Thank you for checking out our most recent upper Madison River fishing report. It is our goal to keep this page updated on a regular basis to serve as a resource for those of you planning your visit to Montana. Please refer to the information below consisting of fishing techniques, fly patterns, Madison River flows and the weather in Ennis, Montana. We encourage you to give us a call for more information not detailed in our fishing report.
Winter is still on hold here in the Madison Valley with deep fall conditions as of late. The river is still fishing well during the warmest parts of the day. Nymphs and streamers will get it done for you, but look for small mayflies on calm and overcast days, especially up river.
The weather remains fairly stable with temperatures in the 40s and low 50s predicted for the days ahead. There is quite a bit of cloud cover at the moment and some chance of precipitation. All in all, we couldn't ask for better conditions this late in the year.
Low. Boney. But still just fine for floating and fish health. Bigger boats have a tougher time between Storey and Town compared to rafts. Some ice has been reported below Varney at times. You can expect it to increase as we start to see our overnight lows creep into the 20s for an extended period.
Expect the mayflies to come off well on overcast days, especially when it's calm. A #18 Parachute Adams is about all you need in olive, gray or purple. A little sparkle in the body may help in brighter conditions. Streamer fishing is on using various colors. Olive/white, black/olive, olive and sparse yellow are will work in one form or the other. A slow, twitchy presentation is ideal in the morning but consider speeding it up in the afternoon once the water warms up.
Expect the mayflies to come off well on overcast days, especially when it's calm. A #18 Parachute Adams is about all you need in olive, gray or purple. A little sparkle in the body may help in brighter conditions. Streamer fishing is on using various colors. Olive/white, black/olive, olive and sparse yellow are will work in one form or the other. A slow, twitchy presentation is ideal in the morning but consider speeding it up in the afternoon once the water warms up. Eggs and worms are also on the menu. Spawning brown trout can be found throughout the system right now. Don't over look large girdle bugs either as salmonfly nymphs are quite active this time of the year.
To simplify things, you can expect Madison River trout to eat just about every classic trout pattern ever tied depending on the time of year. Known for prolific stonefly, caddis, mayfly and midge hatches, the trout of the Madison aren't as picky as other rivers. If you get the size and color right, chances are they'll eat it so long as you have the correct presentation. Certainly there are some local secrets, but if you stock up on the basics you should be just fine!
A 5 or 6 WT fly rod is ideal for most fly fishing situations on the Madison River. The Madison Valley can be a breezy place and with such a wide river it can help to have a little extra power in your cast. We tend to prefer fast action fly rods for this reason. Your fly line is arguably more important than your fly rod though. Half size heavy weight forward floating lines are the ideal compliment to a modern fast action rod.
A slow action 3-5 WT certainly has its time and place on this river, especially during the caddis, midge and BWO hatches. 7 WT rods are commonly fished with short sink-tip fly lines and big streamers. They also come in handy during the salmonfly hatch when you're casting a 3" long foam body dry fly.
Breathable waders and sturdy boots are often a necessity during the spring and fall months. Your best soles for traction are felt with carbide tipped studs. Be aware that many Madison River fly fishing guides do not allow studs in their boats. It is rare that waders are required between June 15-September 15. During these months, some lightweight boots or water shoes/sandals are preferred.
Above all else, quality clothing and accessories for all types of weather are essential for staying comfortable during the day. Montana can throw just about any type of weather your way so be prepared with a well thought out layering system to handle the often cold mornings and warm afternoons.