MADISON RIVER FLOWS
Flows bumped a little bit this week, due to Hebgen Reservoir needing to drop in elevation. 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 - 356 CFS
Below Hebgen - 1090 CFS
Kirby - 1100 CFS
Varney - 1240 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!
BETWEEN THE LAKES
This week we encountered some beautiful Fall days mixed in with afternoon rain showers. There might not be a more beautiful place to wet a line on Earth, I think that every time I step in the Madison River between the lakes. We have a system arriving today, more like late last night, that will remind us all that Winter is near. 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, but their days are limited. 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.
Not a lot has changed from last week - for the early rising anglers, 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. 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 afternoons and the fish were eagerly taking ants just about everywhere we cast them. 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 in prime shape with regards to the flows. The bite has still been day to day, 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 the hoppers, ants or and olive caddis pattern of your choice. The days of fishing hopper and ants are coming to a close, but the BWO emergence should be strong this weekend. This cold front will likely slow the dry fly caddis fishing down, but those fish really like to eat the free swimming caddis pupa this time of the year subsurface.
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 either. 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/if the sun comes up. Jojo's BWO, Parachute Adams and BWO Sparkle Duns are great choices for small dry flies, especially this weekend.