Madison River
Fishing Report

Updated weekly by our team in Ennis.

August 6th, 2019

Dry fly fishing on the Madison has been excellent this past week and we expect it to continue.  Good water flows and water temps still have some good fish eating on the surface. Here’s a breakdown of the different sections of river and what has been going on.

 Varney to Town: The Varney to Ennis stretch has been fishing well on top with hoppers and small attractor dries. Caddis and yellow sallies are on their way out and the hopper bite has turned on. Still some mayflies out mid morning but expect that to subside as the warmer temps continue. Smaller hoppers have been the ticket. Size #10-#14 will provide the most action, but if you want to target a bigger fishing, try throwing a big nocturnal stone or hopper in the size #6- #8 range. Pink, tan, and yellow have been the best hopper colors. Don’t be afraid to apply small twitches to the hopper, especially if you're drifting over A+ water without a look or get a refusal. Dry dropper rigs have been effective. Tungsten jig nymphs size #14 & #16 have been the best droppers. Drop the nymph off around 2’ from your dry. Jig flashback pheasant tail, jig yellow spot, jig prince, jig copper john, yellow and purple psycho princes. There have been decent reports of some streamer fishing. Tightlining small natural or white colored sculpins followed by #12 silver or gold lightning bug has produced some nice fish. You can try stipping streamers but dead drifting with very small twitches has been more productive. 

Ruby to Varney: Good fishing has been had in this stretch the past week or so. Dry flies all day. Hoppers, nocturnal stoneflies, caddis, pmd’s, yellow sallies, and starting to see a few flying ants. Same deal as varney to town, smaller hoppers have been providing the most action but have heard some good reports on bigger hoppers as well, not as many fish but better ones. The nocturnal fishing has been pretty good. One day it's great, next day its not. Worth committing too. Good fish have been eating the nocturnal. Try a #8 super tan chubby chernobyl or anything in the #6- #10 range with a tan/pink body. Timing is everything. Commit to the dry. Some days the beginning of the day, between 7-11am, has been good with dries. Other days it doesn't get going until after lunch. Try varying up sizes. If your not getting much action try throwing on a size #16 royal or cinnamon chubby with a purple haze or x-caddis behind it. Don’t be afraid to fish the middle. Look for gravel bars and shelves in the middle of the river or deeper and faster moving, grassy cut-banks. Not sure why you would, but if you want to nymph instead, here you go. Nymphing has been pretty good with two small beads: #14-#18 cdc prince nymphs, physco princes in yellow, purple, or green, jig copper johns in red and copper. Something small and flashy and don't forget about the rubber legs: tan/brown or olive/brown in size #8 for the nocturnal stones. 

Lyons to Ruby: Hoppers have not quite made it all the way up there. Some reports but nothing consistent. Look for the nocturnals to make their way up soon. Still some pretty decent dry fly fishing. Caddis, yellow sallies, and pmd’s have been the dry flies of choice up there. Work the slicks in the pocket water and the shallow water riffles. Don't overlook the shallow stuff. A lot of good fish come out of shallow water too. You can definitely try and dry dropper or nocturnal dry dropper up there. I would focus more on caddis, yellow sally and pmd nymphs. Dead drifting sculpins has been producing as well. Natural, olive, and white in smaller sizes have been getting fish to the boat. Like I said between varney and town: tightlining sculpin patterns followed by #12 silver or gold lightning bug has produced some nice fish. You can try stripping streamers but dead drifting with very small twitches has been more productive. 

Wade Section above Lyons: Similar to Lyons to Ruby. Caddis, yellow sallies, and pmd’s are coming off daily. You can still get into some evening caddis fishing up there. Some decent hopper fishing has been had. Small attractor dries have proven to work. Some dries that have been working royal pmx, small chubbies, tilt-winged pmd, x-caddis, missing link caddis, peacock caddis, and stimulators in yellow and red.

Keep tabs on the Madison and Ruby River flows with USGS graphs updated daily.

Photo of the Week

Lightning at Ruby CREEK CG

We've been getting some afternoon storms rolling in from the west. Here's a shot from the Ruby Creek Campground right before dusk earlier this week.

Popular Madison River Fly Patterns


Purple Hze #12-16
Chubby Chernobyl #6-1
Stimulator #10-16
Royal Trude #12-16
Elk Hair Caddis #12-18
Blue Wing Olive #16-22
Pale Morning Dun #12-16
Griffiths Gnat #18-24
Morrish Hopper #6-12
Turk's Power Ant #12-14

Chubby's #8-12
Yeager's Ant #14-16
Dorman's Water Walker #6-12 
Mini Water Walkers # 14-16 
Chubbyness #14-16 
Hopper Stone #8-10
Henry's Fork Stone #4-10 


BH Pheasant Tail #12-22
BH Hare's Ear #10-20
BH Prince Nymph #12-16
Pat's Rubber Legs #4-14
Serendipity #12-18
Psycho Prince #10-16
San Juan Worms #6-12

Jig Flash Back Pheasant Tail #12-16
Jig Prince #12-16
3 Dollar Dips #16-18
Deleckta Mega Prince #6-10
Deleckta Lil-Spanker #12-16
CDC Baetis Emerger #16-18


Wooly Buggers #2-10 black, brown, olive
Zonker #2-6 Natural 
Sculpzilla #4-6
Trevor's Sculpin #4
Double Bunny #2-6

Silver Bullet #6
Sparkle Minnow #6
Barley Legal #6
Mini Loop Sculpin #6