MADISON RIVER FLOWS
West Yellowstone - 370 CFS
Below Hebgen - 1090 CFS
Kirby - 1150 CFS
Varney - 1290 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
Fall colors are in full swing around Hebgen Basin and this stretch of water provides for some epic scenery and the opportunity for some great fishing. We potentially have a weather system arriving this weekend (likely on Sunday) so be prepared with streamers, nymphs and dry flies. It could snow, so toss in a layer and that beanie as well. I would be on the look out for a BWO emergence mid/late morning throughout the afternoon any day from now until the end of the season. 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. On the warmer days, a Jojo's #16 Chubbinator or ant will move a fair share of fish along the banks and in the slicks when fished without drag. 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. 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 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 September and 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 still work from time to time - patterns such as Micro Chubbies, Jojo’s Chubinator, Jojo’s Red/Black Ant or Jojo's Honey Ant can still fool a few fish once/if the sun comes up. Jojo's BWO, Parachute Adams and BWO Sparkle Duns are great choices for small dry flies.