Welcome back Autumn. The weather has turned and Fall conditions look like they are here to stay now. We are in the midst of our first weather system of the season here in the Madison Valley. Cool temperatures, and a good dose of much needed rain has been falling over the last couple of days. Snow capping the tops of the Madison and Gravelly Ranges again and we might even see a bit in the valley in the next couple of days. And heck yeah we are excited about it.
The weather has the Big Browns moving and chasing Streamers. It’s days like these when the BWO hatches come off thick and heavy especially on the Upper portion of the river. If the wind is down and you have some clouds, add some light rain, or snow and you can have some incredible dry fly fishing in the boulder fields of the Madison. There are plenty of very nice fish being landed throughout the length of the river right now. With that being said as you get below Varney a couple miles the river is very skinny in a number of areas. And you should use caution and know the path well if you’re floating. Since it’s never fun scraping your entire float. The Varney boat ramp itself is incredibly low and you will need to be wadered up to put in or take out there. The Upper Section from Storey Ditch upstream to Lyon’s Bridge is by far the best suited for float trips at the current flows.
The Streamer bite is good and will continue that way throughout the month especially when we have clouds. Small patterns to large are all possibilities. Keep in mind with Streamers to be adaptable and change things up. Slow retrieves, Fast retrieves, Dead Drifting, Swinging, Trailing the Streamer with a Nymph. These are all possibilities out there and each day can be different. Be willing to change up your patterns and presentations and you will find success.
BWO’s have been active for a couple of weeks. But with the cool stormy weather beginning this will make the hatches much heavier and the fishing much more consistent. BWO’s tend to fish best in those softer pockets along the banks and along rocks, and the Trout of the Madison will move into these slots. When it’s good you can find multiple good fish sipping these small Mayflies in each pool.
Nymphing as always remains a great option. As smaller Stonefly Nymphs, Attractor Nymphs, Baetis Nymphs, and various Prince variants all continue to fish very well.
Soft Hackles are a great way to experience the Madison this time of year. Especially as the Blue Winged Olive hatches heat up. Find yourself a nice riffle that’s mid depth to somewhat shallow with some moderate to slower currents and swing a bigger Fall Soft Hackle or BWO Soft Hackle through there and hold on. You’ll love the results. It’s a very addictive way of fishing and you’ll be surprised how some of the larger Migratory fish will just hammer a well presented Softie.
The YNP section of the Madison should start to heat up much more during this batch of stormy weather. This should bring more of the big Runner’s out of Hebgen. And with clouds they should be willing to chase a swung Streamer or Soft Hackle throughout the day, rather than just at dawn or before sunset. I had a chance to fish the Park last Wednesday. The resident trout were plenty willing to eat a Dry, chase a Streamer or munch a Nymph. But the Big Migratory Trout were definitely laying very low except in the lowest light conditions. We have a few weeks left of the Park Season and then it will close at sunset on the first Sunday of November.
As the weather cools remember to take some extra time to prepare for your adventures. Pack extra layers and extra clothes just in case you take a dunking. Hypothermia becomes a real threat on the cooler Autumn and Winter Days. Hand Warmers can make or break an enjoyable Fall Day on the River. The crowds are down. The weather is crisp and it’s Fall in Montana. What more could you ask for. Stop by for some bugs, and some hot coffee before your journey. We are here to help and love to do just that.
Dries: Delektable BWO Teaser #18-#20. Delektable BWO Squeezer #18-#20. Delektable Sparkle Bug Olive and Dark Olive #18. Snowshoe BWO #18-#20. Delektable Ranch BWO #18. Parachute Adams #18-#20. Carlson’s Purple Craze #18-#20. Purple Haze #18-#20. Brook’s Sprout Emerger BWO #20-#22. BWO Sparkle Dun #18-#20.
Nymphs: Delektable Mega Prince Standard and Flashback #8-#10. Pat’s Rubberlegs Black, Olive/Black, Brown, Brown/Black #8-#12. Delektable Guide Stones Black, Olive/Black, Brown/Black #8-#10.Delektable Lil’ Spanker Pheasant Tail, Red, Blue, Silver #16-#20. Pheasant Tail Nymphs #16-#20. Lightning Bugs Silver, Gold #16-#18. Delektable Prince Brandon #16-#18. Prince Nymph #16-#18. Formerly Known as Prince #16-#18. Shop Vac’s #16-#18. $3 Dollar Dips Brown, Red, Crystal #16-#18. Little Green Machine Pheasant Tail, Olive #18-#20. Splitback Baetis #18-#20. Delektable Tungsten Jig Spanker Holo Black, Holo Olive #18. Delektable Root Beer Float #18 Baetis Gray. Geppert’s Skinny Dip Black, Brown #14-#18. Geppert’s Master BWO Emerger #18. Geppert’s Mega Emerger #18. RS2’s Gray and Olive #18-#20.
Streamers: Delektable Single and Double Screamer Black, Olive, White, Olive/Black, Brown/Yellow, Badger. Delektable SS Jointed Screamer Black, Olive, White, Olive/Black, Brown/Yellow. Sparkle Minnow’s #6. Zonkers Copper, Natural, Olive #6-#8. Mini Loop Sculpin Natural and Olive. Sculpzilla Olive, Natural, Black #4-#6. Galloup’s Dungeon Standard, Mini, Olive, Black, White, Cream/White, Olive/Black. Galloup’s Boogie Man Black, Olive, White. Galloup’s Silk Kitty Olive, White. Bow River Buggers White, Olive, Black, Black Olive #6-#8.
Soft Hackles: Full Dressed Red, Partridge and Orange, Partridge and Olive, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail, Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear. Partridge and Purple. Soft Hackle BWO.