Salmonflies have been creeping up the river all week, saw a few at Windy yesterday afternoon while taking the boat out. The big bug fishing has been pretty hit-or-miss, typical of the Upper Madison the past few years. Low flows (800cfs @ Kirby) hasn't helped either, these are due to Northwestern Energy trying to top off Hebgen, currently at 98%. #8 Low-Rider, #10 Razorback, #8 Flutter Bug, and #12 Golden Chubby have all gotten eats. What you can count on is good Caddis fishing. Don't just focus on the banks, with lower flows you can find a lot of nice fish in the mid-river slicks and tail end of islands. #16 Parachute Caddis, #16 Missing Link, #16 Tan X-Caddis, and #14 Goddard have been reliable.
If you're just looking to fish sub-surface, the nymph bite has been excellent. Still a few fish eating stoneflies (#10 Sili Leg/#14 Biot Stone), but the majority are looking for #14-18 Caddis and Mayfly nymphs. Guide favorites this week have been the #16 Beadhead Shop Vac, #16 Olive Hare's Ear, #14 Lake Prince, #18 Lighting Bug, #14-16 Guide Dip, and #18 Crystal Dip.
Count on finding stonefly-eating fish throughout the Canyon and into the YNP section of the Gal'. There is a little rain in the upcoming forecast which may add some color, but we wouldn't except that to change the fishing much. Don't overlook the water between Big Sky and the boundary, there are some great holding areas that get passed over everyday. In addition the stones mentioned for the Madison, make sure to have a few #16-18 Purple Parachutes and #16 D.O.A. Cripples.
Flows have dropped for a week straight and are currently around 1,000 cfs, 2,000 lower than normal for this time of year. The water is still cold, have had only one or two days above 60 degrees. If you're reallly itching to fish dries and don't want to go to the Madison or Gallatin, this may be your place. Keep your parachutes and cripples small (#16-18), and don't expect too much yet.
Salmonflies are certainly going on throughout the canyon. Expect them to move pretty fast as the Lamar isn't much much cold/dirty water into the system. It's a beautiful time of year for a hike and to fish Cutthroat with large dry flies. Besides a #12 Dog Puke and #10 Chubby, a #12 Lime Trude is a favorite.
Getting toasty, see you in September.
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