Madison River Report - August 17, 2023

Madison River Report - August 17, 2023

MADISON RIVER FLOWS-

Things warmed back up and the river flows have followed.  There could be another slight bump this week, but with the wet weather forecasted for this weekend, that may not happen.

Below Hebgen- 1120 CFS

Kirby- 1160 CFS

Varney- 1320 CFS

BETWEEN THE LAKES

Fish a single dry fly folks, especially when you’re on foot.  We’ve been saying this for a month now, so make your drift happy and fish with just one fly. There still are some caddis around, fishing those in the slicks and in the shallow skinny riffles. The morning temps are still a little chilly down inbetwix the lakes, which for the next couple of days, is a great thing.  It getting out there early this week, now is the time to fish the morning, be done around 2 or 3pm, find some shade and take a load off your feet.  Crack a beer, make a margarita, drink some cold water…whatever suits your needs. If heading down early, like at sunrise, nymphing and streamer fishing will be better bets but twitching a nocturnal stonefly along the banks isn’t a bad idea either. Be on the look out for flying ants, spruce months, hopper and nocturnal stone flies – these are your dry flies of choice right now.

Small caddis like the Comparabuzz, X-caddis and Iris Caddis, PMD spinners, Jojo’s Ant, various hopper patterns, spruce moths, Hoovie’s and Micro Chubbies, pink Water Walkers, Pink 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.

WADE SECTION

The sun is shining and things are getting hot out there.  Now is the time to limit that afternoon and evening fishing.  If you have a hankering to fish the evening, head into YNP and find those higher elevation streams – leave the Madison alone after 3pm and do the trout a favor.  We have a wet weather system arriving Friday evening, so bring that rain jacket and expect things to cool back down on Saturday.

Small dry flies will produce this week from below Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge.   Ants, pink Water Walkers, Pink Chubby, Lightning Legs Hopper, Circus Peanuts, 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 on the menu this week as well as spruce moths. 

This next part will be in every report from here on out….  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. 

FLOAT SECTION

The float section can be a little hit and miss 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.

I have said this already, but folks, it’s getting hot out there!  Go early and quit early.  Yes, the Madison is well oxygenated, but we’ve seen some 69-70 water temps the past few days in the float stretch and that will only continue until the rain arrives this weekend. It’s okay to sit back and enjoy floating the river! 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. 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.  Hopper season is here, some days have been better than others down there with grasshoppers - you gotta go to know. You also need to reach cast when fishing the banks and get long drifts in the middle of the river. 

Corn-Fed Caddis, Missing Links, #16 Chubbinator, various ant patterns, Micro Chubbies, Jojo’s Chubbinator, 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, Spanish Bullet Quill, Olive Hot Spot Jig, smaller rubber legs, CDC Pheasant Tail, Tungbead PT, King Prince, Duracell, or AZ Hares Ear nymph either under a Chubby or larger indicator. 

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.

Explore the Madison

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