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Madison River
Fishing Report

Updated weekly by our team in Ennis.

Mild January Days Produce Good Fishing in Montana

January 2021

Fly fishing in the dead of winter certainly isn't for everyone, but it can actually be quite productive and fun. The caveat is that you gotta have the right clothing, the right attitude and go to the right spots. And none of that is really very different than most any other time of year....

On the Madison River you really have 2 basic choices for deep winter angling; Bear Trap Canyon or Reynold's Pass/$3 Bridge. And in both of these locations, dead-drifting nymphs is likely going to be your most effective tactic. We focus on the Euro style this time of year. Midges are the primary food source this time of year so you'll definitely want to have a selection of midge nymphs with you. I would compliment that with an assortment of the old classics: Turds, PTs, Hare's Ears, Lighting Bugs, Eggs, etc. Dry fly action is a definite possibility in both of these locations also, so it's also a good idea to be somewhat prepared for that with a few Midge dries and emergers.

Sure some guys like to swing streamers in the Trout Spey style for winter trout too. No doubt this can be effective, but this is where location becomes more of a factor. On the Madison this tactic is better suited to some of the deep runs that you'll find between Varney Bridge and Ennis Lake. We haven't seen the river gorge yet, but this stretch is quite often very slushy with significant anchor ice and shelf ice along the banks making any fishing all but impossible.

Another important factor when winter fishing is safety. Don't wade deep, and always be sure to have a wading belt on just in case you go down. It's always best to go with a buddy, or at least let a friend know where you are going and when to expect you home.

Good luck everyone!!

Upper Madison River Flows near Cameron, MT



Past Fishing Reports

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Fish On In December

December 15, 2020 - It's mid December and although the days are very short, the weather has been unseasonably mild for...
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Fishing Season, Hunting Season, Ski Season, Oh my!

November 10, 2020 - After a beautiful period of unseasonably warm and fishy weather, we have definitively turned the corner...
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Fly Fishing Remains Strong Through October

October 16, 2020 - Fall is upon us here in the Madison valley, but the fly fishing remains strong through...
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'All The Leaves Are Brown'

  September 24, 2020 Summer is headed out and along with it goes some of the more predictable dry fly...
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Winter Fishing

Winter angling on the Madison is real and should not be discounted

Popular Madison River Fly Patterns


Purple Haze #12-16
Chubby Chernobyl #6-1
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