The flows have dropped back down a couple hundred, apparently to conserve water in Hebgen Lake…. FYI…the lake is NOT low. The powers that be at PPL are saying they dropped the flows because they don’t want to get below the “Recreation Level” on the lake….whatever that means……it has something to do with motor boaters and home owners on the lake being able to get their boats in and out. With any luck, the river will bump back up again after the first of September.
below Hebgen: 1040 cfs….it could be worse
at Kirby: 1130 cfs
at Varney: 1230 cfs
These lower flows make fishing through the Cameron flats (below Story ditch) a bit tough. Anglers and trout loved the flows of the past few weeks and the river below Story was fishing really well. Mother Nature has been helping to keep the river cool; with chilly over night temps, cloud cover and afternoon rain showers.
It’s terrestrial time on the Madison River! Actually, there are still mayflies coming off in some areas of the upper Madison, but it seems as if the ant patterns are producing better results. The wade stretch has been pretty good and the pressure has been minimal. Hopper fishing is day to day….three days ago, the hopper bite was stupid good in the wade stretch. A single hopper fished on the bank, in the middle, off the shelves worked oh so well. Two days ago, the hopper bite was just so-so.
FISH CLOSE FIRST – what does this mean, you ask? Fish the banks before you wade into the river. My father and I wade fish quite a bit this time of the year and 75% of the trout we catch are right on the banks…inches away. They are so close to the bank that one can drop the fly off the grass and move some very big brown trout. If you spook a brown off the bank, odds are it will come back to the exact same spot an hour later. The brown below, was just shy of twenty inches and I never saw the fly get eaten…..I was fishing about 10 feet off the bank (on my knees), dropping my cast in the grass and watching for the line to tighten up.
Nymphing was been good to great and small flies are best: $3 Dips, olive hare’s ear, small prince nymphs and shop vacs are all producing good results.
If you can muster the early morning rise, the streamer bite has been until noon or so, some days, not even that long. But, if one hits the river at 7 am, he/she will be rewarded when stripping flies.