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Guide Manny with a brown in High Water

Mud and High Water on The Madison River

The Madison River in Runoff Mode Right Now

Currently the Madison River is in runoff mode. The creeks are all pumping mud from the high country snow melt and the dam is increasing flow every day.  We were blessed for the late spring and lots of moisture.  Three months ago the Hebgan Dam was forecast  not to fill this year. Now they should have it full this week.  While this is good news for the summer flows and cold water currently the options are limited.  With the increased flows on the Madison River safety is something to be concerned with.  The areas you wade fished last week will look totally different now. Also the floating is getting a little western.  Currently, the flows are not high enough to make the low bridges a concern but soon they will.  With the increased flows out of the dam the low bridges will become dangerous very soon.  If you now an experienced rower please be careful.

Still Fishing to be had even at high water

There are still fish to catch if you know the spots.  For cleaner water think above the West Fork of the Madison.  You will have decent visibility currently.  Also think below Ennis Dam and on the Lower Madison.  Sooner or later the mud will work across Ennis Lake and make the Lower a mess as well but for now we are good.  If fishing the Lower Madison we have been hearing reports of dry dropper with a golden stone and a psyco prince being the go to set up.


Salmon Flies on the Horizon

We are getting the same call at the store ten times a day. Are there salmon flies year and when do you expect them.  Well, no salmon flies year. With the cold wet spring we feel a late start to the hatch this year.  I am saying on the 24 there will be salmon flies at the Ennis Bridge.  We still have a few weeks to go before the epic fishing but it is close. Remember currently the salmon fly nymphs are making their way from the center of the river to the banks in anticipation of hatching.  This migration makes them easy food for trout and the fish will start to key on the banks.  As the water comes up more and the salmon fly nymphs move the fish will line up on the bank.  This will give a target to fish.  Soon we will see some epic fishing hold on tight and get ready.


If you are fishing the Lower Madison think yellow sallies. We have been doing best with stimulators, small chubbies and bullet heads with a long dropper of a psyco prince or other yellow sallie nymph


If your fishing the Upper Madison think down and dirty right now. Our favorite has been a large rubber leg stone fly followed by a san juan worm. This has been money in the muddy water. We like the black body stone fly with white rubber legs.


If you like pulling meat now is your time. Think dark bodied sculpin patterns. Keep them slow and low.

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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