It’s been an extraordinary summer fishing season to say the least. We’ve been fortunate to have terrific weather and river flows here on the upper Madison River. Caddis and nocturnal stones are on the menu with more and more terrestrials flying over the water as we get closer to August. There have been some great trout caught in the last couple weeks!
Nymphing remains the most consistent technique. The girdle bug and large prince nymphs are great point flies. A smaller prince, lightning bug, UV caddis pupa or a worm has been most productive as a trailer. The flows are still around 1,700 CFS so you’ll want to make sure you have a piece of split shot to get your flies down quickly.
The dry fly bite has been very reliable so far this summer. A small, dark foam body stone fly pattern is a good selection in the morning hours for the nocturnal stoneflies coming off overnight. As the day progresses a tan chubby has been the ticket. The water conditions are perfect for adding a dropper a few feet underneath your attractor dry. Any of the nymphs mentioned above have a chance. The hopper and ant bite has been happening on days when afternoon air temperatures push into the high 80s. This should only get better as we near August. Caddis have been coming off in good numbers everyday and offer some great late evening dry fly fishing. It has been paying off to swing soft hackles leading up to their emergence.
The salmonfly food coma that our trout experience each year is over, and we’ve seen the brown trout take sculpin patterns lately. August is one of the best streamer months of the entire year as warm water temperatures push the trouts’ metabolism into high gear. Dead drifting a zonker, trevor or shiela can be quite productive. Stripping small flashy buggers will get you some reaction strikes as well. If you’re persistent you should break out the sink tip for your 7-weight and cover some ground with a big articulated streamer. The Channels just out the back door of MVR are ideal for this technique with deep cut banks and plenty of buckets that hold some big trout.
Summertime is also a great opportunity to explore some of the local streams and mountain lakes. Throwing classic dry flies on the west fork of the Madison is a great change of pace. Stripping buggers around the lakes just to the north in the Tobacco Roots is a nice respite from the warm temperatures in the valley floor. Ennis Lake has the magnum sized midges getting the cruising fish up in the mornings. It’s not long until the the gulpers start going for those calibaetis.
Here on The Ranch we’ve had quite a few guests enjoy casting a line into the pond and Jack Creek lately. The water is getting pretty warm so the pond fish can be finicky at times. A slowly stripped leech pattern or a #16 flashback pheasant tail fished on a long 5x fluorocarbon leader can be deadly. The fish have been rhythmically rising in the evening to small mayflies and some fluttering caddis. They are usually the trickiest fish to fool, but a #18 parachute adams or purple haze will work if you get it a few feet in front of a cruising fish. Jack Creek has been downright impressive at times with plenty of new fishy features from the stream restoration work that was done this spring. Small hoppers, mini-chubbies and elk hair caddis have brought some surprisingly long brown trout to hand.
That’s about it for now. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon!