DAM: 1,300 CFS
KIRBY: 1,800 CFS
VARNEY: 2,280 CFS
Madison River fishing report. The Upper Madison is in full swing and the river is literally exploding with insect activity. You’ll find good numbers of salmonflies and golden stones from 3 miles above Ruby Creek all the way down to Burnt Tree, and it shouldn’t be long before they start to make their presence known in the wade section between Quake Lake and Lyon’s Bridge. Our guess is that they should be up here by the first or second of July and they should hang around for at least a week or two. The hatch is definitely more concentrated in certain sections, but you’ll find plenty of nymphs still staged up along the banks even in the high density areas, so we are still in store for more amazing dry fly fishing in the weeks to come.
While we have been seeing plenty of big fish eating dries since the hatch started down in Ennis, it had been a lot more inconsistent with water levels hovering around 3,000 cfs at Varney. That said, the lower river has dropped over 700 cfs over the last three days and fish have been looking up with a little more consistency since Friday. If you are looking to float, expect to see huge numbers of caddis, PMDs, and Yellow Sallies in addition to the big bugs. We had not been doing very well on the smaller dries when the water was up, but fish have been paying more attention to the smaller patterns over the last couple days. X-Caddis, Bloom’s Para Caddis, Gold Micro Chubbies, Small Stimulators, Para Wulffs and Purple Hazes have been some of our better patterns but the bigger fish seem to be showing themselves a little more on the big stones. The nymph bite has also been extremely good down there, and some of our better patterns have been Pat’s Rubber Legs, Green Machines, Tungsten Yellow Sallies, Three Dollar Dips, PMD Barr’s Emergers, Shop Vacs, lightning bugs, and Krystal Dips although caddis larva has been a good choice as well.
The dry fly fishing has also started to pick up in the wade section since last week. We are now seeing good numbers of caddis and PMDs and it shouldn’t be long before we start to see the sallies flying around here in addition to the larger stoneflies. The big chocolate caddis are still flying in good numbers and people have been doing well on larger patterns such as brown Twisted Babies in size 12, #10 Peacock Elk Hairs, and #10-12 Olive Stimulators. Otherwise, a good selection of tan and olive X-Caddis in sizes 14-18 should be about all you need right now. You’ll also have great nymph fishing throughout the upper 12 miles, and while we are still finding fish on larger stonefly patterns early and late, the most consistent patterns have been smaller caddis and PMD nymphs.
As always, be sure to keep checking back for another Madison River fishing report from the Slide Inn.