MADISON RIVER FLOWS
Flows dropped a little bit this week, due to the lack of rain. We had some rain on Wednesday (yesterday) that could bump up the Madison a little bit, but not too much. These are solid flows for this time of the year making the runs, banks and the mid river gravel bars pretty darn fishy.
West Yellowstone - 377 CFS
Below Hebgen - 986 CFS
Kirby - 1080 CFS
Varney - 1210 CFS
BETWEEN THE LAKES
This past week Mother Nature gave us a break and offered up some much needed sunshine and warm weather, hooray for that! Looking forward, the mornings should continue to provide for good streamer fishing and nymphing this Fall. Hopper and ants are on the menu on sunny afternoons...for now anyway. I would be on the look out for a BWO emergence mid morning through the late afternoon any day from now until the end of the season. There have been some grizzly bears and bull elk down Inbetwix from time to time - always be on the look out for wildlife and it's a good idea to carry bear spray.
Jojo’s Ants (all colors), Arrick’s Cinnamon Ant, and Heames’ Honey Ant are all excellent tricky choices for feeding those smart fish between the lakes. Jojo's BWO, Parachute Adams and BWO Sparkle Duns are great choices for small dry flies. I always carry a standard Pheasant Tail (no bead) this time of the year to be dropped off an ant or large Parachute Adams and fished in the shallow riffles or slicks. A #10 black rubber leg, #16 olive hot spot jig, #18 Pheasant tail, #16 serendipities, #16 Shop Vac, #16 black Zebra midges, #16 and #18 Juju Baetis are all great choices for nymphing.
If you’re eager to hit the water early, try swinging or stripping a streamer until things warm up a little bit - that normally happens around 1pm or so. Fishing a #16 olive caddis(Jojo's #16 Chubbinator works well) or ant is will move a fair share of fish along the banks and in the slicks when fished properly - without drag. Remember, these fish have seen a ton of dragging flies. For me personally, I fish a single dry fly to eliminate drag when wade fishing. Cover water, move quickly and then slow down when you start catching fish and pay attention to the water fish are coming out of. This past week we saw hot, sunny days and the fish were eagerly taking hoppers just about everywhere we cast them. This should be the case from here on out until things really start to get cold. Nymphing has been productive as well with jigs, Shop Vacs, Olive Dips, Zebra midges, Juju Baetis and small rubber legs. Black/Olive BFE, Olive Bouface, Sparkle Minnow, Scuplin Snacks and the Thin Mint are all great streamer patterns.
The float section is still in prime shape with regards to the flows. The bite has been day to day, it's honestly hard to pin down why these fish eat some days and why they don't eat other days. That said, this past week has been really good down on the Madison. We have been nymphing during the morning and then just after lunch, switch over the hoppers and ants. As long as the sun is out and the weather is on the warmish side, those hoppper and ants are on the menu. On those cloudy over cast day, fishing the banks with a BWO is to not be overlooked. Olive caddis are around in decent numbers and fish are willing to eat them in the shallows and slicks. They also really like to eat the free swimming caddis pupa this time of the year.
Deep nymphing is always on deck in September, it's been pretty good lately with jigs, Shop Vacs, Olive Dips, Zebra midges, Juju Baetis and small rubber legs. Fishing an Olive bouface or Sparkle Minnow in the morning is never a bad idea until the sun gets high enough for dry fly fishing 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.