The Madison River of Southwest Montana
Flowing through a lush ranching valley girded by snowcapped peaks, the "Fifty Mile Riffle" of the Madison River deserves its reputation as the best trout stream in Montana. Ironically, rapids, and not fishing holes, bookend the Madison in Southwest Montana. In the south, the river roars and tumbles for three miles once it shoots out of Quake Lake, offering a fun ride for experienced floaters and a good challenge for wade fisherman. In the north, the Madison squeezes through the Class IV-V rapids of Bear Trap Canyon. Between these two rapids, the Madison boasts the best fly fishing in Montana. The Madison flows straight and quick through Southwest Montana, the expansive Madison Valley unfolding to either side. To the east the Madison Mountains rear from the valley floor. To the east, the Gravely Range rise from the plain, following the river north. Although most of its length lacks the meanders and channels of a classic trout stream, vast quantities of trophy trout call the waters of the Madison home. As if the Madison needed to be more alluring, the riffles and scenery between Quake Lake and Ennis beg to be floated, even if you don't have a fly rod in your hand.