Streams Outside Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

10/21/08
Destinations Outside Yellowstone National Park Series

Madison River - Hebgen Lake to Quake Lake

The section of the Madison River from the dam at Hedgen Lake to the beginning of
Quake Lake is very short, less than two miles long. It has some of the best fly fishing
the Madison has to offer, especially for fishing from the bank and wading. The water
varies depending on where you are in this short stretch. Near the dam, the water
consist of deeper runs and holes. For the most part, this area cannot be waded.

With few exceptions, the section of the river from Campfire Lodge downstream to
Quake Lake offers the best fishing.  There is a dirt road that runs along this stretch of
the river offering very easy access. This area can be great from early spring up until
the runoff. The runoff usually occurs in late May to the middle of June. The river is
usually clear by early July and at that time the fishing can be excellent. There are
usually several hatches occurring about the same time. There is an excellent Green
Drake hatch, a Salmonfly hatch, a Golden Stonefly hatch and several caddis that
emerge. All of these large mayflies, stoneflies and caddis can hatch within a couple of
weeks. When this happens the fish go nuts. The exact time varies some from year to
year with the snow pack and runoff but usually occurs in early July. From then on until
October, the fishing can be great.

As soon as the big stoneflies are gone you can begin to concentrate on the prolific
caddis hatches. There are several species that hatch from the end of runoff until
October with the main one being the spotted sedge. There have been many times we
have fished in Yellowstone Park for most of the day and then proceeded to go to this
area late in the afternoon. Fishing is best in the evening from the later part of July until
the weather starts to turn cold again.

This area can be crowded, especially during the salmonfly hatch, but it is for a very
good reason. Fishing can be as good as it gets in Yellowstone country. If you are in the
West Yellowstone area, you want to make sure you check this out.


Copyright 2008 James Marsh
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