Fishing Report August 13th, 2014

Madison River

Dam: 985 cfs

Kirby: 1,130 cfs

Varney: 1,300 cfs

The Upper is still fishing pretty well and the Nocturnal Stonefly bite is hanging in there for the most part. The big news over the last week is that we started seeing flight ants over the last three or four days.  If you have ever hit an ant flight you know that there are very few things that can top it, be it salmonflies, spruce moths, or even drakes.  Ants are a staple for trout this time of year but when the ants are recolonizing and the big females hit the water there is simply nothing that can compare to it.  We have still not seen a big flight, but the smaller males are everywhere out back right now, so make sure to stock your terrestrial box with some honey ants before hitting the water or you may be kicking yourself all the way back to the parking lot.  Some of our favorite patterns for imitating these are Cinnamon Ant Acids, Delektable Flying Ants, and Harrop’s CDC Water Wasp.

The nocturnal bite that usually ends around eight in the morning has been holding on well into the mid-morning some days. This has made for a pretty easy transition to the hopper ant combo, which you can hopefully fish out the rest of day. This week I have been doing well on the pink BLT hoppers above Raynold’s but most of the guides are still saying it’s been a marginal hopper bite below Lyon’s Bridge…small attractors and terrestrials (ants, beetles, etc) have been the way to go down there.

If you can’t get them to look up, then the nymph bite between Quake and the West Fork has been very productive with small serendipities, Green Machines, and midges.  It’s been getting a  little tougher in the float section, but you can still get it done most of the time.

Fishing Report for August 4th, 2014

Madison River

Dam: 1,040 cfs

Kirby: 1,240 cfs

Varney: 1,390 cfs

The Upper Madison is still fishing quite well, and not a whole lot has changed since our last report with the exception of the streamer bite.  We have noticed that some of our larger browns have been chasing articulated patterns with more regularity than in weeks past, but obviously mornings and evenings have been the most productive time periods unless you have the clouds hovering over you all day.  As far as patterns go, it’s been the usual suspects for the most part: olive envys, dungeons, and pecs in periods of low light and barely legals in the sun…we’ve had limited windows where natural has been the way to go, but that is usually during the first and last hours of true daylight, or what we refer to as “yellow light.”  During the heat of the day, you are still better off dragging zonkers, sculpzillas, or your fur of choice with a lightning bug or copper john off the back though.

However, throwing junk has not been the only reason to get up early– The nocturnal stoneflies are in full force from Three Dollar Bridge down to Ennis, and we’ve been having some incredible mornings below Lyon’s Bridge over the last week.  Most of the action has been from o’ dark -thirty until 8:30 a.m. but we’ve also had a few days where the bite continued well through the early afternoon hours.  Some of our best patterns have been #10 Chubby Chernobyls in gold and purple, #10 Fat Alberts in tan, and #10 Mr. Midnights in gray, but they will also take larger hopper patterns as well.  In addition to the nocturnals, we still have a few caddis and epeorus kicking around and small terrestrials/attractors are starting to make their way into the rotation a little more these days.

Nymphing continues to be your best option throughout the upper river if you are looking to rack up numbers, but I guess that is almost always the case no matter what time of year.  Rubber legs and other stonefly patterns are good early and late, but we’ve been having to go a little smaller in the wade section once the sun comes up.  Three Dollar and other serendipities are usually the most consistently patterns during August, and this year has been no exception.  Other honorable mentions are #18 lightning bugs and other small attractors,  shop vacs, olive hares ears, and #18 pheasant tails.  We still have decent numbers of caddis hatching throughout the wade section most evenings, but my guess is that that window of opportunity will be closing sooner than later.

Fishing Report for July 27th, 2014

Madison River

Dam: 1,080 cfs

Kirby: 1,280 cfs

Varney: 1,440 cfs

The Upper Madison is still fishing well in both the wade and float sections, and the crowds of weeks past have started to thin out considerably.  We still have caddis and epeorus hatching in decent numbers, and are still fortunate enough to be having some great evening sessions around Three Dollar and Raynold’s Bridge over the last five days– It is still good enough that a #16-#18 Olive or Tan X-Caddis has been about all you need to know, followed by a #16 Rusty or Bobby Spinner for the last hour into dark.   While the bugs are still hanging around a little longer than we thought they would, I would guess that their numbers will start to dwindle over the course of the next week or so.  In the meatime, we are starting to see more and more nocturnal stones pop up below the West Fork with each passing day and there have been an impressive amount of shucks below Ruby Creek as well.  Early mornings and evenings are still your best best for getting fish up on your favorite imitations, and some of our favorites are Chubby Chernobyls, Fat Alberts, and Morrish Hoppers.

The hopper bite should start to get going any day now, but we have yet to receive a good report from guides or recreational anglers as of late; however, small terrestrials such as ants and beetles have been taking some really nice fish during the early afternoon hours…small attractors such as Cripple Royal Wulffs, Trudes, Stimulators, purple hazes, and the tried-and-true parachute adams should not be overlooked this time of year either.  Also worth noting is that we are starting to see spruce moths falling around Pine Butte and up and around Quake and Hebgen Lakes.  We’ve been seeing a few hit the water below Lyon’s Bridge as well, so make sure to be prepared with a few #16 Twisted Babies, #12-14 Elk Hairs, or #16 Half Down Hoppers before heading down that way.

There are always going to be those days where trying to raise a fish is like pulling teeth, so don’t be affraid to put on the indicator when times get tough.  We are still doing really well in the wade section on basic patterns such as PTs, Caddis larva/pupa, princes, serendipities, and the like but they are starting to get a little more “snoody” below Lyon’s Bridge.  One of the most productive ways to fish the river when things get a little more technical and fish aren’t looking up  is to go to the zonker/beadhead system while drifting on the run and then isolating good holding water by posting up and running small caddis pupa and midges a little higher in the water column.

Streamer fishing has started to pick up in the mornings again, and should continue to get better with the increase in flows and the cooler night time temps we’ve been experiencing over the last week or so.  Olive Dungeons and Pecs Sculpins have been some of our go-to patterns during periods of low light and the baby barely legal is always one of our favorites once the sun hits the water.

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Three Dollar pinebutte Brown gold Floating the Madison River Dan's Brown John