It’s almost game-on here in the Madison valley as runoff is slowly coming to an end. Recent rain storms have made water clarity slightly murkier but conditions should clear up by this weekend. Your best bet of finding clearer water would be in the upper section above the West Fork. The Madison out of Hebgen is currently sitting at around 450 cfs, 897 cfs out of Kirby, and 1650 cfs out of Varney. Many of the tributaries are still pushing out water but are slowing down drastically. Water conditions are changing by the day, especially this time of year so be sure to keep an eye out for flows and conditions daily.
This time of year means big bugs, but cloudy weather and colder water have kept the Salmonfly and Golden hatches to a minimum. Throwing a large stonefly imitation and nymphing the pocket water and the banks is going to be your most productive way of finding fish as these large stoneflies begin to stage on the banks. Lift up a rock and don’t be surprised to find a plentitude of large stoneflies crawling around! We should start seeing some hatches by later next week. Trailing a Prince nymph under a #4 mega prince or #6 black rubber legs has been killing it for me lately. Streamer fishing is still a very exciting way to get your line tight this time of year. With water conditions still sitting somewhat fast and dirty, it's never a bad idea to throw a large articulated streamer with a wool/deer hair head that pushes water. Most of the time when these fish are eating our streamers this time of year, they feel with their lateral lines and eat based on a predatory instinct. Chucking it against the bank or softer water behind boulders has been picking up fish. Tying on a D&D or a Silk kitty in olive and white is always a good bet.
Try to avoid fish pictures when you can out there. Everybody loves a great trout photo, but not as much as you think they do. We're in the midst of our annual Fly SALE. Checkout our SALE flies here for killer deals on your favorite patterns. If you're interested in what the river looks like here in town, give the live cam a gander below!
- MTS Guide Jonah "Easy Eyes" Schlee