Upper Madison River Fly Fishing Photos

The legendary upper Madison River is perhaps the most famous blue-ribbon trout fishery in Montana. The “50-mile riffle” is an angler’s fly fishing paradise with countless runs, riffles, and boulders to explore and prospect both while wading or floating.

Madison River fly fishing trips with Fins and Feathers Guide Service have been the foundation of our Montana outfitting business for over two decades. Join our team of Bozeman fly fishing guides for a day of fly fishing in Montana on this world-renowned wild trout river.

Upper Madison River Fly Fishing Trips Photo Gallery



Flyfish Montana on the Upper Madison River

  • Quake Lake's Madison River has a short, rugged canyon where the area below Raynold's Pass holds rainbow and brown trout. Fishing while floating is prohibited, so wade fishing is preferred. Anglers use drift boats or rafts to move between productive areas. Look for rising trout feeding on mayflies and nymphs in deep pockets near boulders.
  • The Madison River below Lyon's Bridge is a wide and shallow river with riffles and glides that provide a perfect habitat for wild rainbows. Reliable fishing options include hoppers, ants, beetles, and attractor patterns during late summer. Blue-winged olives and midges hatches bring out Rainbow and Brown Trout to the surface in spring and fall.
  • Varney Bridge area of the Madison River has fast riffles, slow pools, and runs with deep holes holding big brown trout. Precision nymphing and streamers close to banks catch fish. For experienced anglers, it's a technical challenge in spring and fall. Ennis to Ennis Lake is a paradise for wading anglers. Undercut banks, weed beds, and submerged structures provide opportunities to target wild trout. It's ideal for novice and experienced anglers; floating is not allowed, but drift boats and rafts navigate narrow channels. Fishing is done outside of boats, with high productivity during spring and fall.

Planning Your Trip

  • The Madison River is a year-round Montana trout destination. The peak season is between June and late September; highlights include the Salmonfly hatch in late June, hopper fishing in August, and streamer fly fishing for trophy Brown Trout in September.
  • Expect variable weather conditions throughout the year, with late afternoon thundershowers a constant presence in July and August.

The Upper Madison River is a truly special place. It is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and challenging fly fishing in Montana. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend making a trip to experience it for yourself.

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