Lower Madision River Fishing Gallery

The lower Madison River, winding its way between Ennis Lake and Three Forks, Montana, is a premier destination for fly fishing in Montana. Its waters teem with rainbow trout, Westslope cutthroat trout, and brown trout, offering world-class fishing opportunities amidst stunning scenery.

Experience lower Madison River fishing with the Bozeman fly fishing guides from Fins and Feathers Guide Service. We tailor each day trip around the skills and interests of our guests, welcoming anglers with all skill levels on Montana fly fishing trips for over two decades.


Lower Madison River Fly Fishing Photo Gallery


A Diverse Montana Fishing Destination

  • The Beartrap Canyon: This 9-mile stretch, nestled within the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, is a wild and untamed paradise for experienced anglers. Raging whitewater and limited access make it a challenge, but the rewards are plentiful for those who dare to navigate its rapids. Inflatable rafts are recommended over drift boats for this section.
  • Warm Springs to Black's Ford: After emerging from the canyon, the river widens and mellows, with gentle meanders and mid-river depressions called "buckets" that provide prime trout habitat. This easily accessible section is perfect for quick fly-fishing trips or day-long outings, but be aware of heavy recreational floating in the summer afternoons.
  • Below Black's Ford: The lower Madison continues its meandering journey through a rugged and arid valley until its confluence with the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers to form the Missouri River. While still offering good fishing, the water temperatures here can reach critical levels for trout during the hot summer months.

Planning Your Trip:

  • Fishing Season: The best time to fish the lower Madison is during June and September when the water temperatures are cooler. However, summer can offer excellent dry fly fishing, especially early in the mornings or evenings. Just be aware of the "Hoot Owl" restrictions that limit fishing to between midnight and 2 pm from July 15th to August 15th.
  • Access: Public access points are plentiful along the river, especially in the Warm Springs to Black's Ford section. The Beartrap Canyon is more challenging to reach, requiring a hike or float trip.

Tips for Success:

  • Match your fly patterns to the season and current hatch.
  • Wade cautiously and avoid spooking the fish.
  • Be mindful of other anglers and practice proper river etiquette.

With its varied character, abundant fish populations, and stunning scenery, the lower Madison River is a must-visit for any fly angler.

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