Madison River, Hoot Owl, Montana, Fly Fishing, Montana Fly Fishing,

August 2021
Updated 8/26/2021

Where has the summer gone? It seems as if it was just last week that we were desperately trying to escape the scorching heat of 90 degree temperatures. Cooler air and water temps have been followed by a much needed spell of rain. The mixed weather conditions have created hit or miss fishing over the past few days. As it currently stands, Hebgen Reservoir is 76.6% full with an outflow of 833.3 cfs. The water temperature recorded at Cameron has been consistently moving from 54 - 63 degrees Fahrenheit with flows staying between 1100 and 1000 cfs, some 200 cfs below the historic median average. 

Early morning streamer fishing has been the most productive method over the last week. Pounding the banks with articulated streamers such as the Drunk & Disorderly, Mini Peanut Envy, and Silk Kitty has led to the landing of some incredible fish. Olive and Black have been the standout colors, but don’t hesitate to switch to white or natural if you’re not moving any fish. Swinging a Dolly Lama, Mini Loop Sculpin, and RIO’s Extrovert have also proven successful, triggering some aggressive strikes.

The dry fly fishing this week has been less than optimal with the majority of the takes being from smaller fish. The limited success that we’ve seen has come from terrestrials floating underneath undercut banks. Hoppers and ants are still the main program with most of the dry fly fishing kicking off midday. Thunder-thighs, Morrish Hoppers, Delectable Cinnamon Ants, and Micro Chubbys have been breadwinners during this slow week of surface fishing.

Nymphing continues to be the most reliable and consistent way to bring fish to the boat. Lightning Bugs in silver and gold seem to be this week's M.V.P. Other viable options include the Lil Spanker (silver and red), Perdigon (peacock and olive), Wireworm (red), French Dip (chartreuse and orange), and the Prince Nymph (natural). The most effective nymphing method has been leading with a Wireworm or Pat’s Rubber Leg followed by any of the previously mentioned nymphs in the size 14 - 18 range. Add some split shot above your top fly if you find that you’re still struggling to hook into fish while nymphing.

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