My son and I had an amazing time in Montana. The Madison Valley Ranch was everything we could have hoped for – great hospitality, outstanding service, and amazing food. Elizabeth and Scott were incredible and made us feel welcome the moment we arrived. And the pond provided a great deal of fun before and after our guided tours. Fishing the various sections of the Madison with Nate was fantastic. He knew the water so well, and provided great instruction throughout the 2 days we were with him. We caught plenty of rainbows and browns and enjoyed every minute of the trip. We’re both looking forward to a return trip. -2014
I’d like to thank you for being so kind and gracious during our stay at MVR. While we loved the food, fishing, and accommodations at the Ranch, we felt that your warm hospitality and engaging manner was one of the real highlights of the trip. I’ve found that on our various fishing trips all over, the greatest memories we have are not necessarily about that one big trout or bonefish (although it helps), but of the wonderful and interesting people we meet and get to know. We loved how you engaged our boys in conversation at dinner and other times, and I can tell you – it really made them feel at home.
Thanks again for a fantastic stay at MVR.
Our best regards to you, Scott, and all at the Ranch.
Rich Lee, 2014
Debre and I had a terrific time at MVR – and your upbeat & positive outlook and meeting the other guests really helped make the trip special. Thanks for the great photos, and we look forward to returning to the Ranch!
Seth & Debre, 2014
My sons and I had a wonderful time at MVR. It had been a long time since the three of us had that much time together and it was wonderful. We couldn’t have chosen a better place for our special time together. You do an absolutely great job at MVR. Everything from the people on staff (especially you), to the accommodations, the amenities, the food (Scott does an amazing job there), to the fishing – everything is first class, and to be candid, even better than I had imagined it could be. Dave and Gunnar were classy guys and did a great job as our guides. Our boys and I have always enjoyed each other’s company and I had looked forward to this special time with them. Thank you for your part of all that. I certainly look forward to a return trip.
Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for making our stay a wonderful experience. I thought you and your staff provided top notch service and the food was excellent. The guides you provide are excellent at what they do and our guide Chris was extremely helpful (considering Rick and I do not fish on a regular basis!). We needed a little bit more instruction/guidance from our guide which Chris provided and I’m very grateful for that. He made the fishing experience that much more enjoyable. I have to tell you, we had such a good time and so much fun that I don’t doubt for a minute that we will be back. We absolutely fell in love with Montana. Can’t wait to return.
Lorraine and Rick, 2014
Elizabeth- I would like to thank you for creating a great experience for us. You are definitely the heart and soul of MVR and you are the best. This was the best fishing experience and trip that I have gone on. The staff and accommodations were excellent and I would not change a thing. -2014
It was such fun meeting you and everyone else at the ranch. You, without question, make Madison Valley Ranch what it is – a destination to return to year after year. From my very first inquiry, you were WAY more than someone on the other end of an email. I have felt like I’ve known you for years – so helpful, kind, generous, sincere – and to say you do your job well, is the UNDERSTATEMENT of the year. I have never experienced better service from anyone – and the unbelievable thing is – you inspire the entire MVR team to provide outstanding service to each and EVERY guest. I had a wonderful vacation, but the thing that I treasure most, are the many new friendships I found at MVR.
Be well and hope the fish are biting like crazy!
We’re back on Cape Cod but our hearts and thoughts are still in Montana, fly fishing and taking in the beautiful country. You and your staff made our stay at the Madison Valley Ranch unforgettable. The comfy accommodations, FANTASTIC meals, and GREAT fishing will not be forgotten. Gunnar is a gem…what a knowledgeable man. He was fun, attentive and patient with my novice skills…definitely a “keeper.”
Thank you and your staff for everything and if you are ever heading to Cape Cod make sure to let us know so we can return a little of the hospitality (and fishing) you’ve given to us.
Cyndy and John
I traveled to Madison Valley Ranch with our two sons. They had grown up fly fishing our small NC and Virginia trout streams, but we had never fished big water. Our experience at MVR was wonderful. The staff and amenities were absolutely delightful. The accommodations were first class, and the food was fabulous (you can’t believe how good it was); and the fishing – wow. The river (Madison) was beautiful, and it was full of the fattest, hardest fighting trout you can imagine. I could have never conjured up a better experience in my wildest dreams. -2014
Madison Valley Ranch is by far the premier fly fishing destination. Whether it’s your first time with a rod in hand or an avid caster, this experience is world class. The guides (hand-picked by lodge manger Elizabeth) know the water, can tailor to any angler’s ability, and deliver big fish … in numbers! I have had the good fortune to spend time at MVR with friends as well as family. The staff and the kitchen cater to your every need. Guests are treated to cuisine prepared by a renowned Chef (Scott Warren) and you are never left wanting your favorite glass of wine or cold beer as Elizabeth knows your preference even before you arrive. If you are looking for the fishing adventure of a lifetime with accommodations fit for royalty … come to the Madison Valley Ranch. -2014
OMG – it really does NOT get any better than MVR. From the very first online inquiry to the end of my trip, no detail was overlooked. Elizabeth, Scott, Anne – the entire MVR staff attend to every detail of every guest – always with infectious enthusiasm and a genuine desire to make your stay at MRV unforgettable. The food is amazing – do not miss trying everything – especially dessert!! You’ll be a member of the “clean plate” club – promise! The guides from Eaton Outfitters were superb. Having never fly fished before, I was a little nervous about the trip. Julie & Dave were awesome – very patient, knew the river well and where the fish were. I learned a lot and caught a ton of fish! This was the first of many trips I’ll make to MVR. -2014
Who would have thought that the Madison Valley Ranch could improve on perfection, but they keep on impressing us. This was our fourth year at the Ranch. We’re addicted! In fact, we book for the following year within a month of returning back to our home in New York. It offers top notch fishing in the Madison River, impressive accommodations and an exceptionally talented kitchen staff. All are quite hard to duplicate. Elizabeth and Anne make you feel like you’re “coming home” when you arrive. This staff makes a Herculean job appear easy! A heavenly vacation! -2014
Can’t possibly say enough good things about MVR. As an Orvis endorsed lodge, we arrived with high expectations as it was. Those expectations, on every single facet of the trip, were completely blown out of the water. From the second of our arrival, when Elizabeth sprinted out the door to greet us, to the sad day we had to pack up to go home, Madison Valley Ranch was perfect. Spending 4 days and 5 nights anywhere you would always expect something to not go right, or not be as expected. At MVR? Not a single complaint. Not one. The accommodations, the scenery, the food, the unbelievable 4 course meals every night, and the camaraderie at those meals;everything was perfect. And then there was the fishing. Two complete novices at fly-fishing, and between Elizabeth and our guide Chris we were catching fish within minutes. The most beautiful fish, in the most perfect location. If you’re reading reviews of the different lodges, trying to decide where to go, then stop now and call Elizabeth. You won’t regret it…GUARANTEED! Elizabeth, Scott and team..thank you for a perfect amazing vacation – absolutely ZERO doubt in my mind that we’ll be back – I just need to work out how I can swing it at home without waiting a full year till next summer. -2014
Wow…just came back from MVR and what a wonderful time. My son and I have been coming here for our annual summer fishing trip for 4 years. The gourmet cuisine, warm hospitality and exciting fishing keeps us coming back. My son is an avid fly fisherman, and even started tying his own flies…and MVR is the place that got him started. -2014
It is a beautiful day here, and I KNOW that it is gorgeous – rain or shine – in Montana. We are thinking about you!
Our week there – which we looked forward to for a whole year – was full of fun, joy, friendship, beauty, fabulous food and every other good thing you can possibly imagine. You know how much we love you all and being there. It was another perfect week in every way – you and the experience never disappoint. Every day on the river is so replenishing in every way. We were so happy to be back in our little home there at the ranch, to be with you and Scott and all the crew – you make it way too hard to leave. As always, it was so good to meet new people and get to know them over the week – you do have the nicest guests!!
The food this year was amazing – it always is, but seemed even more exciting with the wild boar and the bison dinners. Sorry I just couldn’t get exciting enough for the rattlesnake sausage, but that was quite an addition.
Lots of hugs to you and Scott – along with our great gratitude for all you do to make such a perfect week for us.
We love you!
Neal Morgan, Rome, GA 2013
The real truth as to my late response was that I was at a total loss for words to express my thoughts and memories on the marvelous and fantastic time that I experienced during my four days at the Ranch. My fly fishing vacation without question surpassed all of my expectations and then some. It was first-rate from both the fly fishing float trips on the Madison River straight through to the high-quality and incomparable personal service and attention at the ranch.
Again thank you so very much,
Larry Jeffery, Cary, NC 2013
We really enjoyed coming back to Madison Valley Ranch. You make the experience so special with your gracious hospitality and constant, uplifting fun and humor. We will look forward to a return to your “little piece of heaven” in the future. Take care of all those millions of beautiful trout so we can catch them when we return. Have a great fall and wonderful Christmas/New Year! Hope you don’t freeze in the Montana winter.
Cliff Perry Jr., Winston-Salem, NC 2013
We can’t thank you, Scott and the crew, enough for your enormous hospitality. The operation there is seriously everything we could’ve expected, and hopefully we have the chance to visit y’all again. Of course the fishing was amazing, but the service, ranch, rooms, and food were unbelievable. What a great time!
Trey & Rachel Rigby, 2013
My father and I had the trip of a lifetime and can’t thank you enough for maintaining such a great operation. My dad can’t stop talking about the adventure and I just hope I don’t have to wait another 6+ years until my next visit.
Thanks again for a wonderful time! Please give my best to Chris, Gunnar, Scott and Dan. I am already looking forward to my next visit!
William Mitchell, Beaufort, SC 2013
You’re the best! Thank you for the warm hospitality while visiting Madison Valley Ranch. We all had a wonderful time all the way around; you guys don’t miss any details. We’ve already been talking about when we can return.
Abigail Landt, Atlanta, GA 2013
The Montana trip was far beyond my fun expectations. The lodge where we stayed was first rate. The Chef was trained at the Culinary Arts School in Napa Valley. We ate beef tenderloin, scallops, Dijon pork tenderloin, roasted duck, lamb, and the list goes on. Every dinner was a five course meal. Desserts were to die for! Scott, the Chef, made a special cake for my birthday. Have you noticed I’m mentioning the food first? :) All the wine and beer you wanted–like the Halls are big drinkers. But it was nice to have someone bring you a glass of wine to your room after a hard day of fishing on the river.
Would never have guessed that I’d love fly fishing. Jim has been after me for a couple years to try it. Being stubborn, I said no. Plus, I didn’t want him to teach me. Our fishing guide, Chris, is a saint. Such a good teacher and very patient–even when I hit him with a fish that I hooked a “little” strong and it flew into the boat and hit him in the head. Oops! The report is, I caught more fish than Jim, but he caught the largest fish. I now have a whole new vocabulary–fishing terms. AND, I fell in love with the Madison River in Montana. It is truly beautiful. There is no secret why it’s call “Big Sky Country.” And yes, I would go back in a heartbeat.
For those who have never fished, it’s the most peaceful sport I know. And obviously, very different from any thing I do on a daily basis. Trout fishing has an extra bonus. Trout are only found in beautiful places. :)
Jim & Rugena Hall, Topeka, Kansas 2012
Hi Everyone at MVR,
I want to thank each of you for another epic stay. David and I both agreed it was our best trip ever, and could have only been better if the girls were with us. Scott, we didn’t get to visit much, but you and your staff were fantastic, and my son expects all of his meals to be like yours. Thanks a lot! Elizabeth, David was truly touched by your warmth and hospitality. And there is no doubt, that when I come to the ranch, I don’t feel like I’m at a fishing resort, I feel like I’m home.
Jack was with us the entire time, steering fish towards our flies, and keeping us honest. And Brandon, what can I say? So great to be on the water with you, your patience with the next generation was exemplary. Let’s fish again soon, my friend. I’ll send some photos of the house soon. Stay cool, you’re all awesome, and it is a privilege to be your friend.
Ken Jacobsen, Woodenville, WA 2012
First, thank you for your very kind email of the other day. Second, it has been tough adjusting to the normal work routine after our visit to Madison Valley Ranch! Ugh! I’d rather be where you guys are now!
We all had an absolutely wonderful time thanks to you, Scott, the guides and your staff. On the Friday before we left, we were at Gravel Bar and I asked my son Philip if he had fun on the trip. He looked at me strangely and said, “Dad, what kind of stupid question is that? Of course I did! Best trip ever.”
I must say we are not an easy group to please either.
I spoke to Dan of Gage Outdoors. In a nutshell, I simply told him that you and the ranch get an A++; end of story. I would recommend your ranch to anyone without hesitation and I told Dan exactly that.
Elizabeth, you and Scott have some new friends in Chicago. Please do not hesitate to contact us any time you are in town or nearby or if we can help out in any way at all.
We look forward to our next visit to Madison Valley Ranch…only if you and Scott are still there.
Yours very truly,
Alan Lazzara, Chicago, IL 2012
Good Morning Elizabeth,
This past August, I visited the ranch with the Cabelas Signature Outdoor Adventures for a few days. I just wanted to write and tell you what a great time I had at the ranch. The accommodations were fantastic. I really enjoyed the wonderful breakfast and dinner that was served each day. It took a while to adjust being back home after the trip and eating pop tarts and oatmeal; I had gotten used to having a breakfast buffet waiting for me each day. Prior to coming to the ranch, I had never fished fly fished before. The lessons given on the first day and the help from our guide, Bill, were greatly appreciated. Floating down the Madison was spectacular, and it’s safe to say that I have the trout fishing bug now. All in all, it the trip of a lifetime, and hopefully I can make it back in the future.
Thanks again for everything,
James Mooney, 2012
As always, we left Madison Valley Ranch with aching hearts – it gets harder to leave every time. I am SO hoping it all works out for us to come back next year – 2 years seems like forever. That may have been the fastest week in history – it felt like it was over in a blink. I know I’ve said this a hundred times, but it is home to us there – not just a fabulous place to visit but a place in our hearts. We are always thinking about and missing you all when we’re not there. You and Scott, Dave and Shad are family to us, and we just love being with all of you. We continue to brag about Scott’s creations – I don’t know how he continues to outdo himself every breakfast and dinner. Dave has the patience of Job, and the days on the river with him and Shad are just happy times. And you are the glue that holds it all together. We are constantly amazed at everything you do to draw everybody together and make every day an adventure – what a gift!! We also have said over and over that we meet the most wonderful people there, and this year was no exception.
Thank Derek, Jen, Shelley, Bria and all the other wonderful staff there for us too.
You KNOW we love you and appreciate you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Neal Morgan, Rome, GA 2012
P. S. Thank you too, for arranging the moose sighting!! That was really exciting. I have hoped to see a moose (from a distance) everytime out there – and finally, there they were right next to the ranch!
Thanks for the pictures of our trip last week! It went by so fast, I can’t believe I’m already back in the day to day grind here in Chicago. It was so relaxing there at the ranch but yet very entertaining (partly b/c of the crew I was with). I am having a hard time adjusting to not having breakfast ready for me in the morning – my wife refused to set up a spread like Scott had for us. Thanks again for your hospitality & energetic attitude. You are one in a million! I look forward to getting back there in the near future or someday maybe taking my 3 boys there (maybe in about 20 years!) – will you still be there?
Sean Collins, 2012
We have intended to write since we are back from Montana, and whaddya know – we got crazy, busy and a whole month has slipped by! Now you know why we so look forward to our time at Madison Valley Ranch! It is more than a respite from the day-to-day business of our lives; it is a destination, a comfort, and a feeling of well being that we enjoy in your company, and all of the folks that are a part of the MVR experience.
And, what a fantastic week we had. Although the Madison was not in peak shape, you and your team certainly were – and the fishing, fun, and friendship makes the overall experience a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Clearly there were some highlights:
The 4th of July parade in Ennis and the Rodeo. Yahoo!
· Fishing the Beaverhead and Big Hole (our two best “fishing” days)
· As usual, days on the water with the guides (Chris, Gunnar, and Dave) – and spending the day with Brandon – my ideal kind of guide –more like “buddy fishing”; I welcome spending more time in his drift boat (especially on the Beaverhead)
· Meals: Seriously, Scott really outdid himself – we raved to Beverly about how just when we thought the food couldn’t get any better… and his accommodation of my huckleberry fetish was poetic – and delicious!
· Room: We loved the channel lodge balcony room. We are working on the entire lodge for next year!
· YOU: In truth, so much of MVR is a reflection of your professionalism, and personality. Seriously, you say “it’s not the same without us around”, when in truth, Madison Valley Ranch would not be what it is – namely the best Fly-Fishing Lodge in southwest Montana, without you. Nuff said!
So until next time – enjoy the rest of the season, do something, or go somewhere exotic when you take your next vacation, and best wishes and many, many years of happiness in your new home! We’ll see you on FaceBook.
Tight Lines, Gentle Mends, and All the Best,
Cathy & Mark Baum, Reston, VA 2011
All of us had a fantastic time. We were just sorry we could not have stayed longer. Every aspect of the trip was perfect. MVR really combines a casual and inviting atmosphere with world class fishing and out of this world cuisine. You and Scott are a great team and run a top flight operation. Gunnar and Joe are top flight guides and make every day a lot of fun.
All of us are looking forward to visiting again soon.
Albert Butler, Winston-Salem, NC 2011
Thank you very much for The wonderful time that we had staying with you. Your energy and Scott’s cooking made one piece of our bucket list complete. We enjoyed the fun and laughing that we did at your 5 star Ranch. We hope to be able to meet with again in the future. Thanks for making this a special time for us.
Thanks for the wonderful memories,
Bill Tracy, San Diego, CA 2011
Thank you for your warm and enthusiastic hospitality!
Your patience with all of us and your attention to the details of great customer service were sincerely appreciated.
Fly fishing could not have a better introduction than that provided by you and the Madison Valley Ranch. By the way, Matt, our guide, was an easy partner – patient with a newbie and successful having us catch fish as well!
Thanks for following up with the photos.
I must say that my first impression of Montana is beyond words. I look forward to returning and would love to bring my wife.
George K. San Jose, CA 2011
PS. My compliments to the Chef!
I just wanted to drop you a line to say Thank You for a memorable vacation. I am still getting back into the swing of things back home but wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your efforts starting with our first contact early January to schedule the trip, answering my many emails with honest and detailed responses and the coordination once we made it to the lodge. There were no surprises and the trip couldn’t have gone better. Thank you
As friends and family have been asking how the vacation went I find myself telling them the same things:
· It was everything that I expected and more; certainly the best vacation that I have been on in a while.
· Totally relaxed!
· The fishing was great, the guides made you feel comfortable and we had a blast on the river.
· The Lodge accommodations were awesome.
· The Lodge felt like being at your own home, very comfortable and friendly, the dinners with the other guests were especially enjoyable as everyone liked to talk fishing!
· The food was great; breakfast lunch and especially our four course dinners! Always something different.
· Montana scenery is beautiful.
I think my family summed it up the best when looking at the pictures; “ We haven’t seen you smile that much for a while”. I guess I need to make this trip more often.
Take Care and good luck with the rest of the season.
Vince Kokal, Chesterfield, VA 2011
I have to say I really didn’t know what I was getting into by going on this trip. Being at the Madison Valley Ranch with your unbelievable hospitality, amazing food and very nice and enthusiastic guests that had the opportunity to share with helped me understand what the sport of fly fishing was all about. I truly learned a ton more that I had ever dreamed of and now understand what all the fuss is about being able to just fly fish in general, much less in a special place like Montana.
Also, Brian and his guide team were so good. They were all so patient with us and coached and encouraged us every step of the way. You and I know we couldn’t have had such a special trip without them. Hey, we even landed the BIG ONE. I suppose that was a VERY BIG case of beginners luck! If you could have seen Brian’s eyes when he spotted the fish in the river after I had it on the hook for a while, it was something I’ll always remember. He got so excited! Hoopin and hollarin. (is that a southern term? ?) He was going wild. After several days of hooking and losing so many fish not really knowing what I was doing, one thing I’ll also never forget was while I was starting to get the fish close to the boat, Brian looked at me and said “You better not lose that one! He was so excited, it was like he caught the fish himself.
Elizabeth, not having experienced any other fly fishing lodges or trips, I would suspect that you have to have one of the finest facilities for this around. You go to such great lengths to make sure every detail is taken care of and believe me it does not go unnoticed. It adds so much to the total package.
Thank you again for a great and memorable trip. Nothing but the best to you, Scott, and Brian in the future.
Eric Seigel, AL 2010
I’m thinking about you sitting at your computer looking out at your glorious view, which I’m picturing as I write. I’m also thinking about whatever VERY fortunate people are out there right now enjoying the river and indulging in Scott’s fantastic food – we are envious of anybody who is there in our favorite place doing our favorite things.
As I told you, whenever you love a place, there is always a fear that you’ll be disappointed when you go back. Well, not with Madison Valley Ranch – you just manage to make it absolutely fabulously fantastic every time. I would say this was our best time, but you can’t get better than best, and that’s what every trip there has been – I couldn’t pick a favorite year. As I’ve said before, it is just like coming home for all of us when we are there; we look so forward to being there, love every second we are there and hate to leave more than I can tell you.
We had a great time meeting all the new people this year – what an amazing group we always find at MVR! As always, being with you, Scott, Dave and Shad is the biggest part of what we look forward to and love about being there – you are each blessings to us!
Mainly, I want to thank you for everything you and Scott do to make Madison Valley Ranch a little bit of heaven and a place we think about all the time and can’t wait to return to. We MISS you, Scott, Dave and Shad greatly.
Lots of love – Neal
P. S. And – thank Derek, Danielle, Shelley and Tori for all they do to make everything perfect too – what a wonderful staff!
Neal Morgan, Rome, GA 2010
My wife and I stayed at the Madison Valley Ranch (MVR) from July 29-August 3rd, 2010.
I had grown up fly fishing, but hadn’t done it in 15 years. My wife had never been fly fishing, but wanted to try it… so I felt like I had one chance to do it right, and hopefully get her hooked on fly fishing too! I checked around on the internet and made some phone calls.
1. phenomenal fishing
2. beautiful scenery
3. gourmet food
4. not roughing it
5. easy place for my wife to get some fly fishing lessons
From the get go, Elizabeth Warren, the ranch manager at MVR, was far and away the most responsive, helpful, and punctual of the many emails I sent out. She’s so friendly and enthusiastic, and even more so in person.
Several things set this lodge apart from the others:
1. it has its own 2 acre casting pond which is stocked with a British Columbian strain of rainbows that’s perfect for learning to flycast. On arrival, Elizabeth greeted us and helped us with our luggage. After about 15 minutes, Elizabeth met us at the pond and gave my wife her first fly casting lesson and my reintroduction lesson. The lodge is an Orvis endorsed lodge, and has many nice Orvis rods and reels that are “house rods” which are free to use for all lodge guests on the pond or for daily fishing. There’s also a whole section for leaders, flies, etc. that guests can register on the lodge’s log to sign out.
2. There’s fantastic fishing in the Madison River for experts and beginners alike. We had planned on guided fishing 3 days with one rest day. My wife enjoyed it so much that we decided to fish 4 days straight! I think she’s hooked on flyfishing! We fished several stretches of the Madison River by drift boat with several guides (Chris Connor and Rob Kessler were awesome guides). We caught many brown and rainbow trout, with some in the 18-20 inch range. It was a blast. We fished nymphs, streamers, and dry flies. Most importantly, my wife absolutely loved it — and it was her first time!
Although we didn’t have time to try it, there’s also fantastic fishing in Jack’s creek and the Channels section of the Madison River, both of which are on the lodge’s premises. I walked down the short path from the lodge to the Channels section on my last day and was really bummed I didn’t have time to fish it. Incredibly beautiful and the waters looked ideal for fishing.
You don’t need any equipment. We brought our own waders, but they have Orvis waders at the lodge for your use too. We used the house rods or rods provided by the guides, all of which were top notch quality.
3. THE FOOD IS INCREDIBLE
So Scott is the chef at MVR. He’s the real deal. Graduated culinary school in the Pacific Northwest with graduate training at the Culinary Inst. of America in Napa Valley (Greystone). Scott makes breakfast daily with some of the best pancakes and French toast I’ve ever had. His eggs benedict is great too.
But, the real highlights are the appetizers and dinners. Appetizers are served daily at 6:45 pm. Over our 5 nights, some appetizer highlights included: spicy bison meatballs, shrimp nachos with fresh guacomole and pico de gallo, chicken quesadillas, teriyaki beef skewers,etc. Scott’s dinners are incredible. Non fatty, non-fried. Healthy and incredibly tasty meals that highlight local farm raised meats. Daily four course dinners with a salad, soup or small plate, main entree, and dessert. Highlights from our stay included: stuffed pheasant, local farm raised bison tenderloin, dijon herb crusted pork tenderloin, local cornmeal crusted rainbow trout, housemade duck confit salad, red pepper and roasted garlic soup, crab and shrimp cakes, molasses ginger cake, and probably the best bread pudding I’ve ever had.
My wife has some dietary restrictions (lactose intolerant) and Scott was always on top of this.
There’s always wine (CA zinfandel, CA cabernet, CA sauv blanc, Argentine Malbec, CA Chardonnay) and local microbrew beer available for you at the lodge. There’s also several fridges stocked with Perrier, Pellegrino, bottled water, cokes, diet drinks, etc. Wine, beer, all the food, and soft drinks are all included in your stay (free of additional charges).
4. The company. Wow. Didn’t think of this or expect it. The lodge is small, catering to up to around 20 guests. During our stay occupancy was from 7-18. Dinners and appetizers are communal in the dining room. Everyone we met was incredibly nice and conversation super easy. Another example of the above and beyond of this lodge are the many “house digital cameras”. Elizabeth encourages you to take one while fishing. When you return she downloads the images, prints up the fish pics and then has them ready for appetizers which leads to some great conversation. I used my own camera, as many others did, and she still did the same for us.
5. The Service. We’ve been to some pretty high end hotels around the country and international. Elizabeth and Scott are among the best hosts we’ve ever had. The vibe here is relaxed, convivial, and fun. NOT stuffy or high brow. BUT all of your needs or requests are promptly attended to. The vast majority of those staying here were all repeat guests, some of whom have been coming for 15 years.
I’ve written a lot. I’ve been a Trip Advisor user for at least 5 years, but mainly just a reader. We just wanted to make sure others who were looking for a fly fishing experience in Montana know how great MVR is. This is quite honestly one of the best vacations we’ve ever had! If you’re a foodie and a fisherman, this is heaven on Earth.
Steven Wang, San Franscio, CA 2010
My dad took my brothers and me on a fishing trip to Montana’s Madison Valley. We stayed at the Madison Valley Ranch, and quite honestly, it’s one of the most beautiful hotels/motels/lodges I’ve ever stayed in.
The Ranch’s hostess, Elizabeth, is an Energizer bunny. The moment we stepped out of our cars on arrival, she rushed out from the main lodge to greet us and introduce us to the chef, Scott, who doubles as her husband, and other guests. She offered us drinks (of which there is a limitless supply, on the house) as she took us on a brief tour of the Ranch. She was extremely helpful throughout our stay, ready to offer tourism tips, drinks, and conversation.
As for her husband and chef, Scott could hang in any big-city restaurant. He has total creative control at the Ranch, and he comes up with delicious four-course meals, usually sourced from local farms and gardens. Artful presentations and reasonable portions. It’s communal dining, so there is always great, lively conversation to be had with other guests.
The lodges themselves are decorated in tasteful modern-Western-cowboy chic. The furnishings and fixtures are all of top-notch quality, and the common areas are capacious and feature DirecTV (essential for fans of the NFL!) and wireless Internet for those who don’t feel like unplugging completely.
The Ranch also hires excellent fishing guides. It was my first time fly-fishing, so I was a touch nervous. The guides, however, love teaching newbies. I caught seven or eight fish on my first day, and by the third day, I was catching 16-inch rainbow trout and 18-inch whitefish. The guides bring lunches from a local deli, and provide transportation to and from the Ranch.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a second stay at the MVR.
Steve Gartland, Chicago, IL 2010
I want to mention again what a terrific experience we had at your lodge. You and Scott made us feel as though we were friends that frequented your place, although it was our first time there. The food was outstanding and accommodations were very comfortable. I look forward to visiting again in the future. Keep up the good work.
Ed R., Argyle, Texas, 2010
My husband, parents and I just completed our third stay at Madison Valley Ranch in Ennis, MT. I’m not sure if this is the right place for comments or not but I thought I would start here. I do not have enough time or space to list all of the things we love about Madison Valley Ranch. Each time we stay is better than the last and Scott and Elizabeth Warren have a true gift for making every day special while you are there. The accommodations are comfortable and clean and make you feel right at home. Elizabeth always asks for suggestions while you are there and this year when we returned Elizabeth showed us that suggestions we made two years ago had been taken to heart and implemented! Not only was it impressive that she remembered what we had talked about, but she had valued our input and was happy to show us that she had made changes she knew we would enjoy. What a hostess!! Each day when you arrive back from fishing Elizabeth is right there at the front door with enthusiastic greetings and requests or “big fish” stories! She is as excited as anyone else over great stories from the day. She goes rushing off with cameras and by the time everyone meets for appetizers she has printed out pictures from the day that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Scott is an absolute magician in the kitchen. In three years we have never had a single meal that was not 5 star. One year, my husband joked that he’d love to get some pizza and that night for appetizers Scott had made pizza for him! That kind of personal touch is part of what makes Madison Valley Ranch so special. This past year I e-mailed Elizabeth ahead of time to let her know I had converted over to a completely vegan diet. I wanted to let them know that I would only be eating whatever vegetables Scott prepared for everyone else and not to
worry about meat for me. Well, true to form, Scott went above and beyond. At each meal I had vegan entrees and salads that he had taken the time to prepare in addition to the regular meals he was cooking for everyone else. Amazing!! I never knew vegan food could taste so good!
We cannot say enough about this lodge and our positive experiences there. We will continue to visit over and over again.
Elizabeth M., Birmingham, AL 2009
Thank you so much for making our stay at the ranch unforgettable. We have been to a lot of places, but we have rarely felt so welcomed and taken care of. I knew we were going to have a good time, but this trip exceeded all of our expectations.
Elizabeth, your enthusiasm and interest in your guests made our visit so special. Coming home to your smiling face, a cold beer and soon to be published pictures of our fish was absolutely wonderful. Thanks for listening to all of our stories of excitement we had to share every day after an incredible day of fishing.
Scott (and Jeremy), the meals were out of this world. The combinations, the sauces, the fresh ingredients, the variety of meats, the local touches- Ok- I am getting hungry and my mouth is watering just thinking about them. Everything was delicious. I can’t tell you how many people we have told about your specialties.
The accommodations were outstanding. We loved our room and the view and the hot tub was a must to come home to after an amazing day on the Madison with Chris. Getting to meet your dogs was also special to us, as of course we missed our own “little T” at home. Your stories, knowledge of the area, and incredible hospitality all made this a trip we have shared with all of our friends and will always cherish.
We cannot thank you enough for all you did for us to make our stay more than we could have ever expected. We cannot wait to come back! Writing this letter just makes us want to be there!
Julie and Roger, Newport Beach, CA 2009
We had a great time at Madison Valley Ranch. The fishing was superb, the cuisine exceeded expectations and the hospitality was unparalleled. You and your team were there at every turn to assist us as needed. Although novice fly fishermen compared to most of your guests you and your guides treated us as experienced professionals. Thanks so much. We will be returning to fish with you again.
Steve Rull, St. Louis, MO 2009
Our trip to your lodge was just wonderful, as always. Looking back on my numerous photos brings back such happy memories of our great time. I appreciate your friendship and positive energy. The cuisine is always perfect and Scott’s talents are not taken for granted. Chris Knott is a fishing guide from god’s. Such wonderful energy and enthusiasm that makes each day spent with him very special. Thank you for who you are and everything you do.
John Dodge, Boulder, CO 2009
We had an absolutely fabulous time at Madison Valley Ranch. You & Scott are blessed to work in such a sublime setting. Both of you are talented to the extreme & we loved the time we spent with you. Thank you again for an outstanding experience.
Kathie Asmuth, 2009
We had a blast. Thanks so much for your attention to detail and more over your wonderful HOSPITALITY. You guys did an amazing job. We really appreciate all the effort you guys went to.Shannon and I had an amazing time. Have a great rest of the season and we hope to see you soon on our next trip to Montana.
Kevin P. O’Donnell, Atlanta, GA 2009
Our trip to MVR was wonderful! The superlatives are numerous as my son and I had the trip of a lifetime. The maginity of the Rockies; the Madison and Paradise Valleys; the browns, cuts, rainbows, and even the whitties; the ranch and your warm hospitatlity; the culinary delights of Scott and staff; the weather!! You are truly blessed by the natural grandeur and history of Montana. Each of your guests go home to their native states and its beautiful and special topography, plant/animal life, culture and family heritage, but there is something special about Montana! Can’t wait to come back and stand in awe. You, Scott and staff make it all the more special. Gunnar Folsom, our guide, was terrific. He was fun to be with, taught us so much about the rivers and trout fishing, and gave 110% each day as his passion is catching trout! Please extend our best. You were the perfect host and I will always treasure our experience at the MVR.
Henry Dupre, M.D., Ville Platte, LA 2008
Thanks to everyone at the Madison Valley Ranch for making sure Jack and me were well received, well fed, well slaked, and well guided. We had a great time. The kitchen delieved one exceptional meal after another. I do believe you’ll see us again.
Don & Jack Patton, New Albany, OH. 2008
Tra and I have fished together since 1995 at least once a year for a week and several years a couple or more times. That was of course BC. I do not mean before Christ, I mean before children. We have been blessed to fish in some of the very best conditions and destinations. We truly enjoy the fellowship with each other and always appreciate the challenge fishing presents. In all of our trips, I can say without reservation that our experience at the Madison Valley Ranch tops them all. The guides were interesting and fun, the accommodations were excellent, the food was outstanding to say the least, and the table company was so fun, thank you. I saved the best for last because we concluded that this experience is made possible because you two intentionally see that each guests is well attended and made to feel at home, that is no small task and you both are great at it. You each compliment the other and we want to say thanks and hope to see you next year.
John Willbanks Jr., 2008
My family has been coming to the MRV for 10+ years…..It could not be run any better….Elizabeth & Scott, as well as the guides are second to none.
Ira Mendleson, Albany, NY. 2008
I can’t thank you enough for all you did on our recent trip to the Madison Valley Ranch. The trip was absolutely perfect. I learned more and more each day from the two excellent guides, Dave Evans and Brian McGeehan that you arranged for us. The Fishing was fantastic and the food was even better thanks to your husband. I came to MT knowing very little about fly fishing, but thanks to you, your staff and the guides I have come a long way and will be looking forward again to this next year. Your hospitality was phenomenal and you were the perfect host!
Ken Zehnder, Saint Louis, MO. 2008
The accommodations were amazing. The location was perfect. We fished the Madison, Big Hole, McCoy Spring Creak and Milesnicks Spring Creek from a central location where travel never exceeded 1.5 hours. Our hostess was the best and truly made us feel like the lodge was built for us and our happiness was all that mattered. I LOVED this trip!
Spencer Blaker, Havard, MA. 2008
Thank you for giving me and my son-in-laws such a memorable and wonderful experience at the Ranch. Our stay was flawless, you have thought of everything. As for the fishing, it couldn’t have been any better and our numerous pictures prove it. One major highlight was Montana itself and the awesome scenery we were exposed to on the Madison and Yellowstone rivers.
Larry Waters, Virginia Beach, VA. 2007
Speaking as a ‘non-fisher woman’ married to an ‘obsessed Fisherman’, the Madison Valley Ranch is the place to go to satisfy both our needs. He truly had an extraordinary fishing experience. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and inviting the accommodations were. On top of that, I actually felt ‘pampered’ by your hospitality and desire to please our every whim, not to mention Scott’s exquisite culinary delights. I really enjoyed our float trips down the Madison; my husband has the MVR to thank for making me an official convert!
Kim Diehl, Bethlehem, PA. 2007
I enjoyed the first class treatment from Elizabeth, Scott and the fishing guides. I brought customers on this trip and they were new to fly fishing. They remarked that it was the trip of a lifetime.
Joe Schiazzano, Oro Valley, AZ. 2007
Elizabeth is a terrific hostess with warmth, humor, and a clear desire that guests have an exceptional time at the Ranch! The guides were great; the fishing was outstanding again! The food, service, and rooms were terrific’in summary, this was a great trip that my daughter and I will remember for a lifetime!!
Michael Carr, Minnetrista, MN. 2007
“Rarely am I so thrilled with all aspects of a vacation as with my visit to the Madison Valley Ranch. The accommodations, meals and service provided by you (Elizabeth), Scott and the rest of the staff exceeded my expectations! Chris’ expert guidance made the best fishing either of us has ever experienced. The meals prepared by Scott were a genuine unexpected pleasure. I have honestly never seen such pride in both the quality of the food and the presentation. I have traveled to many places across the world. My time at the Madison Valley Ranch will always remain one of the most memorable vacations I’ve ever enjoyed.”
Demetrius Kastros, Monterey, CA. 2007
‘Thank you again for helping to make Kevin’s 50th birthday celebration truly memorable. We had an amazing time at Madison Valley Ranch, the food was incredible… Scott, you are a genius in the culinary department and Elizabeth, you surely know how to make guests feel welcome and at home! The facility was perfect and extremely comfortable. The other guests were so much fun, what a friendly group of people! Mealtime was a treat just listening to all the stories. Fishing was superb! The mighty Madison lived up to its reputation! What a river!!! The guides we had, Charlie and Brandon, were wonderful young men who knew their stuff! Both made our experiences unforgettable.
Thanks again for everything!’
Bend, OR. 2006
‘Thanks again for a wonderful time at the ranch. Every detail was covered ‘ it’s obvious that you guys love what you do! This was my first experience with an ORVIS endorsed lodge, but it’s hard to imagine that anyone could do it better than you guys! Nothing was overlooked.’
Cary, NC. 2006
‘Chris & Gunnar blew away all expectations. I wish time stood still each day on the river as I felt like I was in the company of long time fishing buddies! The entire staff at MVR literally made this trip a dream come true. All expectations were blown away and I couldn’t have dreamt of a more exceptional and hospitable stay. I will return!’
Captain William Mitchell
Swansboro, NC. 2006
‘I was completely blown away with the service, and hospitality shown to our party from the folks at the Madison Valley Ranch. Chris Eaton did an outstanding job guiding and teaching us on the savvy ways of the Madison trout. We all caught lots of fish and had a ball doing so. Elizabeth and Scott are truly amazing. The atmosphere they provide extends well beyond anything we expected. Every fishing trip is really about memories. Our party left with some great moments and stories to share for years to come.’
Forrest E Knowles
Kennesaw, GA. 2006
‘Thank you so much for hosting us at the Ranch in August. I can honestly say that our visit to the Madison Valley Ranch was the finest trout fishing trip I have ever gone on in terms of the fishing, accommodations, food and hospitality.’
‘I just wanted to say thanks for everything. The Madison Valley Ranch made my first fly fishing experience something that I will never forget.’
New Port Ritchey, FL.
‘I enjoyed the people, food, and surroundings during my stay. I look forward to my next trip.’
‘Thanks for another memorable trip. The staff and guides were first rate. Best wishes.’
‘We had a wonderful time at the Ranch. It’s a beautiful place and your management is a class act. Every hour we spent there will be long remembered as some of the best times of our lives.’
Pinnellas Park, FL.
‘After being home for six weeks, Diane and I are still telling our friends about our great stay at the Madison Valley Ranch. The food was 5-star quality, and the friendly,laid back atmosphere created by you and your staff made us feel like old friends.’
Brad & Diane Bischoff
Ft. Collins, CO.
‘Justin and I loved the trip, the lodge and locale are great, smoothly run, relaxing, great food and great guides! I’d come back in a heartbeat.’
‘The lodge is perfect, relaxing and the food was out of this world. We really had a good time with all the guides. At this point it’s not if we will come back, but rather when we can get back.’
‘I had a wonderful time at the Madison Valley Ranch. It was my first time fly fishing and I had a fantastic experience. Thank you Scott for the delicious food. I wish you would come to my house so I could have meals like that everyday. The guides were very kind to us. Thank you again and hope to come back next year.’
11 years old
‘Debbie, Katie and myself had a great time with you all this past week. We wanted to thank you and the rest of the crew for all the hospitality. You guys run a good ship. ‘
Carl, Debbie & Katie Hansen
Ft. Collins, CO.
‘Greetings from Tennessee! We have enjoyed re-living and talking about our trip toe the Madison Valley Ranch. We had a wonderful time and the memories we made will be enjoyed and embellished for many years. ‘
Johnson City, TN.
‘This was our groups (6 men) 11th trip to special lodges to catch trout. This trip was as good as trout fishing gets. Chris Eaton is willing to do anything to see that his guests have a great trip.
Madison Valley Ranch gets 6 thumbs up.’
‘In my opinion this was the best trip my group has ever had in our 10 years of going on trips that Frontiers has organized. The combination of the very comfortable lodge, knowledgeable guides, unbelievable meals and the great fishing put the Madison Valley Ranch at the top of my list.’
W. Lee Thurston
‘I felt you and your staff did an excellent job in providing a top flight fishing experience. The food was great and the facilities were clean and ample. The guides were as good as any I have seen, and the Madison River surpassed my expectations.’
‘Thank you for making my first trip to Montana an unforgettable experience. The fishing, accommodations, staff, guides and Madison River was an excellent experience. See you next year.’
‘I just can’t say how much I enjoyed my visit to the Madison Valley Ranch a few weeks ago. This was my first trip out west and I’m sure that my excitement over catching the 22”brown on the first day showed. The accommodations and the food were great. For my money, I think everything at the Madison Valley Ranch is perfect. Don’t change a thing.’
“This was the first time either of us had fished a stream like the Madison. Our first day we set a boat record for daily doubles, the second we nymphed up some big browns. I cannot imagine finding trout fishing like that again. Finally, a stay in a place like the ranch is always enhanced when you note the place is well run, the beer is cold, meals were on time, grounds were clean and rooms were superb.”
Wayzata, MN. July, 2001
“I was not quite sure that all of my expectations for a Montana Fishing trip were realistic. As it turns out, the trip that I had dreamed about for months exceeded those expectations. I will highly recommend the Madison Valley Ranch to anyone seeking a memorable fishing experience.”
Johnson City, TN. June, 2001
“What truly made our trip was the quality of the guide service and the lodge experience.”
Brookline, MA. Oct. 2001
“The fishing and hospitality experience that our 12 friends and business associates enjoyed this past 5 days was by all measures, the best we have had since I started these endeavors 14 years ago. Your guides were terrific and the food was outstanding.”
Charlotte, NC. July 2001
“I had a wonderful time last week at the “Ranch”. Food, fishing, lodge, everything was great. Even the weather with all four seasons in one day was enjoyable. I am looking forward to my next visit.”
Omaha, NE. Sept. 2001
“What an experience!! The whole package, food, lodging and guiding. I can’t imagine it being any better than what you have. It was a pleasure to be a part of it for a week. If the opportunity ever presents itself again, believe me I will be there without hesitation.”
Plymouth, MN. Sept. 2000
“Our 4th memorable year returning to the Madison Valley Ranch to fish with you is now history in our photo album. We have fond memories of all our floats down the rivers, the laughs, the lodging and of course the thrill of catching some really big trout. I am sure we will continue to return to the Madison Valley Ranch- what better could we want as it’s like coming home.”
Diane Farley & Jim MacNamara
East Haven, CT. August 2000
” You run a first rate operation, one that I would strongly recommend to anyone who wants to experience the Madison’s outstanding angling opportunities.”
Charles F. Gauvin
Arlington, VA. 1998
“Thank you for an overall excellent experience at the Madison Valley Ranch. Guest comments have all been very positive. Your guide staff was professional, informative and fun. We enjoyed your friendly interactive chefs and the selection of fresh food they prepared. Accommodations were all very clean and comfortable. Your operation definitely meets all criteria for qualifying as a Bob Marriott’s Endorsed Destination.”
Bob Marriott’s Travel Center June 2000
“I am writing to thank you and your staff for a wonderful experience at the Madison Valley Ranch! This was a perfect setting for our first trip and were treated to the best fishing and accommodations possible.’
Brian Crock DDS
Newark, OH. August 2000