MADISON RIVER FLOWS
New for this week is the addition of the West Yellowstone gauge, we added this gauge as it's relative to the Fall fishing on the Madison above Hebgen Lake. Flows bumped up this week due to all the rain we received over the past several days. These are pretty solid flows for this time of the year making the runs, banks and the mid river gravel bars pretty darn fishy.
West Yellowstone - 439 CFS
Below Hebgen - 986 CFS
Kirby - 1090 CFS
Varney - 1260 CFS
BETWEEN THE LAKES
Its been cold and wet here as of late and things look to be drying out for the coming week. The mornings should provide good streamer fishing and nymphing. Hopper and ants are on the menu in the afternoon and I would be on the look out for a BWO emergence mid morning through the late afternoon. There have been some grizzly bears and bull elk down Inbetwix from time to time this summer - always be on the look out for wildlife and it's a good idea to carry bear spray.
Jojo’s Honey Ant, 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.
With the temps fluctuating between 54-64 degrees daily, the Fall fishing looks to be starting out nicely. If you’re eager to hit the water early, try swinging a streamer until things warm up a little bit. Fishing a #16 olive caddis or ant is will move a fair share of fish along the banks and in the slicks when fished properly - without drag. Remember, these fish have seen a ton of dragging flies, for me personally, i fish a single dry fly to eliminate drag. 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 and streamer fishing is productive as well. Black/Olive BFW, Olive Bouface, Sparkle Minnow, Scuplin Snacks and the Thin Mint are all great streamer patterns.
The float section is still in prime shape with regards to the flows. The bite has been day to day, it's honestly hard to pin down why these fish eat some days and why they don't eat other days. As always, the best dry fly fishing is on sunny days. On those cloudy over cast day, fishing the banks with a BWO is to not be overlooked. Once things dry out and the sun comes back into play, the hopper bite will get back to normal again. Olive caddis are around in decent numbers and fish are willing to eat them in the shallows and slicks. They also really like to eat the caddis pupa this time of the year. 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. 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 the sun comes up.