MADISON RIVER FLOWS-
With the forecast coming to fruition this past week, NEW dropped the flows a little bit to conserve water. There is still plenty of water in the river, no doubt. When things warm back up, and it will, expect to see a bump in flows.
Below Hebgen- 1030 CFS
Kirby- 1100 CFS
Varney- 1280 CFS
BETWEEN THE LAKES
Single dry flies will continue to rein supreme for the rest of the season. Expect caddis to start back up now that the warmer weather has arrived. The morning temps are pretty darn chilly down inbetwix the lakes so it may take some time for the bug life to warm up. If heading down early, nymphing and streamer fishing will be better bets. Once things warm up a bit, be on the look out for caddis.
Small caddis like the Comparabuzz, X-caddis and Iris Caddis, PMD spinners, Jojo’s Ant, various hopper patterns and micro chubbies have been solid options to throw tight up against the banks and throughout slick water. Cover the water carefully, but don’t waste time in water that is not producing.
The sun is out again, yea for that! The Madison River trout really like to rise when the sun is shining, they seem to prefer it. Small dry flies will produce this week from below Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge. Micro chubbies, Jojos Chubinator, Iron X-Caddis and Iris Caddis should be in your box along with a handful of spinners, both rusty and cream colored - #14 and #12. Ants and hoppers are back on the menu this week as well. A good cue on when to fish those hoppers is to listen for the clacking wings, once they starting flying about the wind will blow them into the river.
As always, take your time working through water in the wade section. These fish have seen quite a few flies by now and it is important to focus on your first presentation – make it count. That said, don’t continue to make cast after cast in the same spot, make sure to keep moving and fish new water. Some of the biggest trout in the river will sit in 4 inches of moving, well oxygenated water. Find these spots and you will find trout.
The float section can be a fickle one this time of the year. As one moves downstream from Lyon Bridge things change at a rapid pace and what worked in one mile may not work in another. So don’t get married to one way of fishing. That said, they are plenty of times I have changed flies throughout the day trying to figure it out, only to go back to what I started with to find success. Sound confusing? Yep, it is. With the sunshine entering back into the forecast, look for mayflies spinners to make a comeback in the trout’s diet. There are more nocturnal stone flies around each week, that can be a great way to start the day, but you may find yourself blind casting without a ton of success. Don’t fret, it happens to us all. I personally like to drop off a bead head and fish the trench off the bank when they aren’t eating the big bug around the rocks and mid river bars. Caddis are still hatching and with the sunshine, they will reappear. Ants!!! Fish ‘em single, that’s the way I like to anyway and seem to find trout willing to eat them through the day. We keep saying that Hopper season is right around the corner. It is, hopefully this week once things have a chance to dry out from last week’s rain.
Corn-Fed Caddis, Missing Links, #16 Chubbinator, various ant patterns, Micro Chubbies, Pink Chubbies, Pink Water Walkers and Fat Albert have been great options for feeding rising fish. Bring along some #12 and #14 mayfly spinners as well.
When the going gets tough, you can always tie on a small dropper to try to get fish moving. Try an Olive Bullet Quill, smaller rubber legs, CDC Pheasant Tail, Duracell, or AZ Hares Ear nymph either under a Chubby or larger indicator.