Early morning outings provide solitude and reliable fishing opportunities throughout July and August on the lower Madison. The fish activity noticeably slows down by late morning, so sunrise outings are optimal.
However, there are better options around the region. The Yellowstone, Gallatin, upper Madison, and Jefferson are better options than the lower Madison River throughout July and August.
It is worth noting that variable weather can quickly change conditions on the lower Madison River during the summer. Unexpected mild temperatures or early cold fronts in August can make the lower Madison a "sneaky-good" choice when water temperatures dip down into the low 60's.
Long, hot summer days start to adversely affect the lower Madison River stretches between Ennis Lake and Three Forks, Montana by mid-July. The river is closed to fishing between 2 pm and Midnight from July 15 – August 15.
Summer hatches on the lower Madison diminish in July. Caddis and PMDs can still be found, but rising fish activity is typically sparse and limited to the early morning hours.
Nothing embodies Montana fishing in the summertime like hopper fishing. Grasshoppers start to become an important food source for the Madison River fish by mid-July.
The key to angler success on the lower Madison in July is getting on the water early in the day, while the fish are most active.
The Beartrap Canyon offers anglers a chance to fish a variety of water types using both dry fly and nymph setups.
The sections of the river between the Warm Springs and Greycliff boat ramps are ideal for long drifts with Hopper/Dropper rigs.
Fish during the coolest parts of the day, targeting areas closer to the middle of the river. Trout will migrate into centralized areas where the water is cooler. Bear Trap Canyon, between Ennis Dam and Warm Springs FAS, the river is full of deeper areas for trout to hold and you will also avoid most recreational floaters on this stretch because of the whitewater on this stretch.
We have many choices for day trips in the Bozeman area and typically save the lower Madison for days when our guests only have a few hours to be on the water in July. Warm temperatures and busy recreational activity on the water make for less-than-ideal conditions in the afternoons.
Experienced anglers who are willing to start early can find solitude and the large Brown Trout that have made the Madison River such a legend.
Fins and Feathers Guide Service has been outfitting guided fly-fishing trips on the lower Madison for over 23 years. We carefully consider a variety of factors when recommending a Bozeman fly fishing destination for our day trips. The lower Madison River has to be "just right" for us to head that way in July.
Contact Us for more information or to inquire about availability for a guided Montana fly fishing trip on the lower Madison with our expert guides. Reservations can be booked online, via e-mail, or by calling us at 406-468-5019.