SNOW IN THE MOUNTAINS
Lots of things are changing in the Madison Valley, including the fishing! We have seen water temperatures begin to drop and the leaves are starting to shift into their fall colors. The river is shaping into its winter form, with water levels dropping to 960 CFS and water temps of 52-58 degrees fahrenheit at Cameron. The fishing on the Upper is heating up for me, I’ve been throwing small streamers with a nymph trailing for the last couple weeks and have picked up some nice fish. The dry fly bite over the last warm week was relatively consistent, and as always, the double nymph rig continues to produce.
Everyday is a bit different during the fall. We’ve had days that get up to 80 degrees and then the next day winds down to 50 degrees. With that being said, I would check the weather every morning and go from there. On warmer days I’ve started with a streamer and a bead, then moved on to the dry dropper in the afternoon. On colder days I’ve either thrown a streamer and a bead all day or switched to nymphing in the afternoon. Also, don’t be afraid to start stripping those streamers a little bit this time of year with the bigger fish still being active in cooler water.
Nymphs: Size 6 or 8 green Girdle Bug, Shop Vac, Crystal Dip, Green or Pink Frenchies, Lighting Bugs, Red Copper Johns. If you want to do some damage on a big honking whitefish throw a red perdigon!
Streamers: Black or Olive Trevor, Smoke Sparkle Minnow, Sculpinator, Lil Kim, Pearl Zonker, White or Olive Peanut Envy, White or Black Screamers, Olive or Black Mini Dungeon, and The Usual Suspect below Varney has been chugging.
Dry Flies: On warmer days I've stuck with Yellow or Pink Thunder Thighs, Small Sweetgrass Hopper, Juicy Hopper, UV Stubby Ant, Royal Ant, and if you're into some 6 inch brown trout then throw on the Fat Angie!
Looking for some fly tying material to create these patterns? Check out our fly tying collection online or stop by the shop! As temperatures warm up, continue to practice your best fish handling techniques. Avoid fish pictures for the gram whenever possible so that we can continue to have healthy fish populations for years to come.
- MRFC Guide/Pitmaster Nicko Opinsky