Your Best Spring Fishing in Montana

Your Best Spring Fishing in Montana
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

Montana. Just saying those three syllables elicit visions of dancing trout in epic rivers. Although ice may still build on your rod's guides and snow may fly from time-to-time, Montana is calling, and it's time to hit the Madison River. Located in the heart of trout country, the Madison River is one of many epic destinations the Treasure State has to offer, and when spring arrives, the crowds are gone and the trout are active.


March & April


The Madison River is a fly fishing mecca for serious anglers. It is classified as a blue ribbon fishery in Montana and is one of the most productive streams for brown and rainbow trout. Recent estimates show over 4,000 trout per river mile in the upper sections of the Madison, with the average trout being in the 14 inch range; and if you squeeze some of the locals, they'll tell you 16 to 18 inchers are not uncommon.


Although it is known as a great float fishery, it also provides excellent wade fishing opportunities. When open, below Quake Lake down to Lyons Bridge is a 20 mile stretch that should not be overlooked, as well as the six-mile section between Ennis Lake and Ennis Bridge. Both are easily waded and offer exceptional trout opportunities. The "Fifty Mile Riffle" is another popular stretch for both wade and float anglers and should not be missed.


March and April bring great midge and baetis fishing on the Madison, with warm afternoons typically producing the best activity, especially on cloudy days. Even if the snow is flying, Madison trout always seem to be eager to please in the spring. Water conditions are typically low and clear before runoff so a good presentation is a must.


April & May

When April and May arrive, the fish become even more active before the spring runoff, and with the Madison's rich and diverse bug life, there's also something for them to sample.  Some of the best hatches in late spring and summer include midge, blue winged olives, march browns and caddis. Scuds, minnows and sculpins are also present then, and with the water warming and the runoff starting, these are always very good options.

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