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Madison River
Fishing Report

Updated monthly by our team in Ennis throughout the winter.

The Winter Was So Hard and Cold...

December 2022
UPDATED 12/09/2022

The annual Christmas Stroll has once again arrived in the town of Ennis! We’ll be hanging around the shop until 7PM tonight, make sure to swing on in and say hello to your favorite fish heads. I’m not one to make guarantees in life, but you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be carefully crafted charcuterie, divine wine, and above all else, copious amounts of Grateful Dead. The Norris hill has been borderline treacherous to pass over, exercise extreme caution should you be coming from the land to the north. It’s colder than sin on a Sunday out there, but you better believe that we’re still fishing!

The snowpack report is making its first debut into this season’s fishing report. Madison County is leading the charge across the state with an estimated 151% Snow Water Equivalent. River discharge at Kirby Ranch is currently at 886 CFS. Water temperatures have fluctuated between 33.8 F and 41 F over the course of the last week. Weatherman Dan is predicting snowfall this weekend accompanied by temperatures in the low 20’s. Go heavy on base layers if you’re spending time on the river this weekend. What’s that? You’re in need of another layer to keep you warm? I just happen to know a shop that can solve that very problem. Shoot a call to (800) 227-7127 and I’ll let you in on the secret…

Fish are beginning to migrate into their winter holding patterns. I’ve been able to pick a few here and there off in the riffles but have found the majority of my success within deeper water. If you’re finding the fishing to be slow, try adding more weight to your rig before switching flies. More often than not the problem is the depth of your fly, not the fly itself. I like using Water Gremlin or Loon Black Drops for my weight. The river is getting nice and slushy with ice closer to town. Head south towards the wade only section if you’re itching to wet a line. 

Hot Flies:

Streamers: Wooly Bugger Black, Mini Dungeon Olive, Laser Legal Olive/White, Silk Kitty White and Tan, 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.

Looking for some fly tying material to create these patterns? Check out our fly tying collection online or stop by the shop! Continue to practice your best fish handling techniques. Avoid fish pictures for the gram whenever possible so that we can continue to have healthy fish populations for years to come.

- 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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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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October 2022 UPDATED 10/14/2022  The beautiful fall weather continues to roll on here in the Madison Valley, and the afternoon temps...
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Old Man Winter has returned for his yearly visit. Go put on a few extra layers and greet him at the door!

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