Madison River Fly Fishing – Montana’s Legend

Fish The Madison River

The quintessential western trout river.

The Madison had reached legendary status for every fly fisherman, and deservedly so. A blend of freestone and tailwater, it’s hatches are impressive: swarms of Mother’s Day caddis, PMDs, terrestrials, and the mighty Salmon Fly are all on the menu for these hungry trout.

With 5000+ browns and rainbows per mile in the Pine Butte section and 2500+ residing in its swift currents throughout the rest of the river, the Madison is stuffed with wild trout.

The Madison may look like a simple float and cast-to-the-bank river, but truly she is the siren of Southwest Montana’s rivers. To uncover her secrets takes time, discipline and many years of experience. The guides at FishTales Outfitting know this well and they’ll prove it to you by coaxing impressive trout from lies that you would think no sizable trout would ever think to call home.

The Madison River is born inside Yellowstone Park at the junction of the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers. It flows 140 miles due north, where it is joined by the Gallatin and Jefferson Rivers to form the Missouri River in Three Forks Montana.

Madison River fishing report
Casting on Montana's legendary Madison River.

It’s from Lyon’s Bridge down to Ennis that many anglers have nicknamed  “The Fifty Mile Riffle”. The braided water below Varney Bridge, through the Valley Garden into Ennis Lake, is very different from the single channel river above, with countless side channels and out of the way spots for large, wild trout to hide.

The Madison River enters Ennis Lake – formed by the dam built in 1906 – then rips through the seven mile Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness Unit. Finally, flowing northward another 28 miles to meet the Gallatin and Jefferson Rivers in Three Forks to form the Missouri River. Join FishTales Outfitting for a fantastic Madison River fly fishing trip that you’ll never forget!

Plan your Montana flying fishing adventure now!

Recommended Flies

Dry Flies

Rogue River Salmon Fly
Chubby Chernobyl
Elk Hair Caddis
Goddard Caddis
Iris Caddis
Parachute Adams
Royal Wulff
CDC Cinnamon Flying Ant


Pheasant Tail
Prince Nymph
Copper John


Mini-Loop Sculpin
Trevor’s Sculpin
Whitlock’s Hare Sculpin
Wooley Sculpin
Madison River Foundation

FishTales Outfitting LLC is a licensed Outfitter with the State of Montana's Board of Outfitters
and Permittee for the Madison, Big Hole and Beaverhead Rivers.

Big Hole River Foundation
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Site Photography: Bruce McDaniel and Vic Sorensen

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