September 2021
Updated 9/20/2021

Madison River, Hoot Owl, Montana, Fly Fishing, Montana Fly Fishing, Best Places to Fly Fish, Best Places to Fly Fish in Montana

What seemed like a never ending summer of high temperatures and nasty smoke has quickly transitioned into the highly anticipated season of fall. In addition to the brisk weather, the town of Ennis was greeted with snow on the peak’s of both the Madison and Tobacco Root ranges Sunday morning. With the deciduous trees beginning to embark on their annual change of color, there is no doubt that fall is in the air. The overall quality of fishing this last week has been less than optimal. The fish that have been successfully fooled have been few and far between. With that being said, there is still the opportunity for some awesome fish to be caught this week for those who are willing to brave the wind and cold.

Nymphing continues to be the most productive method throughout the day. Top flies that have brought success include Ninch’s Heavy Water Worm (#10), Jake’s Double Bead Rib Worm (#8 - #10), Red Wire Worm (#8 - #10), Pat’s Rubber Legs in both black and olive (#6 - #10), and the Mega Prince (#6 - #10). Successful bottom flies have been Lightning Bugs in both silver and gold (#16 - 20), Perdigon in pearl and orange (#14 - #20), and the Lil Spanker in red and silver (#12 - #16). If you’re struggling to produce fish while nymphing, add more weight to your line before switching to a new fly or size.

Streamer fishing over the last week has brought in some quality fish. Both methods of dead drifting and furiously stripping have triggered aggressive takes in predatory fish. Cast your streamer upstream towards the bank or at a rock pocket and play around with your retrieval pace. Popular streamers this week have been the Mini Loop Sculpin in natural (#6), Barely Legal in olive/white(#6), Mini Dungeon in both black and green(#6), and the Delektable Single Screamer in white (#6).

Montana FWP will be continuing their annual fall shocking on the Madison this week. The schedule goes as follows:

Pine Butte Marking Run on September 7, 8th and 9th.

Varney Marking Run on September 10th, 13th and 14th.

Pine Butte Recap on September 17th, 20th and 21st.

Varney Recap on September 22nd, 23rd and 24th.

We are still seeing lots of pressure on the river so expect to see some crowding at ramps in the afternoon. Be patient and help others out when you can at the ramp so that everyone can pull out in an orderly and efficient manner. We also urge you to practice proper fish handling. Get those fish in quick and keep them wet! Avoid fish pictures for the gram whenever possible so that we can continue to have healthy fish populations for years to come.

- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden