MADISON RIVER FLOWS
Due to NWE establishing the winter outflow from Hebgen to accommodate the brown trout spawn, the flows dropped a little more this past week. Once they determine the winter outflow for October and November they will likely not go below that flow throughout the winter months – we are likely there now.
West Yellowstone - 377 CFS
Below Hebgen - 844 CFS
Kirby - 834 CFS
Varney - 1060 CFS
Please remember that brown trout have begun to make their annual spawning run - play these fish (all fish) quickly and release them unharmed. If you must, snap a quick pic and get them back in the water - keep them as wet as humanly possible and limit their exposure to the air and your fishing gloves. Take those gloves off when handling fish! If you notice fish on redds- LEAVE THEM ALONE. These brown trout need all the help they can get.
BETWEEN THE LAKES
We’ve had more than a month now of the best fall foliage here in Hebgen Basin. With this recent spell of frosty mornings, combined with the fact that October is half over, the leaves are now littering the ground. A push of rainy, snowy weather came through the last couple of days but this weekend looks to be pretty nice, all things considered. Early next week could see another spell of scuzzy weather. Be prepared with streamers, nymphs and dry flies. I would be on the look out for a BWO emergence mid/late morning throughout the afternoon everyday. Don't forget to carry bear spray either, by now, it should just part of one's everyday attire.
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 a 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.
Not a lot will change for the rest of the season in the Wade Section, until winter really sets in, things should be pretty stable down there. If you want to get an early start, your best bet is swinging or stripping a streamer. I personally like a floating line and a 9ft leader - I will fish a heavy sculpin pattern in the deeper runs or something that doesn't sink too fast and fish the shallower riffles. Depending on the day, the streamers bite might last for several hours or start and stop depending on the bite. Poke around the banks and in the slicks and watch for fish to rise. For me personally, I fish a single dry fly to eliminate drag when wade fishing. Definitely be on the look out for a late morning/early afternoon BWO emergence any day from here on out. I always carry a standard Pheasant Tail (no bead) this time of the year to be dropped off a dry fly and fished in the shallow riffles or slicks. Cover water, move quickly and then slow down when you start catching fish and pay attention to the water fish are coming out of. It’s really banker’s hours these day, there is no rush to get down to the river is dry fly fishing is your thing. 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.
With flows dropping down a quite a bit over the past few week, the river is skinny in some spots throughout the float stretch. Overall, its been pretty darn empty down there with regards to traffic. The bite has still been day to day or hour by hour, but for those willing to put in the work, the rewards are there for sure. We have been nymphing or stripping streamers during the morning and then just after lunch, switching over to ants or a BWO after lunch. Fishing small dries like the BWO can be difficult at times as these flies are so small (cycle through a new fly once in awhile if need be to help withe floatation) and hit the slicks and edges of the banks, some really nice fish can be taken this time of the year on BWO patterns. Don't be afraid to fish two small nymphs in the shallow water either.
Deep nymphing is always on deck in October and it's been pretty good lately with jigs, Shop Vacs, Olive Dips, Zebra midges, bunny fur flies, Juju Baetis and small rubber legs. Fishing an Olive bouface or Sparkle Minnow in the morning is never a bad idea either. Smaller attractor dries still work from time to time, but less and less nowadays - patterns such as Micro Chubbies, Jojo’s Chubinator, Jojo’s Red/Black Ant or Jojo's Honey Ant can still fool a few fish if the sun comes out for an extended period of the afternoon. Jojo's BWO, Parachute Adams and BWO Sparkle Duns are great choices for small dry flies. A drag free drift will help immensely.