In spite of the long hard Montana winter and huge snowpack, runoff on the Madison is officially over and the river is looking and fishing great! The Madison peaked right around June 1st, which is incidentally the historical peak of runoff on the upper river. It has basically been dropping ever since, notwithstanding the recent small rain bump over the past few days.
Nymphing and streamer fishing has been strong for the past couple weeks, although not many people have been out fishing. But that's all about to change now, as the much anticipated Salmon Fly hatch is set to begin in earnest any day now. Cool rainy weather may delay the emergence a few days, but they are about to pop! In fact, fish have been striking orange bobbers and the occassional dry Sammy patttern for several days now. They know the big bonanza is imminent, and it's feedin' time! My best guess is that we will see big bugs on the banks by this coming weekend (June 22nd) and should be present on the upper Madison well into the 2nd or 3rd week in July, Maybe longer....
Best advice for fishing "The Hatch"...
- Be persistent. If you want to catch fish on big drys, fish them and don't waiver. Maybe hang a dropper under your dry, but leave the bobbers in the truck.
- Fish the middle of the river in addition to the banks.
- Fish downstream, as well as upstream.
- Move your fly. Learn to make it dance and skitter just the right way at just the right time. Downstream movement is drag. Upstream movement is lifelike skitter.
- Use a 5 or 6wt rod and at least 2X tippett so you are less likely to break fish off or leave your fly in the bushes.
- Fish barbless...always! It's more sporting and better for the trout.
- Find a pattern you like and stick with it. Don't go chasing the hottest fly. As always, presentation matters most. "Trout are not looking for something new and different to do, or eat." ~ Anon.
- More fish are missed for being too quick on the draw than too slow. "God Save The Queen"...SET!
- Fish early and late. Some of the best fish will be taken at dawn and dusk.
- If you're not into all the hooplah and voodoo around the Salmon Fly, stay way up ahead of it in the very upper reaches of the river. You will find good hatches of Caddis, PMDs and Yellow Sallies and the fish will be willing to rise. This is often some of the best dry fly action of the season.
- Call us for the latest river conditions or hatch info. We'll give it to ya straight!