The Dog Days of Summer are Here
The dog days of summer have arrived and everyone is trying to squeeze all the activity out of the short Montana Summer. For many that includes fishing the Madison River. Even with the warm temps there are still options for fishing. Hoppers and ants are starting, nymphing remains good and flows are outstanding. In fact we are seeing a bunch of water in the Madison River right now. They are releasing out of Hebgan Dam so that Ennis Lake has sufficient levels to pulse flow the Beartrap Canyon. This means that we have good flows on the Upper Madison of cool water. We are still under Hoot Owl regulations from Ennis Lake upstream to 8 Mile Ford Fishing Access site.
Hoppers and Ants?
All the talk is if the fish are eating hoppers? The quick answer is somewhat. They have not really gotten on the hoppers as of yet. Yes if you stay with the dry you will catch some fish. If you walk the bank the hoppers are around but the big wind days to blow them in the water have not happened. We have been getting some fish every day with hoppers and ants but it is not the glory time some expect. Better bet is to fish a dry and dropper and cover both. Ants will still make more fish rise than hoppers. We like black and red ants with parachute to keep them in the film just like the real critter.
Nymph fishing will keep you bent
Sub surface fishing with nymphs has been the most consistent to date. We have been having the best luck with small bead heads. We like p tails, and small size 18 mayfly nymphs as well as small caddis larva and midge larva nymphs. Add a little more weight to get these little offerings down to the fish. Run about 6 feet from the indicator to the weight and keep it in the deeper slots.
Late Summer Forecast
We expect the hopper and ant bite to increase over the next week or so. Dry warm weather with wind will help this. The nymph fishing will remain strong especially with the little bugs. The streamer fishing has not been there and will start to get better later in the month and into September.