Our Rivers

Lower Madison River Fishing in April

Lower Madison River Fly Fishing in April

April marks the start of spring fishing on the famed Lower Madison River in Montana. This picturesque tailwater, which flows out of the Madison Dam below Ennis Lake, boasts thriving populations of rainbow, brown, and westslope cutthroat trout.

As air and water temperatures rise, anglers enjoy excellent dry fly, nymph, and streamer fishing between Beartrap Canyon and the river’s mouth near Three Forks, Montana.

Lower Madison River Fly Fishing Hatches in April

The Mother's Day caddis begin to appear in late April and continue well into May. This important Southwest Montana hatch gets significant attention from both trout and fly anglers. The first major emergence of the season, this hatch brings fish of all sizes to the surface between Beartrap Canyon and Greycliff Fishing Access Site.

Though less prolific and dramatic, other early season hatches include blue-winged olives (BWOs), midges, and March browns. These can also provide excellent “match the hatch” dry fly fishing opportunities on calm, cloudy days through late April.

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

Lower Madison River Fly 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 Fishing Access Sites.

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

When hatches are sparse, or fish aren’t rising, drift tandem nymph rigs. A crayfish imitation followed by a small mayfly nymph or egg pattern often works. During the late April Mother's Day caddis hatch, use small olive or tan caddis dries and caddis emergers to target 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 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 Fly 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 (BWO) 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. Expert anglers can work on their dry fly skills during the BWO and caddis hatches of April. Novice anglers can work on a variety of fly fishing skills on a float trip downstream of 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.