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June Runoff on Madison River

Big Flows on the Madison River

High Flows on the Madison River

Currently we are seeing the peak of runoff here on the Madison River in Montana.  We have flows of 3870 CFS at the Kirby Ranch.  These are super high and more or less not fishable.  The flows are currently so high that any floating  the river is dangerous.  The two low bridges between Lyons Bridge FAS and Palisades  FAS are not runnable as you can not get under them.  Our Guides are not floating the Madison River right now.  Do not float right now if you are not an expert rower.

When Will Flows Go Down?

This is the million dollar question in the fly shop right now.  With all the rain of last week and the current heat it is driving flows higher. Also Hebgan Dam is at full pool so they need to run water out of the lake.  When will all this madness end and we can get back to enjoying summer fishing?  It will probably be a week.  If we keep getting warm weather to keep the snow pack melting and no downpour of rain and cold this should run it course soon.  Much of the now up high (there is still a bunch) is getting iced up and melt rates will slow way down.  This will drop the flows out of the feeder creeks and drop the river.  In fact the inflow into Hebgan Lake has dropped significantly the last few days.  This is usually the first indication of things slowing down.

Is there anyplace to fish right now?

If you must get out and fish there are a few options.  First would be to wade fish from Reynolds Pass to Lyons Bridge.  The river is much smaller up there and the water color is better.  Also the fish tend to stack up along the banks during high water events so fishing from shore is possible.  If your going to go fish deep stone fly nymphs, worms and dark bodied streamers. Literally the fish will be in the first 6 feet from the bank. Also concentrate on the points of islands as these are places fish will seek out during high water.  If your going to go be careful.  The current is fast, strong and not to be trusted.

When will Salmon Flies hatch on the Madison River?

We are sticking with our date of the last week of June for Salmon fly on the Madison River.  The river will still be very high and probably off colored. The salmon flies will hatch trust us.


Save your dry flies for later.


Rubber leg stone fly nymphs, worms, mega prince, yuk bugs


Any dark bodied or yellow streamer. We like the Screamers during high water.

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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