Let the games begin! The salmonfly hatch is slowly moving up river, but we're not seeing an abundance of them taking flight during the middle of the day. Fishing has been a bit of a puzzle as it usually is this time of the year. This is definitely a good time to hire a guide or prowl the bars for some local intel. Nymphing has remained the most effective technique, but those willing to throw the big bugs tight to the banks have seen takes from big fish. The size of the trout being taken lately has been impressive so if you find yourself out of rhythm out there it might be a good idea to focus on finding a 20+er with a salmonfly dry or big streamer.
Nothing too special going on with the nymph game. A big girdle bug, zurdle bug or zonker has been a good choice for a top fly. Follow one of the those with the standard prince nymph, lightning bug, copper john or caddis pupae and you should find a winning combo.
Streamers of all sizes and colors are fair game right now. There are a lot of big fish sticking tight to the bank and many of them have been making the turn to chase sculpin patterns into the current.
Millions of caddis are coming off in the afternoon. The problem is that the fish don't seem to interested in them. It is likely that they are eating them subsurface prior to the hatch. Trailing your dry fly with a emerger is a good call. As for the salmonfly dries, well you guess is best as mine. Come armed with a good selection and make sure you are landing them in the A+ spots.
Like I said, it has been a day-to-day thing lately with lights out fishing one day and relatively slow the next. We have a very slight change in weather upon us for the next couple days with cooler daytime highs. Hard to say what this will do to the flows though. The good news is that is shaping up to be a good water year. Here on the upper Madison we have yet to see the river flows trend downward. There is still a bunch of snow in the Madison Range and the park is dumping a a good bit of runoff into Hebgen.
At the end of the day it is absolutely gorgeous out there right now and you should just go fishing.
Let us know how it goes! (406) 682-4293