Upper Madison River flows have been dropping steadily over the past three days and the fish seem to be in a much better mood. A feeding mood. The flows at the Old Kirby Place are about 1050 cfs and will likely stabilize before the readings at the Varney Bridge gauge do. We will likely continue to see falling or decreasing volume as creeks start recede from their highs of a week ago. As the upper Madison River flows go so goes the lower River. Expect to see dropping flows for the lower Madison River as well.
There are bugs galore on both the upper and Madison the last couple of days. We are seeing great caddis hatches, PMDs, some of the smaller stonefly species often referred to as Sallies. With the hatches we are seeing fish feed very heavily at the front end of these and we are seeing trout with full bellies. With the volume of adult insects around the fish are also starting to look up for dries and we have seen an increase in the dry fly bite the last two days. The upper River is getting ready to burst into one of the most productive insect hatching times of the year. In certain places, the ones I like to call good stonefly banks we are seeing large amounts of salmonfly nymphs staging under rocks very near the bank in some very shallow water. Only a few adults have been spotted on the upper River and so it’s still likely a few days or more away.
Everyone is poised to take advantage of the great emergence. All the birds are waiting. The robins, grackles, blackbirds, terns, and gulls are eating small bugs waiting patiently for the big bugs to show themselves. Anglers are also waiting patiently and if you’re like me fishing the other great hatches until they do show up. It’s the Madison Rivers version of great migrations. Although a few fish can be taken on the big bug before the hatch the best big fish dries have still been caddis and bigger mayfly patterns. It won’t be long now.