Madison River Fishing Report 3/19/18


MFG guide Jeff Welke and angler Mike W., who took advantage of our Spring Special, had some solid fly fishing on the Madison River this weekend.

About a dozen fish made it to the net, primarily on nymphs. Most productive were larger copper & brown zirdle bug flies trialed by hot head nymphs. Various squalls made any dry fly fishing tough, but a lot of midges were out. Fishing was consistent throughout the day, but early starts certainly aren’t necessary.

Weather was cool and overcast with small squalls coming through. Temperature were in the 40s, so basically good early season conditions.

No biggies on the day, but who’s going to shrug at several cookie cutters, a 16″ Rainbows and an 18″ Brown? All aboard couldn’t have been happier, plus Mike got a jump on some early season fishing and saved a few bucks with the Spring Special.

Madison River fishing Season Changed

Madison River fishing Season Changed

The Madison River fishing season is now open year-round, thanks to a recent ruling from the Montana Fish Wildlife and Commission. Formerly three sections of the river were closed to fishing between the end of February until late May.  On why the change Fisheries Chief Bruce Rich stated, “What we’re trying to do is clean up some of that so it’s not as complex and people don’t have to worry so much about what the regulations are” – Which gets a big thumbs up from Montana Fly Fishing Guides, and the general public as well.

Along with the ruling Livingston based FWP Commissioner Dan Vermillion proposed an artificials only throughout lower sections of the Madison – another applaudable decision that was accepted. Details on the new Madison River Fishing Season regulations can be found at the Montana FWP Website.

About the Madison River

The Madison River originates in Yellowstone National Park and flows nearly 150 miles before joining the headwaters of the Missouri river. The Madison river fishing is divided into the upper stretch and lower stretch each of which seems to be completely different waters. Both the Upper Madison and Lower Madison are some of Montana’s premier wild trout rivers and it has been classified as a “Blue Ribbon” trout stream. Every foot of the river is capable of producing rainbow and brown trout eager to rise to a dry fly, grab a drifting nymph or a swinging streamer.

The Upper Madison river fishing has been nicknamed the “50 Mile Riffle” due to its fast flowing but the relatively shallow and boulder-strewn bottom. The float fishing is recommended as the casual wader might find out what wading on greased bowling balls might be like. In addition to great fishing, a float trip offers anglers spectacular views throughout the Valley. Whether you are a novice or advanced angler, our guided float trips are simply a very enjoyable way to fish the river.

Montana Fly Fishing Guides, LLC. offers fly fishing trips on the Madison River, for more information visit our Madison River Fishing Trips page.

Madison River Winter Fishing Report

Madison River Winter Fishing Report


Our good friend and fellow Montana fly fishing guide Andy Watson were able to sneak out one last time before the beginning of the New Year and get in some wintertime fishing on the Upper Madison.  He was able to get out during some of the more mild winter weather we’ve had and made the most of it.  The water temperatures as you can imagine were frigid, but the fish were active.  All told he landed about 20 fish with ranging from 14 to 19 inches, oh and he did it in about 3 hours.  That’ll warm you up on a cold Montana day!

If you missed our recent Montana Fly Fishing in Winter Article make sure to check it out.

Not much of a hatch, but a few midges were apparently moving around on the river bottom.

Weather & Water Conditions:
The weather was in the low 40s with overcast skies and a light and variable breeze or in other words PERFECT winter fishing weather.  The water temperatures were in the low 30s, pretty standard for this time of year on the Upper Madison River.

Best Technique:
Nymphing all the way!  Small indicators fished in the slower water and along steam lines was most effective.

Best Bugs:
Tiny was the key word here, sizes 18 – 20.  Brassies, Zebra Midges, Miracle Midges and the like.