Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Madison River In
The Madison River is certainly one of, if not the best trout
stream in the World. It is for sure the best tailwater in the
United States. It's also accurately described as the "Fifty
Mile Riffle" because it provide about fifty miles of riffles.
This covers the Madison River from the dam at Hebgen
Lake downstream to below the Bear Trap Canyon near
Ennis Montana. The Madison River inside Yellowstone
National Park is covered in this section of our website. The
Madison River offers great fishing opportunities for both
the wading angler and those that prefer drift boats. It has a
huge population of wild rainbow trout and large, wild brown
trout. Fly fishing the Madison River provides the ultimate fly
From Yellowstone National Park, the river flows almost
immediately into Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone,
Montana. Hebgen is a big lake, over fourteen miles long.
Trout in the lake grow to large sizes and move in and out
of the lake from 23 mile long section of the Madison River
that's inside the park.
The flows of water downstream of Hebgen Lake are
regulated by the dam. Many are unaware that from this
point downstream, the Madison River is a tailwater fishery.
Fly fishing the Madison River in the tailwater section is
quite different from the freestone stream section.
After leaving Hebgen Lake, the Madison River covered in
this section, flows for three miles into Quake Lake. Quake
Lake was built by Mother Nature in 1959. During a large
earthquake an entire mountain side slide into the river.
The earthquake created a large lake, Quake Lake. As
soon as the lake filled with water, it flowed over the top of
the natural earth/rock dam and the Madison River
continued to flow.
The stretch of water between the lakes, as it is called, is a
popular fly fishing destination. It's only about a mile and a
half long but well worth fishing. It is open to fishing
year-round. This section can be accessed off Highway #67
at the Cabin Creek Campground exit.
The next three miles of the river is a fast, wild, raging
section of the river that's very dangerous and in places,
impossible to wade. Huge boulders exist in the stream,
creating sections of fast, pocket water. There are Class III
and IV rapids in this section of the Madison.
Fishing from boats from Quake Lake to the Lyons Bridge
Fishing Access Point is prohibited. This is great for wading
anglers because most of the other sections of the Madison
River has heavy traffic from float trips during the prime
Below the whitewater section of the river, the Madison
widens out some and the flows gradually slow down to long
sections of riffles and runs. This is the famous "Fifty Mile
Riffle" section of the Madison. It flows for 53 miles from
Quake Lake to Ennis Lake located at Ennis, Montana. This
section of water offers some of the finest trout fishing
opportunities found anywhere. There are both designated
wading and floating sections of the river as described
Madison River Montana
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Most anglers think of Summer and the
salmonfly hatch when they think of the
Madison River, but there is a lot more than
that to it's great fishing. Fly fishing the
Madison River is a true pleasure and in
some areas, the fishing opportunities last
for the entire year.
Springtime brings about some good mayfly
and caddisfly hatches and fishing can be
Fly Fishing Guide to the Madison
You could spend a life-time learning to fish
this river and still not know everything about
it. The first section of the Madison River
below Hebgen Lake is only about a mile and
a half of long from the dam to Quake Lake.
There are some very large trout in this
section. It consist of some very deep pools
and deep runs along with the riffles typical of
the Madison downstream. In the early part of
the year from about February to June, the
river is full of spawning rainbows, many of
which come upstream from Quake Lake. In
October and November, the section below
the dam is packed with large browns that
come upstream from Quake Lake to spawn.
This section is open to fishing year-round.
Just below Quake Lake, there's an area of
the river that is extremely rough. You
shouldn't try wading this part of the river.
This area of the river falls under the general
Montana fishing season from the 3rd
Saturday of May through February, so there
is only a short time to fish before the June
runoff takes place. When that occurs, it is
impossible to fish that part of the river. By the
first week of July, the runoff is over and the
fishing will rapidly become nothing short of
excellent. From the Slide Inn to Lyon Bridge,
the rules only permit wade fishing. There are
several access points including the famous
$3.00 bridge. This section is about nine miles
long and is the most popular section of the
Madison River. It's for a good reason. The
river is full of large rainbows and brown trout.
Most of the water is best described as pocket
water, although there are sections of long
riffles. There are quite a few large boulders
in the river that create pockets.
The West Fork of the Madison River enters
this section of the main river about a mile
above the Lyon Bridge. The West Fork can
dump extra muddy water into the river until
runoff ends usually from late June to the first
week of July. The fishing in this entire section
of the river, as well as all the way
downstream to Ennis, is pretty well dictated
by the aquatic insect hatches that take place.
From the Raynolds Pass Access downstream
to the Lyons Bridge Access, the Madison river
is closed to float fishing. The current is still
fairly strong in this section of the river. It
consist of pocket water in some areas but with
long sections of fast water riffles mixed in.
This section is prime water for the wading
angler. Both nymph fishing and dry fly fishing
is productive in this section.
You will find some large boulders in the river
in some areas but for the most part, it flows
over a cobble bottom without plunges, rapids,
fast runs and deep, slow moving pools.
There's a few places downstream where the
river slows down a little and splits around
some islands in the main stream. If you
arrived on the river from a downstream
location, and you never looked at a map,
unless someone told you, you probably would
never realize you were fishing a tailwater. It
often appears and acts more like a freestone
stream than a tailwater.
Most of the drift boat fishing takes place from
the Lyons Bridge Access to the Varney Bridge
Access. This thirty-mile long section
represents the ideal drifts and is very popular
with the guides. During the prime season it
can become crowded with drift boats. The
busiest time of the year in this section is
during the famous Madison River Salmonfly
hatch. It starts in late June and last for two to
three weeks but never in any one location.
The hatch moves upstream daily during this
period of time.
After the big Salmonfly hatch, the river
actually becomes a better place to fish in our
opinion. It provides consistent dry fly fishing
as well as an opportunity to catch large
browns on streamers all summer long. Caddis
hatches and several species of mayflies keep
the action continuing into the Fall.
The wide open Madison Valley is surrounded
by grass. This is ranch country and grass
hoppers are plentiful along the banks of the
Madison. That, along with daily high winds,
make late summer and early fall a good time
to fish the Madison in this area.
Don't think of this section as only being good
for drift boat fishing. The wading angler can
also catch plenty of trout. There are plenty of
access site and a little effort to hike up or
downstream is often very rewarding.
You will find far less anglers fishing from the
Varney Bridge Access downstream to the
Highway #287 Access Site in Ennis than the
sections of the Madison upstream of there.
It is about the same type of water but with
far less pressure.
There are less riffles and the river begins
to show a slightly different character. The
currents are slightly slower. There's less
rainbow trout but the browns found in this
section are probably larger than the ones
upstream. Both floating and wading is
allowed in this section.
Downstream of Varney Bridge, the
Madison flows into two separate channels.
This is ideal situation for the wading angler
to catch some very large brown trout
Downstream of the Highway #287 Access,
fishing from drift boats is no longer
allowed. The current becomes even slower
but fishing pressure just about ceases to
exist. It isn't due to a lack of fish. This
section probably holds the largest brown
trout in the Madison River. There's some
aquatic vegetation in the river. There's
undercut banks and other places the
brown trout can hide and feed that doesn't
This section of the Madison River does get
some attention during the Fall months of
the year. Large brown trout migrate out of
Ennis Lake upstream to spawn. The trout
are huge and will readily take large
After flowing into the five-mile long Ennis
Lake, created by the Madison Dam, the
Madison River enters the seven-mile long
Bear Trap Canyon. This is a deep canyon
surrounded by rock walls that requires a
great deal of effort to fish. It mostly consist
of whitewater rapids. It is more popular for
whitewater boating than fishing. A mixture
of brown trout and rainbow trout exist in
the Bear Trap Canyon section of the
From the Highway #84 Access to Three
Forks, the flows slow down considerably.
The Madison provides another thirty miles
of fishing but it is quite different from the
upper river. Some rainbows but mostly
brown trout exist in this section. The water
temperatures can become too warm during
the hottest days of Summer. The best fly
fishing opportunities in this section of the
lower Madison River exist in the spring and
You can review those in our "Hatches
Section" but in general, they start with the
famous Salmonfly hatch in early July.
Golden Stoneflies, Green Drakes and Pale
Morning Duns also hatch in this section
along with other mayflies ranging from
BWOs to Yellow Quills. July and August also
have huge caddisfly hatches and fish will
feed on them until it is completely dark or
around 10:00 P. M. each day during the
The section of the river from Lyon Bridge
downstream to Ennis Lake can be fished by
drift boats as well as waded. It is more than
thirty miles long. The first section of water
from Lyon Bridge down to McAtee Bridge, is
similar to the wading only area of the river
with occasional large boulders that create
pocket water, mixed in with the long riffles.
The next section, from McAtee Bridge
downstream to Varney Bridge, consist
mostly of riffles. The river slows down some
and the boulders become fewer and fewer
the farther downstream you go. There are
more brown trout in this section than there
are upstream. From Varney Bridge
downstream to Ennis Lake, there are fewer
access points. The fish in this section
consist mostly of brown trout and are
generally larger than those upstream. The
river flows around some islands which
creates channels in some areas and a more
diverse type of water. There is far more
cover in this section than upstream.
Wherever you fish this great river, there are
plenty of big wild rainbow and brown trout. It
is as close to a perfect trout river as you
can get. It has a tremendous abundance of
aquatic insects and excellent dry fly and
nymph fishing opportunities throughout the
season. Unlike many other trout streams
with large wild trout, the Madison will allow
anyone that can cast a fly a good
opportunity to catch one of its fish. They
aren't pushovers by any means, but they
are not real picky either. It is simply just one
of, if not the best, trout streams in the
Madison River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Madison River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Remember, the Madison River covered in
this section includes many miles of river. The
time slots given don't apply to any one
particular section, rather the entire stream,
so the exact dates are subject to vary at any
The first mayflies to hatch on the Madison
are the Blue-winged Olives. They start about
the first of April and hatch until the first of
June. These mayflies are bi-brooded, and will
hatch again in the Fall from about the first of
September through mid November.
From about the middle of June through the
end of July, the large Green Drakes hatch.
Some of this hatch gets caught up in the
Spring runoff. At about the same time, the
Western March Browns hatch. The hatch can
last until the second week of August.
The "Flavs", or the Small Western Green
Drakes start hatching around the first of July.
This hatch can last until the end of August,
depending on the section of the river. The
PMDs, or Pale Morning Duns, start about the
second week of June and can last through
July. This is one of the better and highly
dependable hatches that takes place.
Speckled Wing Quills hatch from about the
first of July through August in the slower
sections of water in the Madison River. You
will find them for the most part at the heads
of Quake and Ennis Lakes. You will also find
some Tricos in the same type of water. They
hatch from about
the middle of July through September.
Yellow Quills hatch from about the middle of
July through August. These hatch in the
faster water of the river.
The first caddisfly hatches of the year of
significance are the Little Black Caddis, or
Brachycentrus species. This hatch is called
the "Mothers Day Hatch". They start around
the middle of April and can hatch until the
end of May. There is another species of
these caddisflies that hatch during the month
The Spotted Sedges are very common
caddisflies on the Madison. They hatch
from about the middle of May through the
month of July. Their Little Sisters start
around the middle of June and can hatch
The large, Great Gray Spotted Sedge
hatches from about the middle of June
through July. At the same time the Green
Sedges start to hatch. They last until near
the end of September. Their larvae are the
most important stage of their life. These are
called "Rock Worms" and imitations of them
are effective all year. From about mid June
through July, you will see lots of Little
Short-horned Sedges. These are small
caddisflies that anglers often discover
crawling up their waders.
Anglers consider the most important hatch
that takes place on the Madison River to be
the huge Salmonflies. They start hatching
in the lower section of the river around the
middle of June and progress upstream
several miles a day. The hatch is usually
not over in the upper part of the river until
near the end of July. Just as important, in
our opinion, are the Golden Stoneflies.
They start hatching around the first of July
and hatch for most of the month depending
on the section of the river. At the same
time, Little Yellow Stoneflies, called Yellow
Sallies, start hatching. This hatch last for up
to two months, or until the end of August.
From about the middle of July to near the
end of September, terrestrial insects can be
an important part of the trout's diet in the
Madison River. Ants, beetles and
grasshoppers all play a part in this.
Although you cannot predict when, there is
usually a flying ant fall on the river. This
would most likely occur in August, but that
is a guess based on finding them only on
The Madison River is full of sculpin, leeches
and baitfish. These are imitated with
streamers. They are effective all year long,
especially under low light conditions, or
when the water is stained from melting snow
We recommend our "Perfect Flies" over any
flies you can purchase. These are not only
the most realistic imitations you can buy,
they are the most effective flies you can
buy. We have specific imitations of all the
aquatic insects and other trout food that
exist in the river. If you haven't done so
already, please give them an opportunity to
perform for you. You will be glad you did.
The runoff occurs during June, but its peak
time can vary from year to year. Fishing
becomes excellent shortly after the runoff
There are fewer anglers during the fall
season, brown trout spawn, blue-winged
Olives hatch and there's always some great
streamer and dry fly fishing.
Midges hatch during throughout the winter
months and fishing can be good at times.
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The weather is back to
normal, meaning plenty of snow. It
makes little difference in the
tailwater below Hebgen. Water
temps remain about the same.
That is where we recommend you
fish until it starts to warm up some.
Midges, Winter stoneflies and
Skwala stoneflies are hatching.
Little BWOs are hatching in the
section between the lakes. The
Keep track of the latest on our
weekly updated Madison River fly
fishing report linked above.
Map of Madison River
Fishing Report Headline Archive:
10/13/15 The brown trout have started spawning in some areas. They are aggressive and
staking out their territory just about everywhere. Streamers such as our Brown Sculpin are good
flies to use to catch them. Good stream levels and lots of trout being caught on October Caddis,
Little Yellow stoneflies Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges and imitations of terrestrials such as
ants, hoppers and beetles.
10/20/15 The weather is finally turning a little cooler. Night time temperatures will be around
freezing or lower. That should get rid of the hoppers soon, if not already. Brown trout are in the
pre-spawn stage and in some sections, actually spawning. Blue-winged Olives are now the main
aquatic insect to imitate. Hatches are thick on cloudy days and a few of those are in the forecast.
10/27/15 Customers are reporting catching some very big brown trout. They are in the pre-
spawn stage and very aggressive. They will take streamers like our Brown Sculpin very well.
Those were caught between Hebgen and Quake Lakes. Blue-winged Olives are also hatching
11/03/15 There are a lot of spawning brown trout. I hope everyone is mindful of the redds. More
large browns were reported caught this past week. Conditions have been very good but the nice
weather is over. Rain and snow and much colder weather is forecast this week. Blue-winged
olives are the main insects hatching and as always, midges are plentiful and will become more
important this month.
11/10/15 Hatches are reduced to just about Midges and little Blue-winged olives. Brown Sculpin
and White Belly Sculpin streamers are great flies to use at this time. The river is full of these
little fish and it is a prime source of food for the trout. High sticking has produced well for one of
our customers recently. Midges fished in tandem is working as well.
11/17/15 The Madison River, between the lakes (Hebgen and Quake) provides some good
opportunities at this time of the season. Being a bottom discharge tailwater, the water
temperature remains a fairly constant temperature. Post-spawn brown trout are there and they
are hungry. The Brown Sculpin streamer fly is a good one to fool them.
12/01/15 The weather has cleared up and back to a normal temperature range for this time of
the season. Again, we are recommending anglers fish between the lakes, meaning Hebgen and
Quake. The tailwater in that section always produces some good trout at this time of the season.
Fish midges in tandem, with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa up the tippet about a foot or
12/08/15 If you like rain and snow, this coming week will be a good one. It will not be that cold,
rather moderately warm for this time of the year. We did add Winter stoneflies to the list of flies
you will need. They have started to hatch. Midges are still the most important insect to be
imitating but don't forget about the Brown Sculpin streamer. It has been the hot fly between the
12/15/15 The weather and the water is getting much colder than it has been. Discharges are low
and should remain low through the coming week. There is a chnace of snow everyday but that's
common at this time of the year. MIdges are the most important insects you should be imitating
but Winter stoneflies are hatching in some sections. We still think the section between the lakes
is the best choice right now.
12/29/15 The weather has finally turned cold. After all, yesterday was the first day of Winter.
There is a lot of snow in the forecast this week, so getting around may be a problem in some
areas but they do a good job clearing the roads. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the insects
you should be imitating. We recommend fishing the secion between Quake and Hebgen lakes.
Stream levels are staying in good shape.
01/05/16 The Madison River can provide some very good fly fishing opportunities during the
coldest days of winter in the section between Hebgen and Quake lakes. The botttom discharge
of water from Hebgen stays about the same temperature all winter and doesn't get any colder
than 39 degrees at the dam. Midges and Winter stoneflies along with White Belly Sculpin
streamers are the flies you need.
01/12/16 The stream levels and water color in the section between the lakes, that is Hebgen
and Quake, is in good shape and is where you need to fish. Midge larva and pupa, fished in
tandem, and winter stonefly nymphs will work good. Also, with all the cloud cover, the White Belly
sculpin is a great streamer fly to use. The river has a ton of sculpin in it.
01/19/16 The weather is going to be nice and warm, well, with the exception of a couple of days
of warm snow, and you need to get in your Lear Jet and head for West Yellowstone Montana.
Drive down in the valley to the section of the river between the lakes, that is Hebgen and Quake,
tie on a Perfect Fly winter stonefly nymph and hook a 24 inch brown trout.
01/26/16 Midges, cream and red or blood, with the pupa and larva imitations fished in tandem
is a great setup right now. Winter stoneflies are hatching and the nymph of them will work good
as well. When it is cloudy, the White Belly and Brown sculpin streamers are good flies to use.
02/02/16 There is some snow in the forecast every day but one this next week. That means
could cover and help the midge activity. Midges, cream and red or blood, with the pupa and
larva imitations fished in tandem is a great setup right now. Winter stoneflies are also hatching
and the nymph of them will work good as well.
02/09/16 The weather is going to be much warmer this coming week with highs in the mid to
upper forties. This will have little effect on the water temperature in the water between the lakes
where we recommend you fish. Midges are hatching and some trout are being taken on the
surface on the adult dry fly. The conditions are as good as they get during mid winter.
02/16/16 Conditions remain very good for fly fishing the Madison River. Midges are hatching
from one end of the river to the other. The weather seems like it is Spring, but it is still a long
way from it. Winter stoneflies and black flies are hatching in addition to midges. Creams and
Reds are the most prominent midge colors right now.
02/23/16 The warm, nice weather continues at least until this coming weekend. Anglers are
catching trout throughout the system from Hebgen Lake to Ennis. Midges, both reds and
creams, are hatching. Winter stoneflies are hatching in some sections. LIttle Blue-winged olives
are hatching in some sections.
03/01/16 The Madison stream levels and water clarity are in good shape in most all section of
the river from Hebgen to Ennis. The discharges have been low. The weather is going to be
warm for another week. Midges are the main insects to imitate. They are hatching every
afternoon. Creams and Reds are the main ones.
03/08/16 The discharges are up just a little and the low water levels are now just a little above
normal for this time of the year. Midges, and little Blue-winged olives are hatching just about
every day. There's a lot of rain and some snow in the forecast, so you may need to pull out the
Sculpin streamers. The discharges are likely to stay up but not too high to fish.
03/15/16 The river is in about as good of shape as it ever is at this time of the year. The warm
spell has ended but did little other than to make it more comfortable for anglers to fish. The
water is still about the same temperature. Midges are hatching good, especially on cloudy,
overcast days. Some of our customers have been catching them on the surface on the dry adult
03/22/16 The snow continues along with the rather mild temperatures. The cloud cover is a big
help in keeping the little adult midges hatching and providing some surface action. Sculpin
streamers are the best choice for hooking larger size fish. Fish the area between the lakes.
Stream levels are running just a little above normal.
03/29/16 The Madison is in good shape but the weather has been rough the past few days and
looks to be about the same this coming week from the forecast. High winds have been the
biggest problem. The section between the lakes is the best option and midges and little BWO
nymphs, the best flies to use. The Sculpin streamers are also good at this time of the year.
04/05/16 It looks like there is going to be some great early springtime weather this coming week.
Stream levels and discharges are remaining low, and wading is possible just about anywhere.
We still think the best option is between the lakes, meaning Hebgen and Quake, but other
sections are in good shape as well. Midges are still the most important insect to imitate.
04/12/16 The Madison has been good for everyone we have talked to this past week. They are
catching trout from the canyon below Ennis to Hedgen lake. All sections of the river are in good
shape. It is mostly midge fishing and little BWOs that hatch, but it is producing very well. Cloudy
days have produced some big trout for customers using our Brown Sculpin streamer.
04/19/16 The weather is going to be nice and warm this coming week, with little change of rain. It
is still mostly midges and Blue-winged olives hatching, but that will soon change as the water
warms some more. The section between the lakes has been good this past week, but so has the
wading section above the bridge.
04/26/16 The weather is returning to a more normal early springtime pattern, meaning it is going
to rain or snow about every day this coming week. The warm spell of last week is over. The
water is mostly clear again and the levels are all in pretty good shape. It is back to midges and
more midges, with occasional BWO hatches.
05/03/16 The water below the West Fork is very dingy. It is pretty good above there. Little Black
Caddis are hatching in the Bear Trap Canyon below Ennis,. That is the Mother's day hatch
which will soon start taking place in the upper parts of the Madison. Little Blue-winged olives and
mIdges continue to be the main insects that are hatching.
05/10/16 Cooler weather and wet snow has slowed things down and the Mother's Day hatch is
on hold at Ennis. It will warm in a few day and move on upstream. The section between the lakes
is still the best option. The water below the West Fork Madison is dirty. March Browns, Midges
and Blue-winged olives are still the main insects to be imitating.
05/17/16 Although the conditions vary for the canyon below Ennis to Hebgen Lake, the water is
in good shape and anglers can catch trout. There is going to be a chance of rain every day this
coming week but the cloudy weather will help keep the insects emerging and anglers catching
trout. It won't be long before the Big Boys (Salmonflies) get to hatching.
05/24/16 The spring runoff is underway and the river high and dingy to outright muddy,
depending on the section. Basically, it isn't worth fishing any where below the three dollar
Bridge. It is high above there. The section between the lakes is about the only option at this
time. This will continue for the next several days. All you can do s keep checking back with us.
05/31/16 The stream levels are still high. The runoff should really get into high gear this coming
week. The weather is going to get warmer and that will increase it. The irony is, we want the big
snowpack and we want it warm enough to catch trout. This is normal at this time of the year, so
just keep a close check on the levels and discharges from the two dams.
06/07/16 Most sections of he river are high and dingy. Currently, the best option is the section
between the lakes, Hebgen and Quake, but watch the disharges and stream level. Don't fish
below Cabin Creek. Salmonflies are hatching in the Bear trap canyon but the flows have been
high. Few options exist as the warm weather and rain is keeping the water high and dirty.
06/14/16 The weather is turning cooler and there is more rain in the forecast. The stream levels
are low, considering it is the middle of the runoff. It appears it is over, but rest assured it isn't.
Let's hope it does end early this year. It did get an early start. The section between the lakes
above Cabin is still producing trout. Other sections can be fished at this time. Clear water is the
06/21/16 The river is in much better shape than last week. The stream levels are down a lot and
the water clearing. It still has some stain in places. Lots of insects are starting to hatch, all
depending on the section you may be fishing. Green Drakes, Pale Morning Duns should begin
to hatch anytime now. Salmonflies are hatching on the lower end of the river and will move
upstream as the water warms.
06/28/16 The Madison is in good shape in all sections. There are a lot of insects hatching and
our customers are catching a lot of trout. Some new insects starting to hatch are the Great Gray
Spotted Wing sedges, Yellow Quills and of course, the Salmonflies. They arfe a few miles above
Ennis at this time and will likely reach the wading section before the next week ends.
07/05/16 The conditions are great on the upper Madison River. The big salmonflies are
hatching up to the Three dollar bridge area. Golden stones and little Yellow stoneflies are also
hatching. Green drakes, Yellow quills, Spotted Sedges, Green sedges and other caddisflies are
hatching as well. It is a very good time to fly fish the upper Madison. The weather forecast for
the comming week looks great as well.
07/12/16 The Madison River is is usually in excellent shape at this time of the year and this year
is no exception. There are a lot of insects hatching and anglers, many of which are our
customers, are catching a lot of trout. The Big Salmon flies are in the upper river along with lots
of Goldens, Green drakes, Yellow Quills and three species of caddis flies. We added terrestrials
to the fly list but they shouldn't be needed just yet.
07/19/16 The river continues to be in good shape from the Bear Trap canyon all the way to
Hebgen Lake. Anglers in the drift boat and wading sections are still catching lots of trout on the
green drake and PMd hatches as well as the Spotted sedges, Green sedges and Little sister
caddisfly hatches. Late in the day is the best time to fish yet, few anglers are staying very late
on the water.
07/26/16 The Madison continues to be in good shape with good levels and lots of trout being
caught. We received several good reports from customers this past week. The weather is going
to be good for the coming week and we expect more of the same. There are still a lot of aquatic
insects hatching. The big Salmonfly hatch is over on the Madison but that doesn't mean the
good fishing is done.
08/09/16 Hoot Owl restrictions are still in place. It is best to fish sculpin streamers in the early
mornings. Later in the morning, Yellow Quill and PMD nymphs would be a good selection. The
best fishing has been very late in the day near dark but of course, that isn't legal now.
08/16/16 The weather may be turning cooler soon, but there are still some hot days and high
water temperatures. Hoot Owl restrictions are still in place. Yellow quills, Tricos and March
Browns are hatching good. There are still some little yellow stoneflies and lots of caddisflies.
Spotted and Green sedges are hatching good. Fish Sculpin streamers in the morning for the
08/23/16 The Hoot Owl restrictions are still in place from the Ennis dam to the mouth of the river.
The weather is going to be a little cooler this coming week and hopefully, this will get the water
temperature down some so the restrictions can be removed. For now, fish mornings using
Sculpin Streamers. The stream levels are still a little low but in decent shape.
08/30/16 Another wild weather week ahead and by that I mean with temperatures varying for hot
to cold. Hopefully, by the end of the week, the weather will cool down to the point the Hoot Owl
restrictions can be removed but for now, they are still in place. Fish morning using Sculpin
streamers such as our Olive and Black matuka sculpin patterns.
09/06/16 The good news is the Hoot Owl restrictions have been removed as of today. The
weather and water temperature is much cooler and conditions otherwise, in good shape. The
stream levels and discharges are just a little below normal. Wading is possible in the wading
section of the river. There are still plenty of hatches taking place. See the list on the detailed
report linked about.
09/13/16 The weather and water temperature keeps falling down and the river is in good shape
in all sections. Wading has been easy thanks to the lower levels and cloud cover has helped
those fishing dries score well we understand. We didn't receive any reports from customers this
past week. Baetis BWOs are starting to hatch good and the three species of caddisflies
continue to hatch..
09/20/16 The discharges and stream levels are in good shape and anglers are catching trout in
all sections from between the lakes to Ennis. Hatches vary with the section but the larger BWOs
or baetis species, should be the main attraction this coming month. We added Mahogany duns
and October caddis to the fly list as well. Our customers are still catching some trout on
09/27/16 Big brown trout are getting aggressive and into the love mode. They will attach our
Brown sculpin streamer with vigor. The Peal and Cooper Zonkers are working good as well as
the Perfect Fly black and olive Matuka sculpin. There are lots of October Caddis, Mahogany
duns and Blue-winged olives hatching as well. Fishing the Madison River is as good as it gets at
this time of the year.
10/04/16 The Madison is in good shape in all sections with few anglers fishing for a change. You
can catch good numbers of trout in any section from Hebgen to the canyon. The wade section
has October Caddis, Mahogany duns, March Browns, and BWOs. Terrestrials are still working.
The brown trout are nearing pre-spawn mode and taking streamers very well.
10/18/16 The discharges and stream levels are in good shape although low. Wading is easy
and sight casting to big brown trout is working in some sections of the river. It is raining now and
the Blue-winged olives are hatching good. There are still some October Caddis in some sections
of the river. The Brown Sculpin streamer is the best fly options because it is catching the large
browns for our customers.
10/24/16 The weather and stream conditions are great for this time of the year. All sections of
the Madison are in good shape. The brown trout range from pre-spawn to spawning stages. Be
careful to not wade through their redds. The brown sculpin streamers will catch the pre-
spawners. Blue-winged olives are hatching good.
11/01/16 Few anglers are fishing when the fishing is as good as it gets during the fall season.
Stream levels and discharges have been low allowing anglers plenty of wading opportunities.
There are still several insects hatching, including some very good Blue-winged olive hatches.
Brown sculpin streamers continue to catch some big trout.
11/08/16 The section between the lakes, that is Hebgen and Quake, has produced some nice
trout this past week for our customers. They are using midges with the larva and pupa fished in
tandem as well as small BWO nymphs. Early and late in the day, the Brown sculpin streamers
have been catching some very big trout. Good conditions, with few anglers fishing, should
continue this coming week.
11/15/16 The river is still in good shape with low discharges and stream levels that offer anglers
some good wading opportunity. The weather is turning much colder and the water temperature
will soon be dropping some more. We have removed a lot of flies from the list that will not any
longer be hatching. Midges and Blue-winged olives will become more important. Sculpin and
baitfish will continue to catch the larger fish.
11/22/16 There are few anglers from out of the area fishing the Madison at this time of the
season. We have a few local customers who fish throughout the winter months that send us
reports. They have been catching trout lately and some nice ones at that. The section between
the lakes has bee an choice destination. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are the only
11/29/16 The weather is much colder and will continue to be cold all week. The water
temperature is holding up good in the tailwater section between the lakes, which is where we
recommend when it is this cold. Midges, creams and reds or blood midges, rigged with the larva
and pupa in tandem is the best option. Streamers like the brown sculpin will also catch trout and
usually the larger ones.
12/13/16 It has been a cold week and another one is on the way. The temperature will barely go
over freezing this coming one and only for a few hours. Fish the section between the lake, or
Quake and Hedgen Lakes. Fish the upper part near the dam for the warmest water. Cream and
Red or blood midges, Winter stoneflies and Black flies are hatching. Fish the midges in tandem.
12/20/16 Some of you probably get bored with the reports always including the section between
the lakes, or Hebgen and Quake, but it offers prime fly fishing opportunity all winter long. The
water coming from the turbines of Hedgen doesn't get less than 39 degrees. You can catch trout
in the wade section. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching. It is tougher getting to some of
the water in heavy snow than it is catching trout at times.
12/27/17 I guess some get tired of reading about the section between the lake, or Hebgen and
Quake, but it is one of the choice locations to fish during this time of the year due to the warmer
water temperature. The Walk-in section is usually warm enough, but a little colder. Midges,
creams and reds, and Winter stoneflies and Black Flies are the only insects hatching. We didn't
receive any reports for anglers fishing this past week.
01/03/17 It is winter time in Montana and this coming week's high temperature on the Madison
River looks to be about 18 degrees. Be sure to take you ear muffins. Again, the section between
Hebgen and Quake lakes would be our choice. The discharge from Hedgen will be the warmest
water you're likely to find anywhere. Cream midges, Black fly larva and pupa and winter stonefly
nymphs will catch trout there.
01/10/17 The weather is back to more normal weather for this time of the year. Midges, creams
and reds (blood), Winter stoneflies and Black flies represent the only hatches that will occur.
That will change little within the next two months. We still recommend the section between
Hebgen and Quake lake to fish, but there is water warm enough in the upper walk-in section. By
warm enough, I mean two to four degrees above freezing.
01/17/17 The discharges and stream levels have been ideal for the wading angler. Fish were
caught this past week in the section between the lakes. Midges, Creams and Reds, are still
hatching good. There are also Winter stoneflies and Black flies hatching. When there is heavy
cloud cover, fish the Black Matuka Sculpin slowly along the deepest runs and pools. The
weather is going to be warm and the week ahead should be good.
01/24/17 The weather is back to the normal cold with high temperatures below freezing each
day. Midges, Reds and Creams, will probably be the only insects you see hatching. There are a
few Black flies and Winter stoneflies. Fish the section between the lakes for the warmest water.
Midges are best fished in tandem with the pupa about 16 inches above the larva. We now have
these pre-rigged for those anglers with trouble tying on tiny flies.
01/31/17 There is a winter storm warning in effect for the next couple of days. Heavy snow is
expected and will continue for the next several days. Getting around on the river will be a bigger
problem than catching trout. Fish the section between the lakes below Hebgen. Midges, Creams
and Reds, are the most important insects. Streamers like our Black Matuka sculpin will work
when it is cloudy or snowing.
02/07/17 There is a chance of rain or snow everyday for the next week, but it is going to be just
a little warmer. That has little effect on the bottom discharge of water from Hebgen. Fishing the
section between the lakes is the best option at this time. Midges, Creams and Reds, with the
larva and pupa rigged in tandem is the best setup. There are still some Winter stoneflies and
Black Flies hatching.
02/14/17 The weather is going to be a little warmer this coming week, with high temperatures in
the mid forties each day. There is more snow, but it will be lighter. Fish the section between the
lakes. It is always the warmest water. Fish the upper part of the short section. Midges and
Winter stoneflies are the only insects hatching. Sculpin streamers will catch the larger trout.
02/21/17 The warm weather was nice but it is back to the normal winter weather pattern for the
Madison. There is heavy snow in the forecast the next several days. The high temperature will
only be 34 degrees and most day below that. The section between Hebgen and Quake lakes is
the only section we think will be worth fishing..Getting around there will be a problem.
03/28/17 The discharges from Hebgen are a little strong with levels a little above normal, but
enough to make wading tough in most places. The section between the lakes, or Hebgen and
Quake lakes is the only section we recommend fishing. The weather is going to be a little
warmer with most days reaching the high thirties to the low forties. Fish Cream, Red or light
Green Midges. Sculpin streamers work when it is snowing.
03/07/17 The discharges and stream levels are running just a little above normal. There is rain
or snow in the forecast everyday for the coming week. Midges are still the most important
insects to imitate. Creams, Reds, or blood midges and light Greens are hatching. We
recommend fishing the section between the lakes, or Hebgen and Quake. It won't be long before
March Browns begin to hatch. Sculpin streamers are working good.
03/14/17 The discharges from Hebgen are about 300 cfs higher than they have been in a while.
The lake level needs to come down to prepare for runoff. It is currently very warm. We still think
the best option is to fish in the section between the lakes or Hebgen and Quake lake. Use
midges, Creams or reds, rigged in tandem and Sculpin streamers like the Black or Olive Matuka
03/21/17 This coming week looks good for the Madison. The weather is going to be warm
although there is rain and snow forecast everyday. We think it will mostly be light and the cloud
cover can really help the "catching". Streamers like our Matuka sculpin patterns work good
under these conditions. The lower end of the river is beginning to warm up some. We still are
recommending the section between the lakes.
03/28/17 The Madison is in good shape with good discharge rates and stream levels. We are
still recommending the section between Hebgen and Quake lakes. Midges, creams and reds,
are still the main insects to be imitating. Fish the pupa and lava imitations in tandem. If you see
midge clusters on the surface, fish the adult midge imitations. Sculpin streamers are a good
choice in lw light conditions.
04/04/17 It will be a little warmer this coming week and that sounds good, except it can be just
the reverse. There have already been a few mini-runoffs and conditions generally stay better
when it is cold at this time of the year. Most all of the river is in good shape right now. The
discharges and levels are in good shape. We still recommend the section between Hebgen and
Quake lakes but you should be able to fish most of the upper part of the river.
04/11/17 Conditions remain about the same for this coming week. There is light rain or snow
forecast most days but with warmer, milder weather. There are some good little Blue-winged
olive and lots of Light Green Midge hatches taking place. Little Brown and Skwala stoneflies are
hatching. Fish the nymphs late in the day near the banks.
04/18/17 The discharges and stream levels continue to be low and great for anglers fishing
between the lakes. That is still our recommended section, although the wade section is in good
shape as well. There is snow or rain in the forecast everyday but one, but that shouldn't hurt the
opportunity as long as it isn't heavy. Light Green midges, little Black caddis and Skwala and little
Brown stoneflies are hatching.
04/25/17 The discharges and stream levels are up a little, too high to wade safely in most
places. The water is clear and about 46 degrees. We are still recommending the section
between the lakes, or Hebgen and Quake. Fish sculpin streamers or little Brown or Skwala
stonefly nymphs. There is rain or snow in the forecast everyday for the next week.
05/02/17 The discharges and stream levels are running high, too high to wade safely in any
section. We still recommend fishing the section between the lakes, but it is high and you will
have to fish from the banks at the current levels. There are some little Black Caddis and Skwala
and little Brown stoneflies hatching. The weather is turning a little warm again.
05/09/17 The discharges and stream levels are still up high enough to where you need to use
caution wading. There are Skwala and little Brown stoneflies hatching as well as midges and
some little Blue-winged olives. LIttle Black caddis are still hatching in some sections. The levels
may continue to be high for a while.
05/16/17 The discharges and stream levels are high right now. I assume they want to lower the
lake for the runoff. It is too high to wade in most sections all the way to Ennis. Right now, at the
current flows, it is too high to fish but when it slows back down fish the sections behind boulders
where trout are staying out of the current. The very high discharges should let up soon.
05/23/17 The discharges and stream levels are still high. The water got a little clearer this past
week, but it is still not good. The section between the lakes is the place to fish but right now, it is
too high to wade. You can fish from the banks. We expect it to be a few more days before things
05/30/17 It is called the runoff. While it is still in mild stage compared to what it could be, it is too
high to wade anywhere. The section between the lakes, Hebgen and Quake, might allow some
opportunity. There are several places you can fish from the bank. Fish the upper part of it,not
the lower end.
06/06/17 The river continues to be high and badly stained. The runoff is in high gear and will
probably last for most of this month. Lets just hope it stays warm and the snow continues to
melt. We don't want Salmonflies hatching in high water.
06/14/17 The runoff is still underway and the levels high in all sections of the Madison river.
Cabin Creek and Camp Creek is mudding up the water a lot. The section between the lakes is
still the best choice. Use nymphs and streamers is you fish.
06/20/17 The runoff is still underway and the discharges and resulting stream levels are still
high. Camp and Cabin Creek continue to put a lot of muddy water in the river. We still
recommend fishing the section between the lakes. It is still the best option. All you can do is to
stay in touch. You can send us and email and let us help you plan that next trip.
06/27/17 The discharges and stream levels are down some and wading with caution is possible
in some areas and not in others. We still recommend fishing the upper section walk-in about the
5$ bridge or the section between the lakes. There are a lot of hatches taking place but vary
greatly from the lower river to Hebgen lake.
07/4/17 The river is in good shape but running a little high and tough to wade in many places.
Some are okay if you do so with caution. There are several hatches going on. Our customers
have begin to catch some good numbers of trout. All sections of the river are starting to produce
trout. We still prefer the section between the lakes but the walk in is doing okay as well.
07/11/17 The river is still running above average and dirty in most places. Cabin Creek, Indian
Creek, West Fork of the Madison and other tributaries are still dumping a lot of dirty water into
the river. The salmonfly hatch is about over for the season. There are some still hatching in the
upper walk in section and between the lakes. Golden stoneflies will be close behind them.
07/18/17 The stream levels are good in all sections of the river. It is mostly clear with a little stain
from some of the small tributaries. We received several good reports this past week. There are
still plenty of hatches going on. The Golden stoneflies are hatching good and the little Yellows
are starting on the lower end of the river. Some guys are doing okay on terrestrial imitations.
07/25/17 The upper river or anywhere above Ennis is in good shape. The walk-in and section
between the lakes is our first choice. The drift boat section is doing just as well. There are still
lots of insects hatching. Yellow Quills, Pale Morning duns, Spotted and Green Sedge caddis,
Little Yellow stoneflies and others are hatching.
08/01/017 The discharges and stream levels remain the same as last week. Stream conditions
are in good shape in all sections and trout are being caught in all sections of the river. We had
two good reports from this past week from customers fishing the walk-in section. Drift boats are
catching good numbers of trout as well.
08/08/17 The river is in good shape in all sections from the Beartrap canyon to Hebgen Lake.
We received some good reports from customers this past week. The weather forecast looks
good for the coming week, with some showers likely. The cloud cover is usually a big help.
There are plenty of hatches taking place. Terrestrial imitations are also working.
08/15/17 Conditions are excellent from Hebgen dam to the Bear Trap Canyon. There are still a
lot of insects hatching. Terrestrials are also working but we don't recommend them as long as
anything is hatching. We received two good reports from customers this past week - one from
the wading section and another floating the river.
08/22/17 Conditions are very good in all respects yet relatively few anglers are fishing. This is
normal at this time of the season. It is great for the anglers that do have the opportunity to fish.
We received two good reports from customers this past week. Sculpin streamers are getting the
larger trout. There are still some good hatches taking place and wading safe and easy most
08/29/17 We received three good reports from customers fishing this past week. All sections of
the river are in good shape with good stream levels. There are still a lot of hatches taking place.
Flavs, or Small Western Green drakes are hatching good. Little Yellow stoneflies are hatching
good. Terrestrials are also taking a few trout but don't fish them if a hatch is taking place.
09/05/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. We received three good reports from the
past week. There are still plenty of insects hatching. They vary some with the section but all
have spotted and Green sedge caddis as well as little Sister caddis. Small Western Green
drakes and Little Yellow stoneflies are also plentiful. Terrestrials continue to work good.
09/12/17 The river is in very good shape in all sections. There is a chance of rain everyday this
coming week and for the first time in a long time, some snow. We received one good report from
a customer this past week. He fished the section between Hebgen and Quake lake. This coming
week should be a good one. You may need to get out your Brown sculpin streamers.
09/19/17 Fall has arrived. We are recommending the section between the lakes, meaning
Hebgen and Quake lakes. Trout will begin to move our to Quake and up the river to spawn.
LIttle BWO nymphs will be a consistent way to fish but there are others as you can see from the
09/26/17 The river is in good shape in all respects. Stream levels are normal thanks to low
discharges, and wading possible in most locations. We recommend fishing the section between
the lakes or the walk-in section above the $3 dollar bridge. We received one good report from a
customer this past week.
10/03/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. The hard freeze
killed most of the terrestrials in the upper part of the river. We have taken them off the fly list. It
is down to midges and some small BWOs and Mahogany duns. We are still recommending
fishing in the section between Hebgen and Quake lakes.
10/10/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. Discharges from Hebgen are low and stream
levels good for wading most places. The water is colder, dropping down into the high forties.
Midges and Blue-winged olives are the most important hatches but there are still some October
caddis hatching in places.
10/17/17 The discharges and stream levels remain good in all sections of the river. We still
recommend the section between the lakes. There are always some big trout moving out of
Quake upstream at this time of the year. Midges are catching the most trout but Sculpin
streamers are catching the large browns.
10/24/17 We received two good reports from local customers fishing the section between the
lakes this past week. They caught some large browns on Sculpin streamers - our Brown and
White Belly sculpin. Midges are also working good. There are some good hatches of Blue-
winged olives starting to take place especially when it is cloudy or overcast.
11/08/17 The discharges and stream levels remain good. There is snow forecast most days, but
rather light. Fish the section between the lakes for the best results. The water is down to 42
degrees. Midges, creams and reds or blood midges, should be the most important insects to
11/16/17 We had one good report from a customer fishing this past week. Fish the section
between the lakes, or Hebgen and Quake. Other areas may be okay but we know good
numbers and sizes of trout are coming from there. Midges, creams and reds, are hatching. Blue-
winged olives are hatching on the cloudy days. Fish the Sculpin streamers for the larger trout.
11/24/17 We received two good reports from customers fishing the section between Hebgen
and Quake lakes this past week. Sculpin streamers caught the larger trout. Midges, Creams and
Reds or blood midges, caught the most numbers. This coming week should be better with a
better weather forecast.
11/30/17 he river is in good shape, except the water is a little colder than the last week or two.
We received two more good reports from local customers fishing the section between the lakes -
Hebgen and Quake. Midges, Creams and Reds (blood) midges are hatching.
12/07/17 The conditions remain near the same as last week. The water is cold and midges and
aquatic worms are the most important foods to imitate. We received one good report from a
customer fishing between the lakes last week.
12/14/17 The river is still in decent shape for this time of the season. We still recommend the
section between Hebgen and Quake lakes. The water is warmer from the bottom discharges of
Hebgen. Midges, creams and blood midges (red) are hatching.
12/21/17 The river is still in good shape. We are still recommending the section between the
lake, or in case you don't know, Hebgen and Quake lakes. Midges are the main insects to
imitate, but Winter stoneflies are also hatching. Must of the water is other sections of the river is
12/28/17 This is reading like a repeat but about the only section of the river warm enough to fish
is the section between Hebgen and Quake lakes. Trout are being caught there.
01/05/18 The river is still in good shape with conditions normal for this time of the year. We still
are recommending the section between the lakes, or Hebgen and Quake. Fish the upper part of
the short section. The water is a little warmer. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching.
Discharges and stream levels are good.
01/12/18 The river is still in good shape for mid January. The stream levels are normal and the
section between Hebgen and Quake lakes is still producing some catches. MIdges and Winter
stoneflies are still the main insects you need to be imitating.
01/19/18 Conditions remain very good for mid January. The discharges and stream levels are
still good. We are still recommending the section between the lakes, or Hebgen and Quake. The
water is warmer there than anywhere in the system. Midges and Winter stoneflies are still the
main insects to imitate.
02/02/18 Conditions remain about the same. The discharges and stream levels below Hebgen
are a little higher than normal but still okay. Midges- creams and blood midges are still hatching
good. Winter stoneflies are hatching. Aquatic worms should also catch some trout.
02/09/18 Conditions are good for the middle of the winter. Midges, light green, cream and light
red, are hatching. Winter stoneflies continue to hatch. Aquatic worms and Brown sculpin
streamers are also catching trout.
02/16/18 The river is in good shape near the Hebgen tailwater between the lakes. Most of the
other sections of water downstream to Ennis is just too cold for much of any opportunity. You
can catch trout in water in the low thirties but it can be slow, even done right.
02/23/18 This may read like a broken record, but the section between the lakes, Hebgen and
Quake, is still the preferred area to fish. The water is warmer and mostly all clear at this time.
You can fish below there but the water is barely above freezing usually with slush ice in it.
03/02/18 Conditions remain near the same. We are still recommending the section between
Hebgen and Quake lakes. Midges, winter stoneflies, aquatic worms, skwala stoneflies and
sculpin are the foods you should be imitating.
03/09/18 It is going to be warmer this coming week. It will make little difference in the water
temperature most places, but sure help those fishing be more comfortable.