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Lower Madison River Fishing Report

Date: 04/18/2024
Posted by: Toby Swank

The Madison River fly fishing during the spring months can be some of the best fly fishing in Montana. Close to Bozeman, MT, the lower stretches (Ennis Dam north to Three Forks, MT) is an easy drive to have good angling with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers.

The fly fishing on the Lower Madison River has slowed a bit with some increase in flows causing the water to be a bit off-color for the time being, expect this to clear up in a couple of days and have the fishing return to normal after the fish settle into the change of flows. The forecast for the week is looking cool and wet should bring out some BWOs. Trout are currently feeding on a mix of the patterns hatching and the aquatic insects that are prevalent annually. Sowbugs, scuds, annelids (worms), midges, and Baetis nymphs are all catching fish. Our Bozeman fly fishing guides have found success using olive Micro Mays and olive Zirdles.

The water temperatures reached around 51 degrees Fahrenheit but will drop from cold fronts moving in the week. Target the deeper areas and riffles that the fish move into when the temperatures drop.  It is always a good idea to stop by some fly shops in Bozeman, Montana for the most up-to-date gear and information on your way to the water.

Not much for rising fish the last few days with the bright sun and warm weather but a mix of insects are hatching and the overcast provided this week could entice some rising fish with March Browns, BWOS, and Midges. We are still a couple weeks away from Mother's Day Caddis, they usually appear at the end of the month.

Streamer fishing has been decent and some larger trout are being caught on small flashy bugs and crayfish. Retrieval speed seems to be day-to-day, start slow and progressively start moving your fly faster through the water column if you aren't garnering any attention from the trout.

Lower Madison River Fishing Report Streamflow

Click to enlarge


USGS CFS Data is not available for this date.

Montana fly fishing trips on the lower Madison River with the Bozeman fly fishing guides of Fins and Feathers are terrific experiences for both advanced and novice anglers. We have been guiding anglers fishing the lower Madison River for over two decades.

Early season highlights for the experienced angler fishing near Bozeman include afternoon dry fly fishing and all-day nymph fishing. Don’t miss the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch in late April or the Brown Drake hatch in mid-June.

Novice and first-time anglers do well on the lower Madison River in early summer and fall when fish activity is at its best.

  • $675 for 1 or 2 Anglers Per Guide
  • Float Trips With Wading Opportunities
  • Use of All Fishing Equipment Is Included
  • Single And Multi-Day Trip Bookings Available
  • Meet In Bozeman
  • Book Online or Contact Us To Learn More

Montana Fishing Licenses

A Montana fishing license is required to legally fish in Montana on the Madison River.

Lower Madison River Shuttles

Bob's Shuttles: (406) 595-0587

Lower Madison River Fishing

The lower Madison River has diverse wild-trout habitats from Ennis Lake to Three Forks. Beartrap Canyon has raging whitewater through boulder fields and narrow gorges. The river flows through a rugged valley before joining with the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers. Fish species include Rainbow, Westslope Cutthroat, and Brown Trout. Both novice and advanced anglers can find ample opportunities to fish.

Read the "Lower Madison River Fishing Guide" for a comprehensive introduction to fly fishing in Montana on the lower Madison River from the Bozeman fly fishing guides with Fins and Feathers.