West Fork Madison Dispersed Sites Campground

Cameron, Montana

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Tucked behind a natural rise and isolated from the neoprene-clad anglers on the Madison River is an out-of-the-way road lined with a string of little-known campsites. Just off MT 287, you’ll discover this scenic back road where five spacious sites are spread along a 5.5-mile stretch of river frontage. The West Fork Madison River runs cool, clear, and fast, from the Gravelley Range to where it dumps into the Madison River at Lyons Bridge. Brown and rainbow trout are becoming plentiful again, but they’re smart—they’ve had lots of practice outfoxing wily anglers. Fishing the West Fork or the Madison itself is far different than it was in the late 1980s. Back then counts of over 3,000 rainbow trout per mile were not uncommon, and some days drift boats far outnumbered the cars along the highway. But when whirling disease came to Montana, it hit the Madison and its branches first. The rainbow population was the hardest hit, dwindling to less than 20 percent of its previous number. With strong mitigation efforts, a flood of educational material for anglers and boaters, and impressive research results, the rainbows have come back in many areas.
Best Tent Camping: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Tent Camping: Montana

by Jan and Christina Nesset (Menasha Ridge Press)

Tucked behind a natural rise and isolated from the neoprene-clad anglers on the Madison River is an out-of-the-way road lined with a string of little-known campsites. Just off MT 287, you’ll discover this scenic back road where five spacious sites are spread along a 5.5-mile stretch of river frontage. The West Fork Madison River runs cool, clear, and fast, from the Gravelley Range to where it dumps into the Madison River at Lyons Bridge. Brown and rainbow trout are becoming plentiful again, but they’re smart—they’ve had lots of practice outfoxing wily anglers.

Fishing the West Fork or the Madison itself is far different than it was in the late 1980s. Back then counts of over 3,000 rainbow trout per mile were not uncommon, and some days drift boats far outnumbered the cars along the highway. But when whirling disease came to Montana, it hit the Madison and its branches first. The rainbow population was the hardest hit, dwindling to less than 20 percent of its previous number. With strong mitigation efforts, a flood of educational material for anglers and boaters, and impressive research results, the rainbows have come back in many areas.

© 2017 Jan and Christina Nesset/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Campgrounds
Nearby City: Cameron
Campsites: 5 Sites
Season: June-mid-September
Additional Use: Fishing, Camping
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Beaverhead-Deerhead Lodge National Forest. 406-682-4253 or 406-682-7560, www.fs.usda.gov/bdnf
Fees per Night: None
Facilities: Vault toilets at some sites; no other facilities.
Driving Directions: Directions to West Fork Madison Dispersed Sites Campground

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Apr 2018