Madison River Montana Fly Fishing, Camping, Rafting

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Madison River

The slow, straight, and gentle course of the Class I Madison River provides an esteemed location for recreactional uses such as wade fishing or those seeking a mild mannered floating trip.

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  • Classified as a blue ribbon fishery in Montana.
  • The Madison River is home to a diverse and productive trout population including brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and cut-bow trout.
  • The 50 mile stretch of calm waters in between Quake Lake and Ennis Lake is called the "Fifty Mile Riffle," which provides for optimal floating.

Overview

One of the three main tributaries to the Missouri River, the Blue Ribbon designated Madison River flows westerly through the mountains of Southwestern Montana to eventually join the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers at Three Forks. Known for its high quality fishing and temperate waters, the Madison River offers beautiful scenic views. Snow-capped mountains line the eastern and western skylines and the open river banks are ideal for wildlife sightings.

Fishing

The Madison River is home to a diverse trout population including brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and cut-bow trout. The upper section of the Madison River, between the confluence of the Firehole River and Gibbon River to Hebgen Lake, is known for runs of spawning rainbow trout in the spring and brown trout in the fall. Although the river lacks still water and deep pools, excellent lake fishing exists in Hebgen Lake, a man-made reservoir that controls waterflow of the Madison downstream.

  • Best Place to Fish: A world renowned stretch of the Madison between Quake and Ennis Lakes, known as the “fifty mile riffle,” features great rainbow and brown trout catches consistently for both novice and expert anglers.
  • Best Time to Fish: Madison Fly fishing is great most of the year except December and January. Key species include westslope cutthroat trout, whitefish, and the Arctic grayling. Rainbow and brown trout average between 12 -17 inches approximately.
  • Hatches on the Madison include caddis, salmonflies, golden stoneflies, and several mayfly species like the Blue-winged Olive, Pale Morning Dun and Trico. Hoppers come later in the summer, and woolly buggers, other streamers, and various nymphs are a staple throughout the season.

Floating

Providing an easy going and scenic float, the Madison River is an exceptional way to spend an afternoon. The spacious Madison Valley combined with the snow-capped peaks lining the sky will make any Madison River Montana floating experience memorable. The 50 mile stretch of calm waters in between Quake Lake and Ennis Lake is called the "Fifty Mile Riffle," which provides for optimal floating.

Camping

Campgrounds and cabins are scattered along the Madison River, giving the visitor a scenic place to stay as well as first hand outdoor recreational opportunities.

Highlights

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Other Madison River Resources

Madison River Foundation

Organization that endeavors to preserve, protect and enhance the Madison River ecosystem.

Henrys Fork River

The Henry's Fork of the Snake River is one of the region's finest fly-fishing rivers.

Gallatin River

Gallatin River information on our Big Sky website.