Fishing & Rivers
The Madison Valley Ranch, located in the heart of southwestern Montana, is just a cast away from some of the best fishing Montana has to offer. Sitting in the Madison Valley, three miles north of Ennis, Montana, a short walk out the back door will find you casting to rising fish in the famous “Channels” section of the Madison River, or a short drive and you can be fishing on the Bighole, Beaverhead, Yellowstone, Ruby or Gallatin Rivers.
The Madison Valley Ranch has been catering to beginner & advanced fly fisherman for over 15 years and our team knows every riffle and seam in the Madison, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby, Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers.
Whether you prefer the challenge of wade fishing or the comfort of drift boats, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides will navigate amateurs to experts on the scenic and trout filled Madison River. The unparallel access to guided fishing adventures on nearby blue ribbon trout streams allow anglers to customize their dream fishing itinerary. Armed with your personal fly fishing goals, we will ensure your fishing adventures are extraordinary.
Come join us and experience the diverse thrills of fly fishing in Southwest Montana for yourself!
The Madison River – Probably the most recognized trout stream in the world. The Madison offers 130 miles of trout bearing water. Known for its amazing salmon fly hatch and great hopper fishing, the Madison offers the most consistent fishing of all the rivers we fish. Day in and day out the Madison offers more and bigger fish. This river is great for both wading and floating combinations. Whether you are a novice or seasoned pro, the Madison River will appeal to your angling desires.
The Yellowstone River – The longest undammed trout stream on Earth. This is a great dry fly river with lots of gravel bars. The Yellowstone provides your best opportunity for catching cutthroat trout. Known for its great hatches, we like to fish the Yellowstone in May, August and September.
Gallatin River- Another classic western trout stream. It’s wade fishing only with lots of access.
Ruby River – This wade only river is narrow, meandering, with bushy banks and undercut banks along with some nice deep holes. Because of it’s challenges, the Ruby is not fished as much as other area rivers and the solitude and rewards of nice browns can make it worth the effort.
The Beaverhead River – This river offers great opportunities for large brown trout. It can be the most challenging river we fish due to its smaller size and finicky fish. The Beaverhead is not ideal for the beginner but can be well worth the effort.
The Big Hole River – This is a classic western trout stream. The Big Hole is loaded with drop-offs, gravel bars, and lots of structure. We do a lot of wading on this river and use the drift boats more for access than to fish from. The Big Hole is known as a brown trout fishery but it also provides your best chance at catching a grayling.
Private Water Spring Creeks – In southwest Montana there are a variety of great private water spring creeks we fish. Based on your fishing goals, we will help you determine the best creek to fish during your stay. Milesnicks, Depuys, Armstrong, and Nelsons all provide great dry fly hatches. Rod fees vary based on individual creeks.
Madison Valley Ranch Property
The “Channels” section of the Madison River flows right behind the lodge and is a great section to fish. This area is wade fishing only with limited access and has a variety of water to fish. The “Channels” section is a great dry fly fishery with an abundance of caddis hatches throughout the summer. Our guests particularly enjoy fishing this section in the evening, although it can also be a great way to warm up your fly fishing muscles on arrival or departure days.
Jack Creek, a tributary of the Madison River, flows through the lodge property and is a great little dry fly stream. With this private access, you can expect plenty of action with the resident brown trout.
The Jurassic Pond at the Madison Valley Ranch covers 2 acres and is located right next to the lodge. It is loaded with large, feisty kamloop rainbows. Most folks fish from shore. The pond is a great place to learn or sharpen your skills. And, don’t be surprised if you catch yourself heading out after dinner to catch on a large trout during the evening hatch before bed!
Mid-April – Springtime is probably the best kept secret in Montana. All the rivers are low and clear prior to run off. You can expect lots of nymph and streamer fishing and surprisingly enough, dry flies as well. Caddis hatches provide some outstanding fishing throughout the spring. It’s a great time to experience Montana as it greens up and as aggressive fish attack your fly.
May – June is a transition month in Montana. The snow pack determines how the fishing will be this month. For the last three years June has been an exceptional time to fish. Salmon fly fishing typically begins at the end of June. Check with us to find out the status of the snow pack.
July – August – Lots of fun and sun. Late June and early July brings out the Salmon flies on the Madison and the Big Hole. July offers lots of great hatches. In August you can start thinking big hopper patterns fished on the surface. We typically fish 2 flies at a time with a dry fly and nymph combination. You can expect great weather and fishing conditions.
September – Montana is beautiful in the fall. We still use large dry attractor patterns on the surface in early September. There is lots of great action all month long. The weather is usually mild and sunny and you can expect all of the rivers to be low, clear, and fishing well.
October – WE LOVE OCTOBER You can expect awesome fishing from very aggressive fish. The weather can be some what unpredictable but the fish don’t mind. If you are a serious fisherman that enjoys fishing streamers then Oct. is the month for you.