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Madison River
Fishing Report

Updated weekly by our team in Ennis.

Fall Fishing in Montana

November 10, 2020

After a beautiful period of unseasonably warm and fishy weather, we have definitively turned the corner from fall to winter here in SW Montana. Hunting season is in full swing and the snowpack is building. We are starting to think more about the next season: ski season!! However, winter angling on the Madison is real and should not be discounted.

While the lower reaches of the river are choked with ice and slush lately due to very cold temps, the upper reaches of the river continue to run low, clear and free of ice. Best bets for good conditions and good fishing right now would either be in the Bear Trap Canyon below Ennis Dam or above Windy Point up to HEbgen Lake in the in upper river.

Nymphing is generally the most effective tactic this time of year and a variety of small and large nymphs can produce. From Size #6 Black Turds all the way down to #22 Red or Black Zebra Midges. Naturally we like to run a variety of tandem rigs to help dial it in. Czech nymphing style is particularly effective this time of year in the upper madison. A heavy Tungsten bead point fly like a Copper John, or He-Man with a 3mm bead trailing a smaller Perdigon pattern can be deadly. Fish these on 4X and 5X and target the deepest and slowest seams and runs.

Yes, streamers will still produce also and may in fact produce the best fish of the day although typically it's not a great numbers strategy. Black and Natural bunny flies and a great choice fished low and slow.

Perhaps the best part of winter angling on the Upper Madison is the dry fly fishing. YES, dy fly fishing. If you know, you know. When conditions line up right, the fish will rise steadily to the frequent midge hatches and can be very captivating. A Goober Midge or old faithful, the Griffith's Gnat fished delicately on 6X will take fish. Few things are more gratifying than a good dry fly fish in dead-ass winter weather!

Come see us at the shop for additional information and any and all gear you might need on the river, Tight lines!

Upper Madison River Flows near Cameron, MT



Past Fishing Reports

View all

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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Hopper Fever Persists!

September 13,  2020 Hopper season continues on the Upper and Lower Madison. the warm, sunny dry days have kept the...
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Pre-Runoff May Fishing

May 17th, 2020 -  Upper River: the river is slightly off color, running around 1800 CFS at Varney. Dry fly...
Continue reading


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