Madison Report - July 4, 2024

Madison Report - July 4, 2024

Madison River Flows:

Flows at the Dam have been consistent for the past eight or nine days.  Hebgen Lake is a full pond and will be be for a while yet.  With the cooler nighttime temps and the rain this week, there hasn't been a call for water on the lower Madison below Beartrap just yet. Everyday it rains or hails, is a blessing. 

Below Hebgen: 955 cfs

Kirby: 1150 cfs

Varney: 1560 cfs

 

Between the Lakes

Things haven't changed much from last week. Fishing below Hebgen is now in full swing with hatches pouring off.  Caddis, mayflies and various stoneflies are flying around, heading down with loads of dry flies is the best plan of attack.  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

Happy Fourth of July folks!  The past couple of days have been a bit on the chilly side with a cooler north wind blowing upstream.  Two mornings ago it was 39 degrees on Fir Ridge at my house.  Morning river temps are starting out at 55 degrees and the river is in prime shape.  1150 cfs is a great flow for the wade section, but be careful when wading thigh deep and deeper.  Now is still the time to put the bobber rig away and fish dry flies.  Sure you can still nymph em' up, if thats your thing.  Fish are eating dry flies throughout the day, Caddis, stoneflies of all kinds and PMDs are hatching.   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. 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

Flows in the float stretch have dropped slightly as the tributaries are now coming down.  Float fishing the Madison below Lyon Bridge has been pretty darn fun this past week and will continue to be for the unforeseeable future. Caddis, more Caddis, PMDs, the occasional Green Drake, Flavs, Golden Stones and Salmonflies are all on the menu.  When in doubt, fish a caddis!  If you want to nymph, drop a BH off that #6 dry fly and run it.  Fish the banks, the slicks in the middle, the riffles around the gravel bars, what ever floats your boat. I personally like to fish with a single dry fly these days, your drift is just better off, especially in that north wind.  There are salmonflies in pockets throughout the float stretch from Lyons to Windy, some areas are much thicker with bugs than others.   

Flies - chubbies of all 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, HF Salmonfliy, Jojos Salmonfly, Egg Drop Salmonfly. 

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.  A good friend of mine once said that "nymphing is what we do when we take the kids fishing in the summer". No offense to the nymphing crowd...

The Madison is a busy place during the Salmonfly Hatch, we recommend staying away from the busy ramps if that bothers you.  Fish below the head of the hatch, swing by the shop and ask where the head of the hatch is if you're not sure.  Treat those on the river with kindness and respect, you will actually catch more fish if you do!  If you find yourself floating around too many boats, pull over for thirty minutes and enjoy the views, it sure is pretty down there in the Madison Valley.  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. Treat the fish with the utmost respect.  Pull over and release those fish on the banks.  When taking pics, get out of the boat next to the bank and keep that fish as wet a humanly possible. 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. Fish barbless, you don't need that thing if you keep tension on the line. Fish heavier tippet whenever possible.  I personally use 6 or 8lb Maxima when fishing a Salmonfly with the anglers in my boat.  I generally fish 3X for most of the smaller dry flies on the end of my line. 

The Madison is shaping up for a wonderful season! The fish are healthy, Hebgen is full, the tribs are still running high and the days are long. Get after it! 

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the Mighty

Madison River

Perhaps the most prominent fishing destination in the area, the Madison River is also one of the most diverse fisheries in the western US, with multiple sections split based on geography and topography.

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