Spontaneous fly fishing trips can be exciting. That’s what I did last week. We decided on a whim to fly fish the Madison River in early July.

Fly Fishing Road Trip on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

I was reading the Blue Ribbon Flies weekly newsletter on Facebook and told my wife how good the fly fishing was supposed to be. We’ve usually made our fly fishing road trips in late July and August and stopped at fly shops to get the latest scoop and hear the following words – “you seem to be between hatches”.

My wife said “we should go and fish when the fishing is supposed to be good”.

Well, we took off two days later for the Madison River.

What did we find? Better dry fly fishing than we usually see.

Madison River Brown Trout with Clark's Lady Stone | www.johnkreft.com

The fishing gods were smiling down upon us because I was able to find lodging at the very last minute. We split our stay between cabins at Campfire Lodge and Galloup’s Slide Inn.

Staying close to our fly fishing is always the goal and one of the “lessons learned” I wrote about in the post – Lessons Learned from Our Fly Fishing Road Trips.

We fished around $3 Bridge mostly. Our routine was to get up at 6 am, have coffee and a quick bite and be at $3 Bridge by 6:45. Here’s what it looks like at that hour.

$3 Bridge Early Morning | www.johnkreft.com

And what it looks like around noon when we quite fishing.

$3 Bridge After the Rush | www.johnkreft.com

Most days, the parking lot was full.

Or how about Raynold’s Pass Campground?

Raynold's Pass Parking Lot | www.johnkreft.com

Yes, it was a busy time on the river. 

We stopped fishing around noon or 1 pm and headed back to the cabin for lunch and nap. I found I can’t fish from 6:30 am to 10:00 pm any longer. Maybe it’s an age thing. We returned to the river about 5 pm and fished until 9:30 pm. Fishing was the best that last hour.

Our strategy of fishing early and late worked really well. Most of the time, we were able to fish the water we wanted.

One of the reasons I really like fishing the Madison River below Quake lake is the spectacular views. I never tire of them.

Early morning at $3 Bridge

Early Morning Fishing at $3 Bridge on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

Pools above $3 Bridge

$3 Bridge on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

Sunset in the Madison River valley

Sunset on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

You might be wondering why we focused on dry fly fishing instead of nymphing a 50-mile riffle.

Well, we really like to see fish rise to our flies.

Madison River Brown Trout with Clark's Lady Stone | www.johnkreft.com

I enjoy the challenge of fishing new water to see if we can locate rising fish. Sometimes it works and other times we stare at the river. 

Worn Out but Still Fishing on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

The other thing we found is another lesson learned – Every day of fishing will be different than the previous day, even if you fish the same water. We had terrific fishing one morning only to return the next day to few or sporadic rises.

But we caught some beautiful fish.

Rainbow Trout above $3 Bridge | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Brown Trout | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Rainbow Trout | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Brown Trout at Lyons Bridge | www.johnkreft.com
Brown Trout on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

Here are a few bugs we found flying around.

Salmonfly on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Mayfly Dun | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Mayfly | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Caddis | www.johnkreft.com

The best flies we used to catch most of our fish were a tan X Caddis

Winston BIIX Fly Rod and X Caddis | www.johnkreft.com

and PMD Sparkle Dun.

Sparkle Dun PMD | www.johnkreft.com
Sparkle Dun PMD

To say we had a terrific time is an understatement!

Playing Fish on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com
Evening Fishing at Lyons Bridge on Madison River | www.johnkreft.com
Madison River Brown Trout | www.johnkreft.com

Lastly, I’ve been asked how I complete posts to RiverKeeper Flies. Well, when a thought hits, I work on it!

John at the office | www.johnkreft.com

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. Absolutely my favorite stretch of any river anywhere! Haven’t been back in over 15 years! I’m making plans..Lol..

    1. Chad

      Thanks for your Comment about the Madison River. You better get back there! It’s worth it! I’ll be adding another blog entry this week about our most recent trip.


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