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

September 2021
Updated 9/9/2021

After a week of cooler temperatures and some rain, we have been experiencing a resurgence of summer with dry and hot temperatures. However, the fishing here has been consistently good if you are willing to be adaptable with techniques between the morning, mid-day, and evening. The continued smokey conditions have been putting down the dry fly-fishing, this coupled with high fishing pressure throughout the entire Madison River system has made the fish wary of moving to traditional dry fly and nymphing techniques.

If you plan on focusing your efforts towards dry fly fishing this week, Thunder Thighs in particular have been producing. While the hopper has been the dry of choice this last week, the consistency of eats has not been phenomenal in the early morning. Other MVP’s include the Parachute Adams as well as the Purple Haze in sizes 14 through 18.

Taking into consideration that thinking outside the box will create a more successful outing, attempt to mimic methods and presentations that these fish have not been seeing. For example, instead of stripping and dead drifting streamers, consider swinging them in the same manner you would swing for steelhead. With the swing method in mind, Montana Intruders, Kreelexes, and olive Wooly Buggers have been moving fish on type III sink tips. This method of swinging may also trigger the bigger predatory fish to strike.. Swinging medium and smaller profile soft hackles on a floating line has also been consistently productive.

Temperatures look to be dropping after this weekend and hopefully we can anticipate the smoke clearing out and therefore the dry fly fishing picking back up. Remember to think outside the box and stop by the shop to talk to our staff about patterns and techniques that will set you up for success!

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 Megan Kusler