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Winter Special is Back

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

This is by far the most underrated time of year for a day of floating on the upper Madison, in my opinion. Zero competition most days because most people aren't willing to push a drift boat over snowbanks to get to the water.

Sure, winter in Montana is for real. Nobody wants to fish when it's 15 and blowing out of the north. But most weeks, there's a day which is actually pretty nice out. And with fish mostly unpressured since October, it's not usually difficult to get into action.

In winter I like to bring along a stove with some hot food and beverages. And when my good friend and guest Zac, a professional chef from Livingston, comes over, we like to have rack of lamb on cast iron. You won't get that from me, but I'll do my best.

Typically, winter float trips may involve a little wade fishing and float fishing. Water levels are pretty low, so reaching the best holding water in a drift boat sometimes can be impossible due to shallow exposed gravel bars. Jumping out to fish those areas for a few minutes is very worthwhile. Nymphing is the name of the game until late winter early spring when larger, more consistent baetis hatches bring more fish to the surface. But on the right balmy day in December, a good midge hatch is pretty exciting. Girdle bugs are the primary bug I like in winter fishing. Other small nymphs and worm patters also work, but they rarely pass up a prime rib stonefly in the winter. So if you're a local Montanan looking to get some great fishing in on the upper Madison with virtually no crowds or a visitor out skiing looking to mix it up one day during your trip, consider a unique fishing experience with us! Visit the Winter Special page for more information and how to book.

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