Important Notice: May 23rd River Closed Under Varney Bridge


Important Update from the Montana Department of Transportation:

Construction crews will begin removing the Varney Bridge on Monday, May 20. Work to remove the existing bridge is expected to take several weeks. A temporary river closure is anticipated to take place on Thursday, May 23 as crews remove the west side of the bridge.

During the Bridge Removal:

  • Boats are restricted to a 6-foot maximum height clearance at the Varney Bridge.
  • Buoys in the river will direct boats through the construction zone.
  • The river will be temporarily closed through the construction zone on Thursday, May 23 when the steel structure is removed.
  • The Fishing Access Site on the east side of the river will remain open for boats to exit the river. 
  • Notification signage will be placed upstream and downstream of the bridge.

Please visit the construction camera here for up-to-date views of the Varney Bridge and information about closures and restrictions.

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May 6th – 12th | Madison River Fishing Report

The Project Healing Waters group was in for the week and their trip was a great healing adventure! There were three different days of fishing and the group was with different people guiding them each day and at different places on the Madison. Thank you to those who helped them access the wade areas. Big Dan started the week with Brandon and Bob Frey guiding the boys. Gunnar, David Kern, and Marty helped during the rest of the week. Thank you to the guides for your help. All the boys caught fish and each had different and remarkable adventures! There were rainbows mostly, a few browns, and even a cutthroat and whitefish. They were great guys and a pleasure to be with. Our neighbor Michael donated his time as chef with his friend Mark. Thank you Michael. It was great eating and great added stories about the food and all kinds of adventures.

The water is at an all time color (a touch of murk) and VERY steady flow right around 2,100 cfs since the beginning of the month, so if you are thinking of going….you should. The west fork has just started to kick in a bit of dirty water. This is once again your chance to throw the big bugs and get funky, because the trout are just on a feeding frenzy in the spring. The weather has been cooperating and the snowpack is slowly coming down giving us a little bit of an idea as to how the outlook on the big bugs this summer is going to be. The March Browns and Caddis have started to work their way out of the depths down towards town and dry fly fishing has followed.

The bugs that have been in the queue all week are as follows:  Gray Paradrake Sz 10; Purple Haze Cripple Sz 10; Parachute Adams Sz 12; Delektable CDC Elk Hair Caddis Tan Sz 16; Goddard Caddis Sz 16; Delektable Mega Prince Olive Flash Back Sz 8; Delektable Mega Prince Standard Sz 8; Pat’s Rubber Legs in all the colors Sz 8-10 (Squalla still); Delektable Lil’ Spanker Pheasant Tail Sz 14 and 18 (BWO); Delektable Lil’ Spanker Silver Sz 14 and 18 (BWO); Delektable Prince Brandon Sz 14 and 16; Delektable Red Worm Sz 12; and Delektable Screamer Black/Olive.

The streamer bite has been on for some people who are addicted to it but for the most part they have been lethargic with the weather being a little chilly but it has been warming up and should stay in the 70’s for most of the upcoming week so hopefully we’ll be able to start speeding up the retrieves and seeing fish be more aggressive.

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April 29th – May 5th | Madison River Fishing Report

Your Madison River fishing report today is brought to you by the Beartooth Flyshop boys and the letter W. If you have been out lately you have been playing in some fun weather involving the dub, clouds, cold, rain and snow. The rainbows are in full swing with the spawn, so be careful out there not to be walking on reds. That also makes for really good fishing in the spring! Right now you will find the fish you catch will be all kinds of colored up. The upper river is fishing well, the middle stretches of the river are fishing well and the lower is also fishing very well. Wherever you go, be sure to realize while you are out there, that you are alive and in it and it’s not really the fish we are all after, it is the life and opportunities the river and fish give us.              So, the bugs…                                                


The Stoneflies that are working: (Squalla Stones and Regular Salmon Stones)

                        Delektable Stonefly Candy UV Black and the UV Black/Rust Sz 6

                        Delektable Mega Prince Olive Flashback and Standard Sz 6-10

                        Pats Rubber Legs Black or Brown/Black Variegated Sz 8 and 10

                        Pats Rubber Legs Olive/Black Variegated Sz 10 and 12

            The Mayflies that are out: (March Brown and BWO)

                        Delektable Lil’ Spanker Pheasant tail Sz 14 and 18

                        Delektable Lil’ Spanker Silver Sz 12 and 14

                        Pheasant tail Sz 14

                        Olive Pheasant tail Sz 14

                        Prince Nymphs Sz 12-16

            The Caddis Hatch: (Mothers Day Caddis coming up)

                        Delektable Prince Brandon Sz 16

                        Delektable CDC Prince (CH) Sz 14-16

                        Prince Nymphs Sz 14-18

                        Pheasant Tails Sz 14-18

            The Worm hatch:

                        Red Wire Worm

                        Red/Orange Wire Worm

                        Delektable Worm Red Sz 12

            The Streamer bite:

                        Trevor’s Sculpin Black

                        Trevor’s Scuplin Olive

                        Delektable Single Screamer Black/Olive

                        The One Sculpin Black

                        Sheila Sculpin

So as far as the future goes, we can expect the Mother’s Day Caddis about to pop starting on the lower working their way up. So get your dry game ready, because when its on it is really on. If you have any bug questions or questions about the Upper Madison, stop in at the Beartooth Flyshop and see us! We are OPEN 8am-6pm now and will be open later as the season starts to pick up. Feel free to give the shop a call anytime for anything!

Well, that’s it for now, get out there!

Happy Fishing!!!


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April 15th – 28th | Madison River Fishing Report

Flows have been slowly rising out of Hebgen Dam and the weather has been outstanding with most days in the mid 50’s and we even had a couple days touch 70 degrees. This upcoming week is forecasted to be in the mid 60’s most days so get out and enjoy it!


Dan and Nancy had a great time floating the river Saturday for Nancy’s birthday and caught some nice fish on some Delektable prototype streamers earlier in the day and on nymphs in the afternoon.


The fishing has been fairly consistent with the biggest change from the last report being some moderate Baetis hatches, especially closer to town. With that being said, make sure you’ve got a few small Adams or Purple Crazes in the fly box along with your Midge patterns.

Under the surface things are pretty much the same as the last report. The nymph fishing is by far the most consistent tactic. Flies like the Delektable Stonefly Candy, Delektable Epoxyback, Delektable Lil’ Spankers, Serendipities, Princes, Copper Johns, Worms and Eggs will all get ‘em in the right time and place.

The streamer bite has been pretty good and this is one of our favorite times of year to fish big flies as fish are hungry and a little extra opportunistic when the water is faster. Delektable Double Screamers, Sparkle Minnows, Mini Loops, Zonkers and Sheila’s Sculpins should be all you need to find a few fish.

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April 1st – 14th | Madison River Fishing Report

We’re getting used to the spring weather and all the fishing opportunities that come with it. It’s a great time to get out and fish before the water comes up for a while. We enjoyed kicking off the season with a group from Nueva High School’s biology program.

The fishing has been great and they’re moving from their winter lies to some of the quicker water and have been eating a bigger variety of bugs. Delektable Mr. Rubberlegs, Delektable Epoxybacks, Delektable Lil’ Spankers, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Worms, Eggs, Pheasant Tails, and Copper John’s are all good choices for under the old bobber.






The streamer bite has been picking up but they still want it to be moving really slow. The Delektable Single Screamer in Black/Olive, Sheila’s Sculpin, McCune’s Sculpin and Zonkers are all good options.

The dry fly action has been inconsistent but we’ve seen a few Skwalla Stoneflies around and there are still plenty of midges out. Blind fishing a small chubby has convinced a few fish to come up to the surface and a dropper nymph never hurts while looking for an early season dry fly bite. The midge patterns remain the same with Griffith’s Gnat’s, Sipper Midges and CDC Midges being our top picks.

We’ll be in the shop from 8:30-5:30 every day so call or stop in with any good fish stories or questions about the river.

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