If there are any doubts about whether or not summer arrived when the solstice rolled around recently, they should take a look at my cherry red knee caps right now from sitting in a boat. It’s hot, dry, and summer flows are here. That holds significance for many things fishing related, but none more plainly obvious than this: put away that damn bobber for a minute!
Madison River Fishing Report
Upper Madison River flows have been dropping steadily over the past three days and the fish seem to be in a much better mood. A feeding mood. The flows at the Old Kirby Place are about 1050 cfs and will likely stabilize before the readings at the Varney Bridge gauge do. We will likely continue to see falling or decreasing volume as creeks start recede from their highs of a week ago. As the upper Madison River flows go so goes the lower River. Expect to see dropping flows for the lower Madison River as well.
Can you feel it? The most anticipated event of the year is upon us, Salmon flies! The recent chatter around town has been the speculation of when the hatch will bloom as well as memories of years past filled with glory and broken dreams. It seems that everyone is glued to their phones and computer screens meticulously analyzing water flows and weather forecasts trying to gain the upper hand on the oncoming throngs of fisherman that will soon ambush the Madison Valley.
With the weather in seemingly a constant state of flux, the flows and clarity on the upper Madison have been kind of all over the map in recent weeks. That being said, when the river has had a chance to level off for a few days we are seeing marked improvement in clarity and the fish are hungry. Cold weather and north winds the past few days have led to one of these stabilizing trends changing the color of the water back to greenish and the fish have responded with ferocity. Higher flows push more and different types of food into the river which gives both the trout and the angler lots of optionsto try ranging from high water classics like San Juan and squirmy worms, to big dark sculpin patterns or salmon fly nymphs with a smattering of caddis and mayfly nymphs in between.
The past week gave a preview of runoff, only to be chased off quickly by chilly nights and strong North winds. Varney flows briefly touched 1,900 CFS in the early hours of Monday morning and have precipitously dropped since then. Initially fishing was tough during the rising tide and muddy waters as both fish and anglers were quickly removed from their comfort zones. But, what goes up must come down, and the fishing has steadily been improving with the flows tapering off. Water clarity is a nice juicy green color right now, and around 1,370 CFS. Those are some saucy conditions for the Madison.