Where to Fish Madison River


The Madison River originates in Yellowstone National Park at the junction of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers and flows in a northerly direction for 140 miles to Three Forks, Montana, where it joins the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers to form the Missouri River. From its source in the park, the Madison flows across a high conifer-forested plateau, its journey interrupted by two man-made impoundments: Hebgen Reservoir, located one and one-half miles below the park boundary, and Ennis Reservoir, 58 miles downstream from Hebgen. Just below Hebgen, the Madison feeds Quake Lake, a natural lake formed by an earth slide during a major earthquake in 1959. From Ennis Reservoir the Madison flows through Bear Trap Canyon before entering the lower Madison River valley for its final 18 miles. The Madison is one of Montana's premier wild trout rivers. Due to its national reputation, heavy fishing pressure, good access, high scenic value, and excellent wild trout populations, it has been classified as a 'Blue Ribbon' trout stream. The Madison is also the home of 'wild trout management,' where the results of a controversial study in the early 1970s introduced a shift in management emphasis nationwide, from stocking trout to population monitoring, harvest regulation, and habitat protection. A number of challenges exist to wild trout fisheries in the Madison River, such as whirling disease, increased angling pressure, and drought.

Special Notices & Closures 

Hoot Owl Fishing Restriction for the entire Madison River

From mile: 0.0 To 131.903

For the entire Madison River from the mouth to the boundary with Yellowstone National Park.

The hoot-owl fishing restriction, which prohibits fishing each day between 2 p.m. and midnight, will be in effect for the Madison River from the mouth to the boundary with Yellowstone National Park. Water temperatures in the upper Madison River (above Ennis Lake) have exceeded 70 degrees over several days while flows have remained near median levels. Although temperature and flow criteria have not been exceeded, continued forecast high temperatures coupled with high angling pressure could lead to excessive fish mortality (ARM 12.5.507(1)(a)). This notice replaces restrictions implemented on the lower Madison on June 25. Restrictions do not include Ennis Lake, Quake Lake, or Hebgen Lake. These restrictions will remain in place until lifted by FWP administrative action when daily maximum water temperature does not exceed 70 degrees for three consecutive days (ARM 12.5.508) and adequate flows are present, or until September 15, 2021.

Mile Upper: 131.903
Mile Lower: 0.0
Mouth Latitude/Longitude: 45.92696 -111.50742
Status of the Fishery:
FWP Region: Region 3 
County: Broadwater  •  Gallatin  •  Madison
Fishing District: Central  •  National Park Service
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Waterbody Section Field Form Type Date Purpose Species
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Species Count Avg StdDev Min Max AvgWgt StdDevWgt MinWeight S/L Sects Surveys Waterbody
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Waterbody Section Species Count AveLength StdDevLength MinLength MaxLength AveWeight StdDevWeight MinWeight MaxWeight
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Waterbody Year Section Species Count AveLength StdDevLength MinLength MaxLength AveWeight StdDevWeight MinWeight MaxWeight
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
This is a preview, all fields will be visible by selecting a download option. For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams.

Year Species Abbrv Length Weight M/C Count Sex Mort Hook Scar Disease Scales Otolith Fin Clip Tag Comment Genetics Age Stomach Intercept Slope Gear Equipment Trip Date Pass/Run Water Section Lat/Down Lon/Down Lat/Up Lon/Up Agency
Year River Mile Angler Days Std. Error
2017 0  to  41.74 61635 6469
2015 0  to  41.74 51461 4850
2013 0  to  41.74 41131 3564
2011 0  to  41.74 39597 3173
2017 45.06  to  106.73 207316 17785
2015 45.06  to  106.73 153931 8043
2013 45.06  to  106.73 134433 8795
2011 45.06  to  106.73 88252 4379
2017 123.13  to  131.9 27311 5153
2015 123.13  to  131.9 21165 2816
2013 123.13  to  131.9 24308 3615
2011 123.13  to  131.9 20582 1895
View the latest Montana Fishing Regulations.
Station Name RiverMile Website Link
Madison River near West Yellowstone MT 131 Link
Madison River bl Hebgen Lake nr Grayling MT 106 Link
Madison River at Kirby Ranch nr Cameron MT 88 Link
Madison River ab Powerplant nr McAllister MT 38 Link
Madison River bl Ennis Lake nr Mcallister MT 38 Link

This waterbody has a fish consumption advisory. Please see the link for guidelines.

Fish Consumption Guidelines (PDF)

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