Lower Madison River Fly Fishing Guide

							Montana fishing on the lower Madison River near Bozeman

Lower Madison River Fishing

The lower Madison River has an amazing array of wild-trout habitats and character from Ennis Lake to Three Forks. The Beartrap Canyon, is characterized by whitewater raging through large boulder fields and narrow gorges. After leaving Beartrap Canyon, the river meanders through a rugged and arid valley before joining the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers.

Rainbow, Westslope Cutthroat, and Brown Trout are found in the river throughout its course. Spring hatches and fall streamer fly fishing present the advanced angler with an array of opportunities at the large trout of the river. Novice anglers will appreciate the river for its scenic beauty and variety of Montana fish.

"The team at Fins & Feathers never disappoints! My fourth trip with them and will certainly be back for more. The weather was tough, but they put us on the fish and kept the days exciting! Provided great recommendations for wade fishing on our own as well as a local restaurant for dinner with our group."

- Jordan T.

Sections of the Lower Madison River

							Lower madison river fishing in beartrap canyon

Madison Dam to Warm Springs Fishing Access Site

The Beartrap Canyon section of the lower Madison is located within the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, assuring special protection for the river from development for Montana anglers.

Beartrap Canyon has public access along the river corridor with riverside trials on both sides. Only skilled oarsmen should float this stretch, and inflatable rafts are recommended due to significant whitewater. Ideal for experienced and adventurous anglers, the remote and diverse nature of this Montana river near Bozeman offers a unique experience.

							Lower madison river caddis hatch

Warm Springs to Black’s Ford

The river’s character changes dramatically once it emerges from the Beartrap Canyon, becoming wide and shallow with gentle meanders.

Mid-river depressions - referred to as “buckets” by fly fishing guides - are the prime trout water for the fish in this popular fishing area. Public access along both sides of the river here is abundant, making it a great choice for quick outings and Montana fly fishing day trips near Bozeman.

Open year-round, this section of the Madison River “fishes” best in the spring and fall for both wading or floating anglers.

							Anglers fishing the Madison River on a Fins and Feathers guide trip

Black’s Ford to Greycliff

River use dramatically decreases once it makes a turn to the north, leaving US HWY 84, at the Blacks Ford FAS. Fly fishing this stretch of the lower Madison River is best suited to floating as there is limited public access. Productive holding water is more spaced out than within the sections above Black’s Ford.

Trout populations are lower here, but the average size tends to be larger with Rainbow and Brown Trout being common up to the 18-20 inch range. Although more limited than the sections above Black’s Ford, wade-fishing access is readily available at the well-developed Grecliffs Fishing Access Site.

							Lowe madison river rainbow trout and angler

Greycliff to Headwaters State Park

This 18-mile stretch of the river receives the least use of any stretch of the Madison River and offers an excellent opportunity for solitude. Limited public access points throughout the lower river make floating the most practical method of fly fishing the Madison along this stretch. Limited public access points throughout the lower river make floating the most practical method of fly fishing the Madison along this stretch.

Experienced anglers will appreciate the diversity and abundance of holding water throughout this piece of water. The river meets the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers to form the Missouri River just north of Three Forks, Montana at Headwater State Park.

April Fishing

April starts the spring fishing season on Montana's lower Madison River. The river, flowing below Ennis Lake, has Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Westslope Cutthroat Trout...

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May Fishing

May is ideal for fly fishing in Montana on the lower Madison River. The Mother's Day Caddis hatch peaks in early May, making it the best time for dry fly fishing near Bozeman...

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June Fishing

June is prime time for flyfishing Montana on the lower Madison River. Summer hatches start as spring runoff slows, making it perfect for dry fly fishing during evening hatches...

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July Fishing

Early morning fishing on the lower Madison River in July and August is reliable. However, the hot summer days start affecting the river between Ennis Lake...

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August Fishing

The section between Warm Springs and Greycliffs offers great fishing opportunities for advanced anglers due to low fishing pressure in July and early August...

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September Fishing

In September, fall starts on Montana's lower Madison River. The cool weather revitalizes the river, and Brown Trout start to display their autumn colors...

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							Lower madison river guide trip brown trout

Lower Madison River Guide Trips

Anglers fishing the lower Madison River with our Bozeman fly fishing guides benefit from our two decades of outfitting on the river.

Floating between Warm Springs and Headwaters State Park offers endless variety for both novice and advanced anglers alike. Join us for full or half-day Madison River guide trips to experience this blue-ribbon trout fishery that is only 20 minutes from Bozeman.

Flyfish Montana on a day trip to the lower Madison River with Fins and Feathers Guide Service in Bozeman by booking online, via e-mail, or by calling us at 406-468-5019.

							Lower madison river brown drake dry fly fishing

Lower Madison River Fishing Report

This year-round, blue-ribbon trout fishery is near Bozeman and offers exceptional access to prime runs from Beartrap Canyon to Greycliff. The Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch in late April and fall streamer fishing are just a couple of the seasonal highlights.

Fins & Feathers Guide Service has been outfitting Montana fly fishing trips on the lower Madison River for over two decades. Trust our experienced guides for current angling recommendations and updated river conditions throughout the year.

Montana Fish of the Lower Madison River

Lower Madison River Fly Fishing Blog Articles

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