Fish the Dry!

Fishing the madison river

If there are any doubts about whether or not summer arrived when the solstice rolled around recently, they should take a look at my cherry red knee caps right now from sitting in a boat. It’s hot, dry, and summer flows are here. That holds significance for many things fishing related, but none more plainly obvious than this: put away that damn bobber for a minute!

Seriously though, a chubby/dropper rig right now and for the remainder of the summer is about as reliable as finding cold beer at the Gravel Bar. Some of my favorites recently have been the Chubby in brown or gold size 8. And, the little mini Chubbies in peacock or gold size 12 have consistently seen agape mouths from trouts. If you’re looking to fool a fish on a Salmonfly, try the Still Stone or another favorite of mine - the Paulson’s Flutter Bug. That’s one sexy stone. The kind where you have so much fun casting a giant dry on a thick leader and watching it float, that you forget about fishing for a moment. Until a splash wakes you out of your salmonfly euphoria. know, I know, I’m as guilty as the next. But, there are so many adults in the air right now, you could pick just about any dry fly out of our box and have a decent shot at fooling a fish. And what’s more pure and satisfying than seeing a fish eat a dry? Nothing, that’s the answer. Well, maybe a chilled beer around, say 4 PM these days. But really, the big bugs are here, and so many more varieties too. Salmonflies are causing boat jams around Lyons Bridge right now, but moving up quickly. Golden stones, Yellow sallies, PMD’s, Caddis, etc. etc. etc. are also on the menu. Dry or die, baby!

Your dropper fly selection needn't be complicated. Personally, I like something in the 16-18 size range, flashy, andtied about 3-4 ft off your dry with strong knots. A lightning bug or psycho prince are great examples. If you haven’t tried FlyAgra, the floatant, you should. Bar none, the best out there if you ask me. And, if you’re rowing, don’t be afraid to point the bow straight down the middle of the river. Some great fish have been found there recently. Lastly, don’t get complacent when you’re drifting across 6 inches of water in the flats. The biggest fish I’ve seen so far this year came from there. It’s easy to fall into a drift boat coma when it’s 90 degrees, sunny, and you’ve had a few beverages. Don’t fall victim to the surprise donkey brown trout strike. So, come on in, pick a chubby, get a short stout leader and go get hooked up. Remember, Cicadas and Hoppers are up next!

Public service announcement: State officials are restricting fishing to the morning hours on sections of the Big Hole River, Beaverhead, Lower Ruby, Lower Gallatin and the entire Lower Madison River after warm and dry conditions have significantly increased water temperatures. Restrictions went into effect on the two rivers on Thursday. Fishing is banned between 2 p.m. and midnight every day.