We finished our second week fly fishing the Madison River and have noticed changes in the insect activity and our fishing. On our first week, we fished many more caddis imitations. These included an X Caddis, Iris Caddis, and Parachute Caddis. In fact, this 21″ plus Brown Trout ate a size 16 Parachute Caddis as soon as it hit the water!
We’ve continued to fish the walk and wade section of the Madison River at $3 Bridge, West Fork, and Lyon’s Bridge. Speaking of Lyon’s Bridge, we reserve our fishing efforts for the evening to stay away from the craziness of all those launching.
This was taken late morning. Imagine three times the rigs in the parking lot getting ready to launch!
We’ve noticed changes in fish activity as well. The last few days, very few fish have risen to flies in the morning. It’s a stark departure from several days ago when we could arrive at the river with little competition and pick off a few trout close to shore.
Here is a Rainbow Trout I caught one morning.
And these nice Brown Trout who slowly rise to eat a Parachute Caddis or Arrick’s Parachute Ant.
Yes, it seems Arrick’s Parachute Ant has been working quite well for us!
I tied a variant of Schroeder’s Parachute Caddis, substituting deer hair for the turkey wing. There are two reasons for the substitution. First, I thought deer hair would be more durable and cast a similar profile to a wing utilizing turkey. Second, I didn’t bring any turkey with me in my fly tying materials! Turns out my variation catches some very nice fish and is much easier to tie.
Here are a few other fish we caught in the evenings. I’ll start with this double.
And this chunky 17 inch Brown who ate the fourth fly I tried, a size 15 RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple Epeorus, two feet from shore one evening.
Evening fishing has been a good strategy for us. We usually arrive at the river between 6 and 7 and fish until dark. The last hour of daylight was best, which means we return to the van after 9:30 pm.
Here is an image a little earlier during golden hour below $3 Bridge
I tend to pay a little more attention to the streamside vegetation these days. Here is an image of a cranefly I noticed.
And some midges lined up on a rock one evening.
Mayfly spinner, Epeorus I believe on the van window.
And for my records, I’m including streamflow information. It’s been a good, fishable level for us in the last week. I haven’t checked the water temperatures, but heard the dam at Hebgen is problematic again, so water is being released from the top of the reservoir.
I’ll end with a few I never tire of, the Madison River and Madison Range in the background.
Be sure to check back next week to see if we stay on the Madison or travel to a different water.