Fishing Report for the Madison River from Red Mountain Adventures

Tuesday, 7 Jun, 2016
Water Clarity
Moderately Clear
Angler Traffic
Fish Caught
4-8 fish
Fishing on the Madison River picked up last week as the water levels continued to fall.  Water clarity has been good. The water coming out of Quake lake is a nice steelhead green.   We have been seeing some big chocolate caddis, but not a whole lot has been happening on the surface.  Two days ago we fished Ruby to Varney.  Fishing was spotty but the fish quality was way up there.  We got a 23” rainbow, four browns 18" to 20", and a smattering of 12" to 14".   Admittedly we did go almost 3 hours without a strike.

That was a little hard to take, but when they finally started we had a really good two hours.   Recent wave of hot weather has the immediate future in question.  As a group we are undecided whether this 80-degree weather is going to blow the whole system out again? As of now water levels are starting to creep up again.  Fished yesterday from Lyons bridge to Ruby Creek. The west fork has started showing color again so half the river was green half was greenish brown. Actually caught more fish in the dark side than the clear side, but in general fishing was not great.  Good size but low numbers. We only got seven fish for a 9-mile float, one really nice 20 inch Brown and we went through every fly in the book.  Madison river fish don't like rising water levels.  I think we have one more bump which should last about a week then we should be in for a steady decline and some really good fishing   Tight lines e
Fishing Water Report
The Madison River is arguably one of the best trout fishing rivers in all of southwest Montana, if not the entire world! It’s certainly the most talked over, written up and frequented ... morein the state of Montana – which is considered by some the capital of fly fishing. Anglers will find plenty of great access sites to wade or float along the Madison’s banks and reservoirs (including Hebgen Lake and Ennis Lake). Rainbows, browns, cutthroats, and more abound in this majestic fishing stream.

The Madison begins its course almost twenty miles into Yellowstone National Park. Within the Park, fishing rules apply: no live bait and catch and release only. Once outside the Park the river meanders past working ranches, stately conifer forests and cottonwood lined banks, interrupted by riffles and quiet runs that contain large rainbow and trophy brown trout. Flowing alongside Yellowstone’s West entrance road, the river enters Hebgen Lake, created by Hebgen dam, until it reaches Quake Lake, a bit downstream from the dam. At this point the river is commonly called either the Upper Madison or the Lower Madison, although in fact, they are one and the same.

Upper Madison – Quake Lake to Ennis Lake
Directly below Quake Lake the river roars into 5 long miles of Class V whitewater with steep gradients and large boulders along the way. As the rapids decline, the magic begins. For the next 53 miles, often referred to as the 50 Mile Riffle, the cold river runs north and the fish jump high. Annual runs of spawning trout make their way from Hebgen Lake, rainbows in the spring and browns in the fall. Known the world over for its “hard fighting” trout, it’s not unusual to pull a 25” brown from these upper waters. In deference to the purists and fly-fishing enthusiasts, it’s wading only from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge. Boats may be used to access the river, but if you’re going to fish, your feet must be on the riverbed. Fortunately, the Hebgen Dam releases water throughout the year, leveling its flows and relieving it of spring runoff issues and summer shrinkage.

Lower Madison – Ennis Lakes to Three Forks
A short section of the river between Ennis Dam and the power station maintains relatively low water levels and provides wonderful opportunities for wading. Past the power station the river regains its muscle and for 7 miles winds through Bear Trap Canyon. Hiking trails offer the only entry, great for those that like to walk and seek the solitude of a designated wilderness area. Floating is permitted but requires a lengthy shuttle and the ability to work through Class III-IV whitewater. Once out of the canyon the river flows in shallow riffles until it reaches Three Forks and joins the Missouri. From Warm Springs to Greycliff, the river is easily accessible for drifters and wading.
Reporting Outfitter
Welcome to Southwest Montana's finest fly fishing adventures. Blue ribbon trout water is literally steps away when you visit us in the picturesque town of Ennis, Montana. You may spend ... morethe day on our home river, the world famous Madison or drive to one of our other local rivers such as the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby or the Jefferson. Whether you are a new angler or an old pro we have the expertise and patience to make your time on the water chasing wild trout a success.
Reported Trip
  • 3 days with a guided expert
  • 2 days of perfect wade fishing recipes
  • Expert instruction to take you to the next level
  • Lunch, drinks, and flies during your guided trips
Experience the Madison River Like Never Before Learn the best spots on the Madison River with 5 great fishing days with Red Mountain Adventures. Eric Shores, with over 35 years of ... moreexperiencing guiding on the Madison River will take you down a journey of the best places to fish.

The journey starts on the Upper Madison River on a guided float trip covering about 8-11 miles of premier fly fishing water. The following day includes a recipe (location flies, and technique) on a do it yourself wade location near the fly fishing town of Ennis. The third day moves you on to where the Madison River dumps into Ennis Lake for a full float day stalking the giants. The following day provides instructions again for a do it yourself wade day. Location will depend on the hot locations during your visit. The final day is another full day float day on the lower Madison River. All together, you will experience the Madison River like never before by true expert.

Note: The order or location may change based on where the best spots are at the time.
  • Full-day of professionally guided fly fishing for up to two anglers
  • Lunch, drinks, and snacks
  • Flies and other needed gear
With over 55 combined years of experience fishing the Madison River, we have the deep knowledge needed to guide you down this Blue Ribbon River. Located in Ennis, Montana, one of the ... moretop fly fishing towns in the world, Red Mountain Adventures is conveniently located to help you with your fishing experience. 

Our guided float trips on the Madison River are perfect for:

First time anglers who come here first to get easy, effective, and mindful instruction on fly fishing

Novices to experts who gain from our deep knowledge and instruction on the Madison River

Anglers with particular needs including stalking monsters, increasing the score card, or "dries only"

Book with us today and enjoy the best in Montana fly fishing.
Report Location
Start Access Site
Find out about the latest fishing action with our Madison River Fishing Report
Fishing Water Reports:
3 acres
5,869 ft
Boating, Fishing
Boat Services:
Sanitation & Water:
End Access Site
Find out about the latest conditions with the Madison River Fishing Report.
Fishing Water Reports:
Boating, Fishing, Camping, Picnicking, Hunting, Hiking, Wildlife Viewing
Boat Services:
Primitive Campsite
Picnic Site:
Fire Ring
Sanitation & Water:
Drinking Water, Toilet
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