Hoot Owl on the Madison River
This string of hot days has finally done it. Montana FWP has instituted Hoot Owl Restriction on the Upper Madison River. These restrictions are from Ennis Lake upstream to 8 Mile Ford Fishing Access Site. Fishing in this stretch is closed from 2 PM till Midnight every day. This went into effect starting August 2. This is a direct result of water temps being above 70 degrees for three days. MTFWP will remove restrictions when there are three days below 70 degrees or September 15. I would expect a week or two before we see any removal of restrictions. Restrictions are like gas prices quick to rise and slow to come down.
Watch water temps in the afternoon
If you’r fishing the Madison River right now even above the Hoot Owl section carry a river thermometer with you. Once temps hit 68 degrees and above bag it for the day. Any fish you catch in that warm water has a great chance to die from exhaustion. As warmer water holds less oxygen and fish expend themselves fighting the hook they can never recover. When it is 100 degrees and the water temps are warm it is much better being in town getting ice cream than on the river. We all love this place this river and these fish so let’s protect them and not fish above 68 degrees.
Nocturnal Stone Fly Season
I was along the river last evening right at dark walking our dogs. What I noticed is almost 30 nocturnal stone flies at one ramp. Whats a nocturnal stone fly you ask? These summer hatching stone flies hatch and are active in the dark. They hide during the day in the rocks. The size of a good sized golden stone fly about a size 10 with a pale body. The unique thing is that they can not fly. Short wings are not able to fly. If you see one they almost walk on the water as they shuffle across the surface. If your fishing early in the day fish will still be looking for them. We like smaller chubbies. Do not be afraid to twitch them and move them as that imitates the natural. We have been having good luck in the morning fishing nocturnals. Best part is put a caddis behind it and fish both.
Hoppers and ants are here and fish have taken some notice to them. We have been having some good luck with hopper patterns especially on windy days. We like smaller hoppers in the size 10 range in pink, peach and tan. Ant fishing is just heating up and with the warm weather good ant fishing with flying ants is just days away.
Nymph Fishing still Productive
For all the bobber lobbers out there nymph fishing is still really productive. Prince patterns, jig may flies and even small stone flies are taking fish. The guys who do not mind staring at a bobber all day are getting more numbers. We have noticed if you want more bites scale down your tippet size. 4X will get bent more than 3. You will lose a few of the fish especially the bigger ones in fast water but if you want more bites go down a size.