BIG BUGS ON THE WAY
Runoff has once again left us like your favorite one hit wonder. Faint echoes of Simple Minds can be heard throughout the Upper Madison, or maybe that’s just the trickle of our low water levels. However fear not, Hebgen is at 92.8% of its capacity so we still have plenty of water to draw from. With that being said, flows near Cameron are around 1450 cfs, some 400 cfs lower than what it was last Tuesday. The flows at Kirby Ranch are near 980 cfs, roughly 700 cfs lower than the median daily statistic over the last 47 years. In addition to low water levels, the water temperature at Kirby Ranch peaked at 69° Fahrenheit on June 14th.
The fishing this last week has been flat out productive. We’ve seen a wide array of hatches including caddis, PMD’s, little yellow stoneflies, and yes, even a few salmonflies.
If you’re after numbers this week I highly suggest nymphing. The majority of the fish on this river are still being caught subsurface. Lightning Bugs in gold and silver, Psycho May’s, Pat’s Rubber Legs, and the Crystal Dip continue to produce fish. If you’re not catching fish while nymphing, add more weight before switching flies.
Streamer fishing continues to be hot as we move into warmer weather. The low and slow game is still catching us plenty of fish but I’ve found that the odd brown is still willing to eat a quickly twitched fly. Fish have been eating Swim Coaches, Sparring Partners, and Dungeons left and right.
Chances are some of you skipped over everything looking for only these two words: Dry Flies. The dry fly fishing is starting to heat up closer to town. Although there is an abundance of bugs on the surface , fish have yet to key in hard on the dry fly game.
I want to put this out there with a grain of salt, we have in fact seen a few salmonflies on the Upper Madison. We’re still under the impression that the heat of the hatch has yet to arrive. What we’re experiencing now is still the early days of what is to hopefully come. Salmonflies are beginning to leave our store fast so I highly recommend stocking up while we still have them. Popular patterns include Doran's Water Walker, Henry’s Fork Foam Stone and Kurt’s Egg Drop Salmonfly.
PSA: Remember to practice safe fish handling and keep them wet. Water temperatures are high and these fish are worth a lot more than just a photo. Let's all be good stewards to the river and its inhabitants!
- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden