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.

Don't forget to share your best fishing photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


No Kidding: Angler Smashes Record for Lake Trout

Scott Bernarde - May 21, 2019

The Pennsylvania man's trophy fish was more than two pounds heavier than the previous record.


Get Ready for Summer with Cordova Coolers

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day sale offers 15 percent off everything website-wide.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...


Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...


Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

See More Stories

More Bass


Florida-Made Bass Fishing Bonanza

Larry D. Larsen - June 13, 2019

Florida's manmade fishing opportunities are often overlooked. Here's where to go and how to...


MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish New Waters

G&F Online Staff

These Major League Fishing pros share their approach to a new lake.


Smallmouth Bass Lures, Tactics for Game Changes

Glenn Walker - August 12, 2019

Adapt and adjust based on conditions to bring more smallies to the boat.

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.