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Muddy Water Madness on the Madison–Big Bugs on the Horizon

High and Muddy Madison River

Currently and for the next few weeks the Madison River will continue to be high and muddy.  This statement is a little deceiving .  The river is not that high but just off colored. Normally we do not see this amount of color in the Madison.  This year the flows out of the Dam which are clear and clean and normally offset the muddy flows out of the creeks are significantly lower.  The powers that be are trying really hard to fill Hebgan Lake.  It started off the spring 9 feet low.  They are holding as much water as possible.   This is good long term as we should have good flows that are cold all summer long. Bad news for the angler wanting to fish now.  Other good news is we continue to get rain which boosts the lake .  Bring your raincoat as it looks like rain every day for the next week.


Fish Can still be Found

If you’r looking to fish now there is hope and some darn good options.  Think above the West Fork of the Madison. This is the $3 Bridge area.  These flows should stay clean and clear and fishable.  Another good spot is below the Ennis Dam.  This is the last area to muddy up and will keep fishing all spring long.  If you want to float think Lyons Bridge put in. This is just below the West Fork and half the Madison River will be green from the outflow of the dam and the other side brown.  Fish the clear and clean side.   Bring Beer as lots of folks will have the same idea and you will make some friends.  Our guides are on the river every day finding fish so it is possible.  Bring your waders as the water is cold.  Wet wading coming soon.

Get Down and Dirty

The fishing right now you will need to think dirty. Worms, stone fly nymphs and slow deep streamers are the answer on the Upper Madison. We still like the hot pink worm in the mud.  We also like dark bodied streamers and stone fly nymphs. The fish can see the dark body better in the mud.


Big Bugs on the Horizon

We are getting calls in the store daily.  “When will we see salmon flies on the Madison River?”   This is a good question and the answer is anyones guess. The good thing is the stone fly nymphs are making the migration to the banks as we speak.  This makes them susceptible to fish.  If I were to guess I am saying June 25 there will be Salmon Flies at Ennis Bridge.  Hang on it is coming fast.

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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