One of the most remarkable things about The Channels and other rivers in this state is their non-exclusivity unlike so many other trophy fisheries in the western United States. Sure, you can’t just walk right into the river at any point, but Montana’s attitude toward stream access puts an experience like the one I described above within reach of anyone willing to make the effort. Unlike Colorado or Wyoming, where the streambed is considered private property, anglers in Montana are allowed to float and wade in it’s rivers so long as they don’t exit the river or step above the “high water” mark. It’s such a pleasure to be able to wander along and fish all these spots without worrying that some angry landowner will confront you with a trespassing violation.
The Madison is one of the most heavily fished river in Montana (because of it’s health and consistency), but it’s rare that I ever see anyone down in the Channels. I think this kind of solitude is made possible because of the stream access that distributes the pressure over the entire length of the river rather than concentrating everyone in a few select public areas. When our guests at The Ranch walk out the back door to sample The Channels they rarely report seeing other anglers on the river and even if they do they’re spread out enough that no one ever feels crowded. Catching wild trout, on a beautiful stretch of river without the maddening crowds is what it’s all about, right? There’s no place like it in the lower 48!
If you decide to come experience The Channels of the Madison, make a point of visiting us at the Madison Valley Ranch. They’re reachable right out our back door…just a cast away,