Madison River

Three Forks, Montana 59752

Madison River

Madison River Professional Review and Guide

"Montana's most famous fishing river, the rapid-flowing Madison cuts a beautiful swath through a broad valley, passing by lush meadows and broken timber. The river is all Class I except for two sections (below quake Lake and Bear Trap Canyon) that have difficult rapids.

Fish the often-neglected lower river in spring and fall when water temperatures are cool. The entire river has seemingly recovered from whirling disease that especially crippled the fishing on the upper river, which is predominantly a rainbow fishery. But don’t pass up the lower river either, where large brown trout are more common. Be sure to fish the side channels."

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Trail Information

Three Forks
Nearby City
133 miles
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
Class I-V
Fast water with frequent rocks in the upper river. Low bridges with debris around the pilings, logjams, snags, and a diversion dam just below Varney. Bear Trap Canyon and the difficult water below Quake Lake.
Fishing, Camping, Birding
Additional Use
Madison River Fishing Company, Ennis; The Tackle Shop, Ennis; FWP, Bozeman; BLM, Dillon.
Local Contacts
BLM: Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness Visitor’s Guide; USFS: Gallatin (West), Beaverhead Interagency Travel Plan (East); USGS: Ashton, ID; Bozeman, MT; River Rat Maps: Madison.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018