Our Rivers

Upper Madison River Fishing in July

Upper Madison River Fly Fishing in July

The upper stretches of the Madison River offer some of the most prolific and rewarding fly fishing in the American West. Anglers from across the globe travel to Montana in July to test their skills against the Madison River’s selective, wild rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout.

Both insect and fish activity peak in midsummer.

As the river drops and clears throughout the month, fishing becomes productive throughout the river on the banks, near mid-river boulders, and through the shallow riffles that hold hundreds of feeding trout.

Upper Madison River Fly Fishing Hatches During July

The Madison sees major hatches of caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies during the summer months. Salmonflies are still abundant above Pailsades Fishing Access Site all the way into the headwaters in Yellowstone National Park throughout July.

Evening caddis activity and pale morning dun (PMD) spinner falls bring slow-rising trout to the surface.

Terrestrial insects like grasshoppers, ants, and beetles start falling into the river and become more important as hatches start to taper off in late July.

Bozeman Fly Fishing Guide Pro-Tip:

July offers some of the best fly fishing on the Madison River. Get out early and swing small streamers to target larger brown trout. As the day warms, typically around 12 pm, salmonflies become more active and tumble into the river. When you see this, tie on a #6 Henrys Fork Salmonfly with a small PMD nymph or caddis emerger about 1-2 feet below. Target shallow riffles and seams where currents converge.

July Fly Fishing Techniques for the Upper Madison River

Dry fly fishing is the mainstay on the upper Madison throughout July. Stealth and accurate casts are key as the river begins to clear and drop in flow. Catching these fish on top requires drag-free drifts with flies that match the sizes and colors of the most active insects.

Nymph fishing with weighted flies and strike indicators is also effective, especially in early July when the salmonflies, golden stones, and yellow sallies are most active.

Dry-droppers are the go-to rigs for experienced Madison River fly fishing guides during stonefly hatches. This setup allows you to fish a dry fly and a nymph simultaneously and cover multiple parts of the water column.

Our Upper Madison River Fly Box for July

Upper Madison River Fly Fishing Trips in July

Fins and Feathers Guide Service offers guided full-day float trips on the Upper Madison tailored to the seasons and insect hatches. Our Montana fishing guides have over 20 years of experience guiding the Madison River and work hard to put you onto the river's biggest trout.

July is prime season for both floating and wading the river. Anglers who prefer wading will enjoy fishing with our guides between Ennis and Ennis Lake in late July.

Learn more about planning a Madison River fly fishing trip with Fins and Feathers' expert guides. Use our Contact Form for help with planning your Montana fly fishing tour that includes the Madison River. Reservation can be secured online, requested via e-mail, or call us at 1-406-468-5019.