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Edge Outfitting is based on the Upper Madison River, in Ennis, Montana, often referred to as the trout capital of the world. The welcome sign entering town from the south on Highway 287 proudly proclaims the population of Ennis as 850 people and 11,000,000 trout. We’re not certain of their techniques for trout population estimates, but the point is certainly well made.
We’ve got a lot of trout around here, and our guides are all intensely focused on finding them and helping you become a better angler in the process. The Upper Madison (from Hebgen Dam to Ennis Lake) fishes well all year long, but it seems to really shine from April through September. This section, known worldwide as the “Fifty Mile Riffle,” is a river in constant motion - a non-stop, shallow riffle, providing excellent trout habitat throughout its length. It consists of mostly single channel river until one reaches Varney Bridge where the river begins to braid. The Upper Madison is strewn with large boulders river wide providing a seemingly unending amount of pockets for trout to rest. The swiftness of the river also allows anglers to get away with heavier tippet, bigger flies, and rustier techniques, lending it well to even the greenest of anglers.
The beauty of the Madison lies in how consistent it is. Depending on how heavy the snowpack was from the previous winter, the Madison generally doesn’t have a very long runoff period. And even during the peak runoff, the fishing can be exceptional. Fish are hungry, concentrated, and the river is a conveyor belt of food. In fact, by changing our strategies slightly, we've consistently seen some of the most productive fishing days occur smack in the middle of high off color water during the runoff. It’s one of our favorite times of the year for fishing.
Prior to runoff, stoneflies nymphs, worms, BWOs, and Midges are very important to a Madison River trout's diet. After the runoff (somewhere around the last week of June), however, the Madison experiences a variety of sequential and predictable aquatic and terrestrial insect hatches that angler’s dream of. First on the menu are thick clouds caddis, and a sneaky hatch of skwala stoneflies eliciting the first major top water strikes of the year. The world famous salmonfly hatch is next and is the main attraction for the summer. The biggest bugs, biggest strikes, and the biggest smiles. As the salmonflies move on, a parade of other hatches begin. Golden stones, Yellow Sallies, PMDs, other Caddis, BWOs, Drakes, as well as Callibaetis and giant Crayfish in Ennis Lake. Then there's a whole host of hoppers and ants to look forward to. There’s truly no wrong time to fish the Madison!
Madison River Float or Walk/Wade Fishing (1 or 2 People; up to 8 hours, all inclusive): $550