Dry Dropper Rigs and Techniques

Late August Madison Fishing Report

August 30th, 2019 -

The Upper Madison continues to fish exceedingly well as we work our way into September. The dry fly fishing has remained both strong and steady over the past few days and has no sign of slowing down. Both hopper and ant patterns have been the most productive when fishing dry flies. The dry fly fishing seems to be best in the later half of the day when the sun is at its highest so no need to be getting on the water super early. In fact, a lot of people have been hanging back until around 10-11 am to start fishing.  However, even though the dry fly fishing hasn’t been the greatest on these cool mornings, the nymph and streamer fishing has been extremely effective. Fish seem to be keying in on small sculpin imitations in addition to various stonefly and bead head nymphs. With the river flows slightly dropping start to focus on fishing the deeper mid river runs and buckets in addition to the banks. Here are some rigging and fly suggestions that will help maximize your productivity on the water.

Effective Rigs and Techniques:

Double Dry: Fishing a Rio Powerflex Plus 7.5ft 3x leader tied to a hopper with an ant pattern trailing 24-30 inches behind on 4x nylon tippet has been the best bet as of lately. Hoppers such as the Fat Frank,  Sweetgrass, Jake’s Trigger Belly, Parahopper and Chubby Chernobyl have all been great choices as a lead fly. Both tan and pink patterns have been working best. For the smaller trailing fly try using patterns such as the Acid Ant, CDC Flying Ant, Royal Wulff, CFO Ant or purple haze in sizes #14 and #16. 

Dry Dropper: If you notice the dry fly fishing to be slow then swap out that  trailing dry fly for a #14 or 16 bead head nymph. Instead of using 4x nylon tippet for the dropper we prefer to switch it up to fluorocarbon as it is more dense and it will get your nymph down faster. Using flashier nymphs as the dropper seems to be working best throughout the day. Nymphs such as soft hackle lightning bugs, red or silver spankers, crystal serendipity’s, flashback pheasant tails and princes are getting it done.

Indicator Sculpin Rig: Even though the dry fly fishing has been fantastic there has been some slower windows where it just isn’t happening on top. Both the early morning and cloudy afternoons make a great time to throw streamers. One of the more effective and efficient ways to be fishing streamer right now would be to throw it under and indicator. Sculpin imitations such as the Sculpzilla, Trevor, Mini Loop or Sheila Sculpin on a 2x leader approximately 4-5ft under an indicator is a great way to work up some fish when they just don’t seem to be looking up. Fish this rig in the deeper buckets and runs and hold on!

For the latest updates on how the Madison is fishing, check out our Madison River Fishing Report.