From Lyons to Palisades, the river is cooler because of the tributaries flowing in and then steepness of the grade.  From Palisades to Varney the river slows down and its time to start thinking about the early start and early off program.  These bigger flows for sure adds more dissolved oxygen to the river, which helps these fish out.  Today's high temp at Varney Bridge was 70 degrees at 4pm. 

Caddis, more Caddis, PMDs, Flavs and Golden Stones are all on the menu.  When in doubt, fish a caddis!  If you want to nymph, drop a BH off that #8 dry fly and run it.  If you are fishing a dry dropper rig, you're still nymphing, let's not forget that!  The banks, the slicks in the middle, the riffles around the gravel bars all have fish hanging around them. I personally like to fish with a single dry fly these days when targeting rising fish - your drift is just better off, especially in that north wind.  

Flies - chubbies of all colors and sizes, Riffle Riser PMD cripple, Balts's Iron X Caddis, #14 & #16 Jojo's PMD, #14 Sparkle Dun PMD, Baltz's Paranymph #12-14, Last Chance PMD Cripple, Center Stage Caddis, Ginger Chubinator #16, Copenhaver Rusty Spinner #14 and #12, #14 PMD Film Critic, Jojo's Rusty, 

Nymph fishing under a bobber with smaller bead heads like a AZ Hare's Ear, Red Neck, Hare&Copper, Shopvac, 101 Stones, Epoxyback Golden Stones, soft hackle Hare's Ear, various Perdigons will produce some good fishing. 

Now that our first summer HEAT WAVE has arrived we need to consider a few things. 

1. Treat the fish with the utmost respect.  Pull over and release those fish on the banks. 

2. KEEP THEM WET. Do you really need another picture holding a trout?  Get creative with your photos.  Leave those fish in the net to take pics.  Take a slow mo video of releasing your prize back to the river. 

3. If that nice trout swallowed the fly, cut the tippet and leave it in there, no need to jab those hemos down it's throat and make it bleed. 

4. Fish barbless, you don't need that thing if you keep tension on the line.  

5. Fish heavier tippet whenever possible. 

Treat those on the river with kindness and respect, you will actually catch more fish if you do!   When you pull off the bank, give plenty of room to the boats up stream working their way down.  The Madison is moving very fast and most folks who are newer to rowing a boat don't realize that 100 yards is NOT enough space.  Give other boats plenty of room and be cool.  When putting your boat in and taking it out, be efficient, get things done and exit the ramp area.  

 

​​Flows are measured below Ennis Reservoir at USGS gage 06041000 and water temperatures are measured at the Sloan gage that is operated by Northwestern Energy, which is near the Blacks Ford FAS.​ 

​​Water temperatures exceeded 73 degrees in this reach of the Madison River for three consecutive days starting on July 7.​ 

​​Air temperatures over 90 F are anticipated for the foreseeable future with several days approaching 100 F this week. The lower Madison River receives high angling pressure and hundreds of recreational floaters a day during the summer months.​ 


Hoot owl restrictions (2:00 p.m. to midnight) are in effect for the Madison River ​​​​Hebgen Reservoir to Yellowstone National Park boundary​​ beginning July 10

​​Flows and water temperatures are measured at USGS gage 06037500 near West Yellowstone​.

​​Water temperatures exceeded 73 degrees in this reach of the Madison River for three consecutive days starting on July 7.

​​Air temperatures in the upper 80s to 90s are anticipated for the foreseeable future. This is the first time a hoot owl restriction has been placed on this section of the Madison River. After receiving feedback from the public and in anticipation of instituting restrictions, this section was included in the designated hoot owl restrictions table for the Madison River  drainage section of the Statewide Management Plan. The recommended closure is limited to the single section of river between Hebgen and the first location upstream that the river crosses the YNP boundary. Difficulty enforcing restrictions in the short sections adjacent to the YNP upstream would be difficult. ​ ​ 

click here for the most up to date restrictions for the State Of Montana. 

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