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Fishing the Madison River In Montana And Yellowstone National Park with Big Sky Anglers

If you are headed to the Madison River in either Montana or Yellowstone National Park, the people to connect with for helpful advice, where to go or to schedule a float trip or guided trip, contact the folks at Big Sky Angers in West Yellowstone.

Float on the Madison River

With over 13 professional guides, a variety of guide packages and a friendly, motivated, and experienced staff, these folks live fly fishing day in and day out, and love to teach and share their knowledge and passion. Stop in, say hello, and they will set you on the right track to have a great experience on the local waters. At Shake, Rattle and Troll, we found the staff to be experienced and knowledgeable with a complete line of fly rods, reels, and lines, reliable wading gear and clothing, gadgets, flies, and terminal tackle.

Our experience says if you are new to this area, Big Sky Anglers is the preferred choice for fishing all the rivers and lakes this area.

Fishing The Madison River

The Madison River is a headwater tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 183 miles long, in Wyoming and Montana. Its confluence with the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers near Three Forks, Montana forms the Missouri River.

The Madison rises in Park County in northwestern Wyoming at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers, a location known as Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park. It flows west then north through the mountains of southwestern Montana to join the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers at Three Forks. The Missouri River Headwaters State Park is located on the Madison at Three Forks. In its upper reaches in Gallatin County, Montana, the Hebgen Dam forms Hebgen Lake. In its middle reaches in Madison County, Montana, the Madison Dam forms Ennis Lake and provides hydroelectric power. In 1959, the Hebgen Lake earthquake formed Quake Lake just downstream from Hebgen Dam. Downstream from Ennis, the Madison flows through Bear Trap Canyon, known for its class IV-V whitewater. The Bear Trap Canyon section is part of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness area.

The river was named in July 1805 by Meriwether Lewis at Three Forks. The central fork of the three, it was named for U.S. Secretary of State James Madison, who would succeed Thomas Jefferson as President in 1809. The western fork, the largest, was named for President Jefferson and the east fork for Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin.

The Madison is a Class I river in Montana for the purposes of access for recreational use.

Big Sky Anglers – Meet the Owners

Joe Jonathan Justin of Big Sky Anglers

Joe Moore founded the original version of Big Sky Anglers in 2004. In 2016, Jonathan Heames “Fly Fishing” merged with Big Sky Anglers, where Jonathan is a co-owner and senior guide on the Henry’s Fork and other waters. In 2015 Justin Spence, after co-founding the West Yellowstone Fly Shop in 2000, joined Big Sky Anglers. Since their merger, Big Sky Anglers has become the leading “go to” authority on fly fishing in the Montana and Yellowstone lake and river systems.

Their knowledge and Experience in the Madison and Yellowstone area provides customers with a great experience.

History of Big Sky Anglers

Bud Lilly

Bud Lilly founded the modern Trout Shop in 1950 when he purchased the inventory of a small tackle shop originally founded by Don Martinez (perhaps West Yellowstone’s original fly fishing expert) from Charles Borberg. Much has been written about Bud, a World War II veteran and one of the pioneers of guided fishing in Yellowstone Country. Bud casts a long shadow across the fly fishing world, having mentored many of the next generation of angling legends. His efforts and personality, along with others, paved the way for all of us who have made lives through fly fishing. For that, we will forever be grateful.

The original Trout Shop was in the back of what is now Eagles Store, at the corner of Yellowstone Avenue and Canyon Street. The shop moved to its well-known spot at Madison and Canyon, currently occupied by Big Sky Anglers, in 1967. Bud and his family ran the shop proudly until 1982. A series of owners continued the tradition until Big Sky Anglers purchased the business in 2016.

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