September 16th – 22nd | Madison River

Some days are good… some days are not as good. When you have a bad day on the river, is it really that bad? Does it ever make you want to quit fishing? Maybe, but probably not. For there to be good days, you must have the “bad” days to make the good days seem “good”. Some people come into the shop and remind me that even the bad days need to be put in the “great days” category, because really, you are still on the river. Now is it really that bad?

I have seen good days and not so good  days on the river, as have you and many of our friends. Balance in this world is necessary and that also pertains to the thing we so dearly enjoy… fly fishing. This week had diversity with some more productive days and some less. Everyone worked more to figure out the correct fly for the bite. That is really what it is all about.

This year, in particular, has been FULL of great days!!! I have not seen this many great fish in my time spent on Montana rivers as I have this season here on the Madison. From the early cold days of spring with the Streamers and Big Stone Flies, to the Salmon Flies and Golden Stones, the PMD’s, the Caddis, and the hoppers so thick you can’t breath without possibly swallowing one…this year has been epic!

As we roll on into the fall months, we are still seeing great fish! The streamer bite has been on for the past couple of days and it’s been fun! The colder weather and the darker days have been bringing the bigger boys out to play, so you will see the sharks and little hawgs of the crick are hungry and that someone will need to tend to them. Also, your streamer game should not be limited to just the fall season. Brown trout and rainbow fish both will eat all the Baitfish and Sculpins they can handle, all year long. It’s just all this dry fly fishing that keeps us occupied during these summer months, we don’t even think of throwing a Streamer. The Dry eat is an eat that is unlikely topped by any other eat in fly fishing. It is soul food. The Dry Fly entertainment with missed hits, drive by’s, heavy hits, missed sets as we get excited seeing the bite, etc. As far as throwing streamers goes, put them in the water and they will eat it most days out of the year, not just the fall and spring. And….the tug can be such entertainment. If you need any tips on stripping streamers or picking the “right one” out, come on in to the shop and we will help you select a few of our favorites and maybe give you a tip or two on how we do it.

The nymph game is picking up to another level with this weather, the fish are eating the larger size Stoneflies that are starting to move more with this weather. They have also been keying in on the shiny patterns. The Lightning Bugs and shiny Nymphs such as the Silvie’s lightning bug, the Silver Lightning Bug and the Delektable Lil’ Spanker Silver are all good little shiny bugs that have been working well with the cloudy weather. Most of those would be in a size 14 or 16.  That Crystal Dip in a size 16 on that curved hook are working well. The Pat’s Rubber legs is a tried and true pattern that will get fish in the net for you, but if you wanted to wonder off the beaten path of big nymphs, we have a variety to choose from here. The Delektable Mega Prince Standard in a size 6 or 8 has been a go-to of mine for years and years and years in the fall months. That pattern has fooled so many fish over the years. The Delektable Hurless Stone in the Gray size 6 and 8 is a great pattern for the fall times with the water being lower and a little colder. I would also check out the Delektable Stonefly Candy patterns that work in a number of colors. The Twenty Incher is also a great Stonefly pattern that works well in the size 6 or 8. Mostly, try and get a drag free drift with any big black/brown/olive Stonefly and you will have pretty good luck here on the ole’ Madison with the stones.

The BWO’s are showing themselves with this weather and we’ve sold a bunch of patterns recently due to that very fact. People are coming in and grabbing Midge patterns and Emergers for the BWO in light olive and olive. The Purple Haze Cripple emerger is an excellent choice, it is one of my absolute all time favorite emergent patterns with that little bit of olive for a thorax and purple body. It can go for the PMD, the PED, the Callibaetis, the BWO, the Mahogany Dunn, Spinners, Psuedo Mayflies, it can cover a lot of little guys on the river.

One is faced with all these choices to fish with… to choose from… to be accurate and successful with. Choices for an angler. Choices for the fish. Choices. We face them every single day. We can be thankfull that these choices (problems?) are minimal and very first world. Haha. I wish you the best of luck in your choices! I wish you the biggest and prettiest of trout. I wish you a very happy fall. Its fall, we have no choice but to welcome it.

Happy Fishing!!! -DanG 


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