It’s fair to say that when anglers think about fall fly fishing trips on the Madison River in Montana, the first thing that comes to mind is the fall run of trophy trout from Hebgen Lake into the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park, and there is good reason for this. But we’re going to save that for our write up on Yellowstone National Park Fall Fly Fishing.
Often overlooked in the fall are the great fly fishing opportunities on the Madison River above and below Ennis, Montana. The upper 50 mile riffle fishes well through the fall. The float stretch sees significantly less angling pressure by mid-September and the fly fishing can really come alive. Dry flies, nymphs, and streamers can all be effective.
Like elsewhere in Montana the brown trout get bold and aggressive pre-spawn and will often eat bigger streamers through October. Many of the biggest fish of the year are caught in fall on the Madison River in Montana. There is also an under appreciated run of lake fish out of Ennis lake into the braids below Ennis, Montana which can provide wade fisherman the chance at the fish of their lifetime.
Below Ennis lake, the Lower Madison turns back into a great fishery by late September. Low water and high temperatures in the summer can make for tough fishing on this stretch close to Bozeman, Montana, but once the water cools off, the bite turns back on. Fly fishing on the lower Madison is rarely pretty, with crayfish, worms, and sculpins generally the fly of choice, but many of our Madison River fly fishing guides think the lower Madison River may be the best place to find a truly trophy sized brown trout in the fall.