One of Montana's favorite rivers, the Madison River is divided into two areas, the Upper Madison and the Lower Madison. The Madison begins its journey in Yellowstone National Park and flows 140 miles before joining the Missouri River near Three Forks. On its journey it passes through some of the most scenic places in America.
The Upper section is shallow but fast flowing and is best fished from a drift boat. The waters are crystal clear and have some spectacular views. The Upper section originates in Yellowstone National Park and travels through the park for over 20 miles before leaving the park and flowing through Hebgen and Quake Lakes and then it runs north to the town of Ennis.
About three miles below Quake Lakes the river turns into a raging river with class III and class IV rapids. Just below this section, near the Highway 87 bridge it turns into a great fly fishing stream, probably the best section of the river near the town of Ennis.
The section of the Madison River between Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake get a lot of fishing pressure. This is because of the many access points along the river as Highway 287 runs along side most of this stretch. If you can find a piece of real estate in this section you should still have a great day.
From Beartrap Canyon to Three Forks, the lower section of the river is shallow and can be fished by drift boat or wading. The insects are abundant in this area so the fish get to be 24” or bigger. The Lower section starts at Ennis and flows about 35 miles north to wear it joins the Missouri River.
The Lower section of the river holds some of the bigger fish on the Madison. After June the fishing will slow down to hit and miss until the fall when the fishing picks back up and produces well again.
Most often you will catch fish below the water surface instead of on top with a dry fly. Caddis and Salmon fly hatches occur in June and that brings in the anglers. Streamers in black or olive are usually a great choice.
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