Madison River Fishing

A Montana Blue Ribbon Trout Stream

The Madison River is an amazing fishery.  Boasting 2900 – 3500 fish per mile, the Madison River is home to big rainbows and huge brown trout. And plenty of smaller fish too.

The scenery is fantastic. To the east, the Madison Mountains tower over the valley floor. Some peaks reaching more than 11,000′. To the west, the Gravelly Mountain Range rises and separates the Madison Valley from the Ruby River Valley.

Guided Fishing

At the Rainbow Valley Lodge, fly fishing the Madison is our passion. We offer guided fishing trips on the Madison River. Our O’Dell Creek Fly Shop is stocked with fly patterns that work on the river. Stop in and get an up-to-date fishing report from our staff – we all fish and we love to talk about fishing!


Our rooms and cabins are the best lodging options in Ennis, Montana. Our 24 lodge rooms and suites offer amenities such as free wifi, continental breakfast. Some rooms offer complete kitchens.

Our 10, uniquely different, cabins offer more room to spread out and are perfect for extended stays. Cabins can sleep 2 or more.

Fly Fishing Packages Starting At

$905per person, based on double occupancy
  • Three Nights Lodging, Two Days Guided Fishing on the Madison River

About the Madison River

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.

Wading the River

From below Hebgen Lake to Lyons Bridge, the river is wade-able with several access points. Good wading shoes/sandals are recommended. In the slide-area, wading can be tough as the current is swift. No fishing from boats is allowed in this stretch.

Madison River Below Hebgen Lake, West Yellowstone MT
Salmonfly Nymph, Madison River Montana

The Hatches

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.

Floating the Madison River

Perhaps the best way to experience the Madison River is by drift boat. Cast to the banks while your guide expertly angles the boat towards hidden seams, feeding lanes, and back eddies filled with trout dimpling the surface.

The river from Lyons Bridge to Ennis Lake is our home water. Our expert fishing guides spend more than 100 days a year on the water. Get to know the Madison River with the help of our professional guides.

Fishing the Madison River from a drift boat with a guide

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.