Montana’s Madison is one of the legendary flyfishing rivers in the U.S. and many fly fishermen make a pilgrimage here before they feel they have really fished the west. From Quake Lake to Ennis is the “50 mile riffle” and some more varied water too. This part of the river is probably best known for the giant salmonfly which can produce some spectacular fishing. The “hatch” is in late June and early July but the nymphs are available to the trout year round so an imitation of this food form is a consistent producer. A variety of caddis fly species call the Madison home so from the first hatches in May they can be the key to successful fishing.
Tom Jenni’s Reel Montana holds one of only two permits to run overnight floats on the world famous Madison. If you want to experience this river “away from the crowds” this is a great way to do it….even during the busiest season of late June and early July.
The lower Madison river between Ennis and Three Forks is a Bozeman local favorite. It fishes best early and late, from March through early July and then again in the fall. The edges of the many large weed beds can produce great fishing with blue-winged olives on drizzly days. If you are willing to get up bright and early and be done shortly after the sun hits the water, you can fish right through the summer. There are fewer fish here than in the more famous upper river but your chances of hooking a hog are probably better. The Mother’s Day caddis hatch in late April and early May can be so thick that it looks like fog.