Madison River Fishing Report – Spring Weather, Low Water and Big Fish

                                               Get Out There

The best Madison River fishing report we can give is to just say “get out there”. The Madison is in peak shape as far as fishing is concerned. Angler’s have had luck on streamers, nymphs, and the occasional dry fly when the wind isn’t blowing. When it comes to sub surface, fish have not been very selective. Pat’s rubberlegs and other stonefly patterns have been the main commodity. However, small mayfly patterns, eggs, worms, prince nymphs and lightning bugs have worked extremely well too. The biggest thing is finding where the trout are holding. Water on the Madison is extremely low right now. Finding a deep pocket in slow water will most likely hold multiple fish. It is not uncommon to hook multiple fish in one hole. If this is your goal then remember to work inside out, casting over fish is a good way to spook out the hole. As far as streamers go, just keep on chuckin. My personal favorite thing to do is to just pick a pattern and stick with it. While other people may continue. to change patterns I fully believe confidence in what you throw is key.

Tough Floating

Although the Madison River is fishing great right now, water is extremely low. If you are in a hard sided drift boat some stretches of water will be almost inaccessible. If you are new to the area a safer floating area will be from Lyons Bridge to McAtee Bridge. The flats are extremely low and you will need to get out and walk parts of it if you decide to fish it. With the ongoing rainbow spawn it is important to watch your step. There will be redds all over the middle of the river in these places. Town access is still closed, so if you find yourself below burnt tree you will have to point her to Valley Garden.

Don’t Tredd On Redd

The Rainbow trout spawn is in peak season right now. In places such as Valley Garden there are “Redd’s” everywhere. If you are unfamiliar what a Redd is, it is a patch of cleaned gravel that rainbows and browns complete their spawning cycle on. Meaning that just one small patch of cleaned gravel will hold thousands of eggs. In order to sustain our fishery it is of utmost importance to not disturb these incredibly delicate parts of our ecosystem. If you do not know what one looks like we strongly recommend you to do research before you go, and to fish with someone that can easily identify them for you.

Dry or Die

We have yet to see an emergence of Blue Wing’s on the Madison. With variable weather it is tough to predict when they will show up. All we can say is “soon”. Dry or Die guys are still having success with Midge Patterns. While there have been some reports of skwala’s, the Madison River is not a true skwala fishery. If this is what you’re after, true freestone rivers such as the Bitterroot or the Gallatin will be your best bet.


Griffith's Gnat 18,20 - Mating Midge 18,20- Para BWO 16,18- Shuck BWO 16,18 - Skwala 12 - Olive Chubby 12


Pat's Rubberlegs 8,10,12 - Stonefly Candy 10,12 - Spanish Bullet 14,16- Lightning Bug 16- Prince Nymph 14,16- Crystal Meth - Otter's Milking Egg- Tactical Nymph Egg


Pearl Sparkle Minnow, Olive Sex Dungeon, Olive Mini Sex Dungeon, Zonker, Mallard's Baitfish

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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