Lower Madison River Fishing in April

April Fishing on Montana's Lower Madison River

April signifies the beginning of the famed spring fishing season on the lower Madison River in Montana. This picturesque tailwater river, which flows out of the Madison Dam, below Ennis Lake, boasts thriving populations of Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

As the water temperature rises with the arrival of spring, it provides an excellent opportunity for dry fly, nymph, and streamer fishing between Beartrap Canyon and the river’s mouth near Three Forks, Montana.

April Hatches on the Lower Madison River

The Mother's Day Caddis hatch begins in late April, continuing well into May. This is an important hatch event in Southwest Montana and is best experienced on the sections of the river between Beartrap Canyon and Grecliffs Fishing Access Site.

The early season hatches of Blue-Winged Olive, Midge, and March Brown provide excellent dry fly fishing opportunities that require "matching the hatch" on calm, cloudy days through late April.

Skwala hatches are common in Beartrap Canyon throughout March and early April, although they are typically sporadic and sparse.

Lower Madison River Fishing Techniques in April

To catch rising trout, use stealthy approaches and accurate casting along river banks and seams. Look for Mayfly and Midge hatches on cloudy days between Warm Springs and Black's Ford FAS.

Use large Skwala imitations trailed with small dropper nymphs in the pocket water of Beartrap Canyon.

When hatches are sparse, drift tandem nymph rigs with a Crayfish imitation, followed by a small Mayfly nymph or egg pattern. During the late April Mother's Day Caddis hatch, use Caddis dries and dry/dropper rigs to catch rising trout.

Bozeman Fly Fishing Guide Pro-Tip:

Rainbow Trout spawn in March and April on the lower Madison, so be mindful of wading over streamed areas with "clean" gravel. Nymph fishing the deeper runs with a variety of egg patterns is effective in April in the Beartrap Canyon. Our guides fish a Pink CDC Baetis Emerger pattern as a dropper behind a Clouser Crayfish, under a strike indicator in early April on sunny days.

Our Lower Madison River Fly Box for April

Lower Madison River Fishing Guide Trips in April

Fins and Feathers offers guided float and wade fishing day trips on the lower Madison River in April that cater to all skill levels. Our experienced guides can help you find slow-rising trout in skinny water during a Blue-Winged Olive hatch. Additionally, the Mother's Day Caddis hatch creates excellent dry fly fishing opportunities.

A Lower Madison River fishing trip with our team of seasoned guides is a great spring option for anglers of all skill levels. Expert anglers can work on their dry fly skills during the BWO and Caddis hatches of April. Novice anglers have opportunities to learn and improve a variety of fly-fishing skills on a float trip downstream of the Beartrap Canyon.

We have been outfitting Montana fly fishing trips on the lower Madison River for over 23 years and our team of guides put much of their focus on this river in April. Use our online contact form to reach out with any inquiries. Secure your reservation online, through e-mail, or by calling us at 1-406-468-5019.