This is the place to go and fish! The river has really shaped up in the past week. The water clarity is good as Cabin and Beaver Creeks and the West Fork are just about done with their runoff already.
As for the bugs, they are starting to hatch. Caddis are now showing up, more below Pine Butte. Salmonflies and Goldenstones are between Ruby and Macatee bridge. Some have been seen at the West Fork area and they’re still active by Varney. Dry fly activity is heating up in the float section of the Madison. If your are nymphing some good choices would be to go with the darker rubber legs #6, #8 with small droppers #16, #18; Shop Vacs, Copper Johns, and Pheasant tails.
The Chironomid fisherman have been doing the best, and they’re using Ice Cream Cones dropped off a slip indicator four to six feet. Fishing will be best if you can locate a weed bed or a channel. When you locate the weed bed, fish just off of it, or drop your fly near the bottom of the channel. The Callibaetis are starting to show up, it seems to be happening about 11am or 12pm. Now all we have to do is hope the wind doesn’t blow too early!
Gallatin (in Montana)
The water is that nice fishy green color, and it’s still cold so for now nymphing is the way to go. Black Rubber legs #8, San Juan Worms, and Flashback Pheasant Tails are the best flies to use at this time. Oh! Did i mention that the Salmonflies are at Big Sky?!!
Firehole and the Madison
The water is warm and the fishing is slow. Give the fish there a break and wait till after Labor Day when the fishing will be so much better and the fish won’t feel such high pressure.
The Gibbon is fishing well with attractor dries like Royal Stimulators #12, #14; Elk Hair Caddis #14, #16 and Parachute Adams #16.
Gardner and the Gallatin
These two rivers are starting to shape up nicely, but still a little bit cold. You’ll want to stick with nymphs, but you could give some dries a try in the middle of the afternoon. In the next couple of weeks these rivers will really start to improve and the fly selection you’ll have to pick from to fish these rivers will also improve.
Lamar and Slough
These two are still a bit dirty and cold. We’re not seeing any real hatches happening just yet. Nymphs, Big Soft Hackles, and streamers will get you a few fish until the hatches begin.