Salmonfly hatch: How long does it last on one river?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by junebug41, May 17, 2007.

  1. junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    I'm thinking of heading over to Montana, where the salmonflies are starting to pop, and I'm wondering how much time I have as I look at my calendar. Once they take flight at the bottom of a river, how long will they be around? One week? One month?

    JB41
  2. NewFlyLady New Member

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    I can really only speak to the Madison as I have only fished the Big Hole once and that was in a flood year when very few came off. On the M they seem to start in June and work their way up the river until mid July. The problem is that all the people fishing them are also working their way up the river so it can look a little like combat fishing. I have found that the fish are still locking up even after the main hatch has passed so that is where I like to fish. Trying to catch that hatch is always a crap shoot as you really don't know exactly when they are going to start and often the water conditions (runoff) will ruin the fishing.
  3. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Why is it that it seems that anybody who comes to fish Montana they all hit the Madison. With all the good streams in this state, why they all hit the Madison is a mystery to me. There are Salmon flies on 95% of the stream if not all of them.

    Jim
  4. riseform Active Member

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    Stole this from the Yakima Hatch chart:

    The grand-daddy of all stoneflies begins its importance during the month of April as these 3" long nymphs migrate to the shores of the river. Adults can emerge from April to June. Size 4-6
  5. creekx spent spinner

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    Jim, it may have something to do with the Madison being the best freestone trout stream on the planet.:confused:

    True, there are many "unknown" streams with prolific Salmon fly hatches. However, many don't have the fish populations to make chasing the hatch worthwhile...
  6. watt7770 STEELIE DON

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    The Salmon flies are poping as we speak on the Henry's and you will see a salmon fly hatch on most all the rivers in the caldera usully ending late in July on the Yellowstone. Don't limit yourself, what time you going be be over there. Wait, what part of Montana are you going to be in?
    I would give anything to be on that Big Horn in a couple weeks fishing tiny midges. But, salmon flies are cool too I guess....
  7. JS Active Member

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    Because its a name dropper, your not cool if you havnt fished the madison.....
  8. junebug41 Junior Dave Monti fan

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    Well, they are already out on the river I want to hit, so my question is will they still be there two or three weeks from now? If not, I'll need to pick another river.
  9. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I have been on that river four times and the second time I was on it I fell in and it has handed me my ass back all four times. In fact even with the high gas prices I think that I will hit it again tomorrow. It is rough living so close to all of this good fishing. Some times I just can't make up my mind as to where or what to fish. :rofl: :rofl:

    Jim
  10. FT Active Member

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    NewFlyLady and Old Man have nailed it. I fished salmon fly hatches each of the 12 years I lived in Montana and most of the larger rivers (Missouri and Big Horn are exceptions because they lack the proper large rock riffles required so they don't have salmonflies in them) and on each river or large stream, the hatch moved upriver about 4-5 miles/day starting at the bottom and going upstream. And as NewFlyLady mentioned, the fishermen (and guides) move upstream with the hatch so it is pretty much a constant parade and zoo of fishermen and boats on the river when the salmonflies are hatching.

    Old Man has it right that there are many wonderful rivers in Montana that are better than the Madison, they just don't get the press or pressure because they weren't on the West Yellowstone guides lists back in the 50's and 60's when the mistique of the Madison came into existence. There are a lot better rivers to fish than the Madison, and it is not the best freestone river in Montana. It just happens to be very well known. The best ones have not been publicized, or barely mentioned (and no I will not divulge their names because I don't want them overrun with fishers like the Madison is). Heck, the Gallatin is better than the Madison and far easier to access and fish since it runs along a road, unlike the Madison that runs quite a bit away from the road.

    It is a crap shoot finding them unless you know the area well or contact someone who will tell you where the hatch is when you get there. The hatch moves upriver at an average rate of 4-5 miles per day; but can travel 10-12 miles upriver if the river warms faster due to a higher than normal temps. Yes, the hatch is usually around for 2-3 weeks on a given river; but it is only around for the best fishing (and that which causes the salmonfly craze) for a day or 2 at most.
  11. Mark Bové Chasin tail

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    Salmons are popping right now on some streams... I hit 5 fish on Saturday fishing a evening emergance.