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Madison River
Fishing Report

Updated monthly by our team in Ennis throughout the winter.

You Ain't Gonna Learn What You Don't Wanna Know

March 2022
UPDATED 3/03/2022

Happy Friday, Madison Valley! We’re still well below freezing but the fish are biting for those who are willing to get after it. A solid dusting of snow is currently being predicted from Ennis all the way down to Quake Lake. Gear up by watching your favorite season of “IRT” and you’ll be ready to hit the open road. In local news, the Public Land Water Access Association will be holding a community event at Burnt Tree Brewing and the Gravel Bar. Swing on down to participate in a raffle with prizes from the Madison River Fishing Company, Shedhorn Sports, and Willie's Distillery!

The snowpack in Madison County is currently sitting at 117% with hopefully a few more powder days ahead.  Discharge out of Hebgen Lake has fluctuated from 955 CFS to 934 CFS since February 25th. Flows through Kirby have been consistent as well, flirting between 1030 CFS and 1010 CFS over the course of the last week. Water temperatures have been finding their way into the high 30’s, with the weekly high reaching 41.9° on the 25th at Kirby. 

Let’s talk trout. The Upper Madison is still gorged from Ennis Lake up past 8 Mile. Any trout fishing opportunities on the Upper will need to be conducted from Varney to Quake. I’ve witnessed a few solid midge hatches around Three Dollar over the last few weeks. Move slowly and look for heads in slow pocket water if you’re committing to a dry fly mission. I’ve picked fish out of the usual walking-paced water as well as shallow medium-paced water, so don't be afraid to play with the depth you’re fishing in uncharacteristic “winter water”. 

While the fishing has been consistent, the postholing required to reach prime water is relatively strenuous. My old man was a great athlete back in ‘74, but I wouldn’t feel too great about dragging him through the snow to get to the river - take that as you will (Sorry Timbo). Be prepared for a laborious trek through Hoth should you have the itch to get out. As always, tight lines and have some fun out there!

Hot Flies:

Streamers: BH Krystal Bugger Black, BH Krystal Bugger Olive, Mini Dungeon Olive, Laser Legal Olive/White, Mini D&D White/Pearl, Peanut Envy Olive and Black, El Sculpito Olive, Eric’s Smooth Criminal Olive, Sculpin Leech Gray.

Dry Flies: RS2, Griffith’s Gnat, Tenkara BWO Emerger, Mini Hot Mayfly Olive, Parachute Adams.

Nymphs: TBH Zebra Midge Black, Three Dollar Dip Red, CDC Prince, Rain Drop Pearl, Tungsten Jiggy Micro May PT, Jig Napoleon Yellow, Bloodworm Red.

We're in the midst of our annual Fly SALE. Checkout our SALE flies here for killer deals on your favorite patterns. Needing some extra insulation to fight the bitter cold? Give our Cold Weather Gear Page a peak. If you're interested in what the river looks like here in town, give the live cam a gander below!

- MRFC Guide Danny Eiden

Montana SNOTEL Current Snow Water Equivalent % of Normal


Upper Madison River Flows near Cameron, MT



Past Fishing Reports

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December 2022UPDATED 12/09/2022 The annual Christmas Stroll has once again arrived in the town of Ennis! We’ll be hanging around...
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November 2022  UPDATED 11/04/2022  Happy November to all of you here in the Madison Valley as well as readers abroad!...
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October 2022  UPDATED 10/28/2022  And there’s snow on the mountain, baetis in the air, trout in them rivers and it’s...
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October 2022 UPDATED 10/21/2022  It’s been a deceivingly warm Friday afternoon here in Ennis, Montana. Our long-lasting Indian Summer seems to...
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Spring has sprung, or at least the calendar claims it has. It still feels like winter here in Southwest Montana!

Popular Madison River Fly Patterns


Purple Haze #12-16
Chubby Chernobyl #6-12
Stimulator #10-16
Royal Trude #12-16
Elk Hair Caddis #12-18
Blue Wing Olive #16-22
Pale Morning Dun #12-16
Griffiths Gnat #18-24
Morrish Hopper #6-12
Turk's Power Ant #12-14

Chubby's #8-12
Yeager's Ant #14-16
Dorman's Water Walker #6-12 
Mini Water Walkers # 14-16 
Chubbyness #14-16 
Hopper Stone #8-10
Henry's Fork Stone #4-10 


BH Pheasant Tail #12-22
BH Hare's Ear #10-20
BH Prince Nymph #12-16
Pat's Rubber Legs #4-14
Serendipity #12-18
Psycho Prince #10-16
San Juan Worms #6-12

Jig Flash Back Pheasant Tail #12-16
Jig Prince #12-16
3 Dollar Dips #16-18
Deleckta Mega Prince #6-10
Deleckta Lil-Spanker #12-16
CDC Baetis Emerger #16-18


Wooly Buggers #2-10 black, brown, olive
Zonker #2-6 Natural 
Sculpzilla #4-6
Trevor's Sculpin #4
Double Bunny #2-6

Silver Bullet #6
Sparkle Minnow #6
Barley Legal #6
Mini Loop Sculpin #6