Summer fishing is in full swing on the upper Madison. Hoot owl restrictions have been placed on surrounding fisheries. See below for more information. Upper Madison River flows are still ideal at 1700 CFS and temps are consistently dropping each night, making anglers and fish happy! Tons of insect activity going on making a variety of flies and tactics fair game for fooling our trout. Best dry fly fishing is early and late, though the die hards are reporting fish looking up to terrestrials more and more each day. Blistering day time highs will subside briefly this weekend and bump back up again. The moss we reported a while back is still around, but it is not all that bad. You have to clean off some clump every once and a while, but the fish don't seem to mind it. It is particularly abundant from Storey to the lake, but again, it shouldn't change your plans because it is quite manageable.
Plenty of small caddis are coming off throughout the day, especially towards late afternoon into the late evening. Fish continue to eat smaller attractor patterns like the purple or royal chubbies, PMX and stimulators to name a few. Purple Wulffs and Adams have been very effective, along with rusty spinners as we see an abundance of various mayflies both large and small in the late morning. It is definitely time to consider the hoppers and ants in the middle of the day. Fish them hard and make a splash. Spruce moths are around so look for them around densely covered banks. Dropping a small nymph like a #16 Copper John, prince nymphs or hare's ear a good 3-5 feet below the dry is a good call.
The nymph fishing has been solid up and down the river with the standard patterns proving successful - prince nymph, hare's ear, silver lightning bugs, girdle bugs, psycho prince and copper johns. The prince variations have definitely been effective. Definitely consider the standard prince, jig head prince, Delektable Mega Prince, 20-Incher and the psycho prince. The girdle bug has been a standout lately, possibly because of some nocturnal stonefly activity. A lot of nice fish are coming from the shallows and in the middle of the river, so keep them in the water.
Natural sculpin streamers have had their moment. Sculpzillas, Trevors, Sheila and Zonkers dragged under and indicator will work. Also consider tying a small nymph off the back and stripping it back with the speed of the current and some erratic twitches.
Let us know how it goes! (406) 682-4293
Here is a brief statement from FWP regarding the recent hoot owl restrictions:
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
(BOZEMAN, Mont.)—High water temperatures and low stream flows have prompted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to implement “hoot owl” restrictions on several rivers in Southwest Montana starting Wednesday.
The following sections of rivers will be closed to fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight until conditions improve effective Wednesday:
These restrictions come two weeks later in the year than the first restrictions seen in 2015 and 2016.
Regional Fisheries Manager Travis Horton said, “We’ve been fairly fortunate so far this year with flows in general, but temperatures are high and could stay that way for a while.”
Additional restrictions are possible on other stretches of these or other southwest Montana rivers in the coming weeks.
For up-to-date information on restrictions related to drought, visit http://fwp.mt.gov/news/restrictions/.