Madison River Fishing

Montana’s Blue Ribbon Trout Stream

Ennis Montana Fly Fisherman Statue

Fly Fisherman Statue in downtown Ennis, Montana

The Madison River is formed by the confluence of the Gibbon and the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. As the Madison flows from the Park, it enters Hebgen Lake. Cool water exits the lake and begins the “50 Mile Riffle” to Ennis Lake.  In this section of the Madison River you’ll find good populations of rainbow and brown trout that average 14-16 inches. Larger, 20+ inch fish are not uncommon.

The Madison River is blessed with numerous hatches over the course of the season. Most notably is the Salmonfly hatch which occurs mid to late June.  Anglers fish with large dry fly patterns during the hatch that fish smack hard on the water’s surface. Blue Winged Olives and Midges start the season in late March or April giving pre-runoff anglers a chance to catch fish on top as winter winds down. Through the season, Caddis, Pale Morning Duns, Golden Stones along with Hoppers and Ant bring trout to the surface to feed on top.

Numerous fishing accesses and boat launches along the Madison River from Hebgen Lake to Ennis Lake provide access to floaters and waders alike. Wade fish the famous “Three Dollar Bridge” or “Ennis Bridge” in Ennis to access some of the Madison’s finest trout water.  Or pick a section of river to drift for an amazing day on the water.


The Rainbow Valley Lodge in Ennis, Montana is a Montana Fly Fishing Lodge that offers great accommodations, fly fishing guide service along with advice and tips in its fly shop, O’Dell Creek Fly Shop.