Fly Fishing The Madison River At West Fork Cabin Camp

The Madison River offers one of the best fly fishing experiences at West Fork Cabin Camp. Nestled in the heart of nature, this location promises pristine waters teeming with trout and breathtaking views. A haven for anglers, it blends adventure with relaxation.

Imagine standing on the banks of a calm Madison River, casting your line, and feeling the thrill as a trout tugs. West Fork Cabin Camp is not only a destination. It is a fly fishing dream that awaits you.

Fly fishing, a beloved tradition, finds its best backdrop at West Fork Cabin Camp on Madison River. Here, enthusiasts from all over the world gather to master the art of casting and catching. With its unique blend of challenges and rewards, this spot beckons both novice and seasoned anglers alike. We will discuss its tips and techniques in detail. Let’s start!

West Fork Of The Madison Fly Fishing

West Fork Of The Madison Fly Fishing

The West Fork of the Madison River starts near Red Rock Lakes and joins the main Madison River by Cliff Lake. It is a small stream, so the trout here are also smaller. But if you go about 40 miles downstream to Ennis, the fishing gets better. Many say it is one of the best spots for big trout in the lower forty-eight states.

The best time to fish is from late spring to mid-autumn. If you want a big catch, come when there are lots of bugs around. A major event is the salmonfly hatch. These big worms bring out a large number of trout. But remember, fishing rules change depending on where you are on the river.

Tips And Techniques Of Fly Fishing

Timing is key, when it comes to fly fishing. If you are chasing the salmonfly hatch, use a salmonfly pattern dry fly 4-6 days after the main hatch. Wait for the trout to settle after their feast, and you will find them biting eagerly again. If nymphing is your go-to, fish just before the hatch or during the early season. Salmonfly nymphs are active below the surface, especially before the main hatch. In late spring or early June on the Upper Madison, trying a salmonfly nymph can be quite productive.

To up your game, try a double dry fly rig. Attach a second fly two feet behind the first. Use another salmonfly pattern or switch it up with a smaller dry fly. Remember, it’s not only about salmon flies; sometimes, a small stonefly or caddis pattern can entice a hungry trout. Whether you prefer dry fly, nymph, or streamer fishing, the Upper Madison River has it all. Here are some recommended fly patterns to enhance your fly fishing experience:

  • Pheasant Tail
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Gray CDC Caddis
  • Foam Salmonfly
  • Cat Puke
  • Lightning Bug

What You Will Catch In West Fork Of Madison River?

  • High Trout Concentration: The West Fork stretch is full of trout. Imagine 3,000 to 5,000 fish in only one mile. You can find browns, rainbows, and if you’re lucky, Westslope cutthroats too.
  • Big Brown Trout Alert: Are you aiming for big brown trout? This place is for you! The Madison below West Fork is known for its trophy-size brown trout catches.
  • Picturesque Beauty: Montana offers stunning views, and West Fork doesn’t disappoint. As you fish, soak in the beauty around you.
  • Light Fishing Pressure: Surprisingly, the West Fork stretch is not crowded. Compared to other parts of the river, fewer people fish here. It’s a peaceful spot for anglers.

Drift Fishing Below Madison’s West Fork

Drift Fishing Below Madison’s West Fork

If you want to fish from a drifting boat, the stretch of the Madison River below the West Fork is a popular spot. Starting from Lyons Bridge, just after the West Fork joins the river, and going downstream to Hwy 287 in Ennis, many people like to fly fish from a drifting boat.

Access Points And Float Routes

Besides Lyons Bridge, there are many other places where you can get into the river or start your drift. Windy Point, Palisades, Ruby Creek, McAtee, Storey Ditch, Varney Bridge, 8 Mile, Burnt Tree Hole, and Ennis are some of the spots.

The table below will show you the most popular places to get in the river and where you can float downstream from Lyons Bridge.

Float Trip RouteDistancePut inTake out
Lyons Bridge to Windy Point6.2 milesLyons BridgeWindy Point
Lyons Bridge to McAtee Bridge15.3 milesLyons BridgeMcAtee Bridge
Lyons Bridge to Storey Ditch17.8 milesLyons BridgeStorey Ditch
Lyons Bridge to Palisades7.9 milesLyons BridgePalisades
8 Mile Ford to Ennis4 miles8-mile FordEnnis
Burnt Tree Hole to Ennis3.6 milesBurnt Tree HoleEnnis
Ruby Creek to Ennis23 milesRuby CreekEnnis
Storey Ditch to Varney Bridge9.5 milesStorey DitchVarney Bridge
Varney Bridge to 8-mile Ford5.1 milesVarney Bridge8-mile Ford

Benefits Of Drift Fishing

  • Access Private Land: Drift fishing allows you to reach parts of the river on private land that are usually off-limits for fishing.
  • Increase Trophy Trout Chances: For a better chance at catching trophy-sized trout, drift fishing is the way to go.
  • Enjoy Scenic Beauty: Whether you’re a fishing enthusiast or just want to appreciate the river’s beauty, drifting allows you to take in the stunning scenery.
  • Guided Tours or Self-Guided Trips: Choose between guided tours or rent your own rafts for a self-guided trip, tailoring the experience to your preferences.
  • Day Rentals at West Fork Cabin Camp: At West Fork Cabin Camp, you can rent Maravia and Hyside style rafts, equipped with swivel chairs for fishing and relaxation.
  • Comfortable Setup: The rafts come with ergonomic swivel chairs, ice chest, anchoring system, and everything needed for an amazing float trip.

West Fork Cabin Camp

West Fork Cabin Camp
  • West Fork Cabin Camp sits right by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Madison County, Montana, just moments away from the heart of “Yellowstone Country.” Here, you get easy access to vast public lands, breathtaking views, and endless outdoor activities.
  • Prime Location: Near Yellowstone Basin, ideal for unforgettable fly fishing experiences.
  • Fly Fishing Opportunities: Step out and fish blue ribbon trout from your cabin’s doorstep. Plus, within an hour, you can explore places like Hebgen Lake, Gallatin River, and Quake Lake for more fishing adventures.
  • Fully-Equipped Fly Shop: All you need to bring is your gear and enthusiasm. We have a well-stocked shop with fishing supplies, tackle, and flies for your fishing escapade.
  • Best Fishing Spots Nearby: From Madison River’s stretch to Ennis and other top spots like Hebgen Lake, Cliff and Wade Lake, and the iconic Yellowstone Park, there’s no shortage of fantastic fishing destinations.
  • Hunting Paradise: Apart from fishing, West Fork Cabin Camp is a favorite for hunters. Located near prime hunting regions like Gravelly Range in Beaverhead National Forest, it’s perfect for bow and rifle hunting for various game.
  • Wildlife Galore: Dive into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Whether you’re a birder spotting eagles or a wildlife enthusiast capturing the essence of nature, there’s plenty to see.
  • More Activities: Beyond fishing and hunting, enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and ATV tours right at West Fork Cabin Camp.


Is the Madison River fly fishing only?

In Yellowstone National Park, only fly fishing is allowed on the Madison River. Please release all grayling, cutthroat trout, and mountain whitefish you catch.

Is the Madison River stocked?

Since the early 1940s, the Madison River has been stocked with catchable-sized rainbows, with an annual release of 40,000 to 70,000 fish. However, in 1957, this stocking practice was stopped in the section of the river below the Ennis Reservoir.

Is the Madison River warm?

Yet, due to the Madison River flowing through the nation’s most thermally active area, its water temperature can be surprisingly warm for a mountain river. In the summer, it frequently rises above seventy degrees.

What feeds the Madison River?

The Madison River starts in Yellowstone National Park at the meeting of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers. It flows 183 miles north, merging with the Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers at Three Forks, Montana, to form the Missouri River.

What state is the Madison River in?

The “Fifty Mile Riffle” of the Madison River, surrounded by snowcapped peaks, is renowned as Montana’s top trout stream. However, in Southwest Montana, it’s the rapids, not the fishing spots, that mark the river’s ends.

Final Thoughts

Fly Fishing The Madison River At West Fork Cabin Camp: Fly Fishing on the Madison River at West Fork Cabin Camp offers an unmatched experience for anglers. West Fork Cabin Camp sits in a beautiful area with great fishing spots. You can fish from the calm riverbanks or go drifting downstream. It’s close to forests and Yellowstone, offering more than just fishing. Whether you love fishing, nature, or exploring, West Fork Cabin Camp has something for everyone.

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