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5 Reasons Why April Might be the Best Month on the Madison River

5 Reasons why April Might be the Best Month on the Madison River



April might just be the perfect month to fly fish the Madison River.  This are coming together and April is the pinnacle of spring fly fishing.   It is the guides favorite month to fish and be on the water.  While we could come up with hundreds or reasons to go fishing in April here are a few to help you call in sick and go fishing on the next nice day.


  1. The nasty winter weather has moderated.     Yes will we still see some winter weather?  Absolutely, but as a general rule spring has sprung.  Temps are warming every day and the push and pull from old man winter that March is so famous for has passed.   As the weather warms so does the fishing.  Good waders and layering are still important.   You will start the day with a windbreaker and might just get to shirt sleeves in the afternoon.
  2. The river is generally low and clear. This is pre runoff fishing and the flow levels are low and clear. In fact, this might be the lowest and cleanest The Madison River will be all season long. Currently flows out of the dam are bare bones.  If you are a drift boat guy get ready to make friends with some rocks you never knew existed.  Its going to be bumpy ride out there.   Also plan your floats accordingly.  Gone are the days of 15 mile floats and being back to town by 5.  Better yet take advantage of our spring guide trip special and let someone else boat take the beating.  You get to fish and keep your boat in museum quality condition for summer.
  3. Rising water temps: All month long the water temps will rise.  The magic number is about 50 degrees.   Once we hit that magic 50 mark and above as highs during the day things change.  The fish go on the feed big time.  Trout in the Madison eat and grow best between 50-60 degrees.  After a long winter of cold water that first few days of above 50 sends shock waves to the fish.  They are loving live, ready to celebrate a new spring and get their feed on.  Watch the water temps this spring and plan accordingly.  With the low flows the temps will rise quickly once we get a few days of sun and overnight lows in the 40’s. Keep your river thermometer handy and use it.
  4. More daylight: If you’re like me and a solar power person the increasing daylight is a god send.  After a Montana Winter of darkness when it starts to stay light longer it just makes us happy.  This euphoria we feel is also felt by the fish.  The Madison River historically fishes best on sunny days and those spring sunny days should not be overlooked.
  5. Spring Hatches: Some of our favorite hatches happen in the spring.  While spring hatches do not bring the fane-fare of things like the Salmon fly they are equally productive.   We start off the month with midges add BWO and skwala stone flies mid-month and end the month with Mothers Day caddis and March browns.   These are the first hatches of the year and the first free meals the trout have seen in 8 months.  In fact, it might be easier to catch a trophy trout this time of year than during some of the more popular summer hatches.  While you will definitely see some other fisherman out during these hatches the traffic river wide will be considerably less than summer fishing.  A little more solitude when you fish dry flies is a bonus.

Fishing Reports and Trips

  • Fishing Reports

  • Want to know the most up-to-date information to find where the fish are biting? The Tackle Shop Fishing Reports provide you with a comprehensive look at current water conditions, recent hatches and flow data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

  • View Reports
  • Float Trips

  • The Tackle Shop offers a range of full-day and half-day float trips in the Madison River Valley area. The trips are all-inclusive and cover files, rods, reels, waders and boots. Leave your worries behind and let us give you the fly fishing trip of a lifetime.

  • View Trips
  • Walk/Wade Trips

  • Enjoy one of our full-day or half-day walk and wade trips for a more immersive, slower-paced fly fishing experience. The Tackle Shop will cater to your individual needs so you are able to take in the sights and sounds of the best waters in Montana.

  • View Trips
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