Madison River Fishing Report – Spring Is Officially Here

Dry Flies, Streamers, and Nymphs OH MY!

We’ve said it time and time again. Madison river fishing¬†in spring just hits different. Warm weather brings rising water temps that force trout into a feeding frenzy. Pre runoff brings low flows and clean water making fish pod up while enabling them to see their food. This provides ample opportunity for doubles and catching multiple fish out of a hole. The saying stays true especially during this time of year, do not leave fish to find fish. This is a great time of the year to be selective. Study a hole or a pod of fish. Figure out where the largest fish of the pod is working. Make your first cast your best cast and target a specific fish. This is a great way to become a more technical angler and improve your fly fishing skills. Especially if you plan on taking any adventure angling trips such as Belize or New Zealand.


Throwing streamer’s is by far my favorite way to fish in springtime. A lot of people hype up fall to be the best streamer season in Montana yet I disagree. As far as Madison river fishing is concerned, spring brings the most consistently active fish. A major factor to look at when chucking meat in spring is the water temp. Once the water temp is over 48 degrees it is game on. Try varying your retrieves starting off slow. It is important to not that while these fish are looking for a big meal, they just spent an entire winter barely moving. Stripping streamers fast can deter fish from wanting to make the effort to eat your fly. Just like trout, sculpin spent the better part of the winter in a sluggish state. Fish will be looking for sculpin moving around the banks scavenging for food. Throwing a sculpin pattern at the bank and slowly working it off is a great way to target predatory fish. As always with streamer fishing, the most important thing is to keep on chuckin. If you’re persistent you will eventually get your fly in front of the right fish.

Don’t Tread on Redd

The Rainbow spawn is a major part in why Madison river fishing is so good in spring. It is of utmost importance to allow this spawn to happen naturally. Be aware of redds in shallow gravely stretches of water. These redds contain thousands of precious eggs that are the future of our fishery. If you are unsure of what a redd looks like they can be easily identified once you know what you’re looking for. They are built up piles of cleaned gravel. Directly behind the redd will be a small trough where rainbows will rest during their spawning cycle. We urge you not to walk over or fish these areas as they incredibly delicate parts of our ecosystem.


Griffiths gnat 18,20; Para BWO 16,18; Shuck BWO 16,18; Purple Haze 18; Olive Haze 16, 18; Indicator Midge 18; Adams 16, 18


Pat's Rubberlegs 8,10,12; Dave's Neo Twenty Incher 10; Silver Lightning Bug 16; Wonder Nymph 16, 18; Prince Nymph 14, 16; Flashback PheasantTail 14,16,18; Hurless Stone 8,10; Stonefly Candy 8,10; Zebra Midge 18,20


Sculpzilla; Sculpzilla Jr; Sex Dungeon; Sparkle Minnow; Butt Monkey; Boogieman; Screamer; Dolly Lama; Conehead Sculpin

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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