At the Madison Valley Ranch, our backyard is a fly fisherman’s playground. Spectacular Big Sky Country views inspire, and the daily activity of our wildlife takes you back to a different time. You can escape from the hectic pace of everyday life and indulge in a luxury adventure where all the details are someone else’s worries and you are just warmly welcomed.
April 15th - October 31st.
We pride ourselves on folks being able to arrive at the Ranch without a single fly-fishing item and being able to head out for a fabulous day of fishing! Our packages include use of our Orvis rods, reels and bootfoot waders.
Located in the heart of SW Montana, the Madison Valley Ranch offers anglers unparalleled access to wild trout on renowned blue ribbon rivers.
The Madison River is often considered the greatest trout river in the world and we have over 140 miles of densely populated waters at our fingertips. If that wasn’t enough, a short drive and you can be fishing on the Yellowstone, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby or Gallatin Rivers.
Madison Valley Ranch Property
The "Channels" section of the Madison River flows right behind the lodge and is a great section to fish. This area is wade fishing only with limited access and has a variety of water to fish. The "Channels" section is a great dry-fly fishery with an abundance of caddis hatches throughout the summer. Our guests particularly enjoy fishing this section in the evening, although it can also be a great way to warm up your fly-fishing muscles on arrival or departure days.
Jack Creek, a tributary of the Madison River, flows through the lodge property and is a great little dry-fly stream. With this private access, you can expect plenty of action with the resident brown trout.
The Jurassic Pond at the Madison Valley Ranch covers 2 acres and is located right next to the lodge. It is loaded with large, feisty Kamloop rainbows. Most folks fish from shore. The pond is a great place to learn or sharpen your skills. And, don’t be surprised if you catch yourself heading out after dinner to catch on a large trout during the evening hatch before bed!
The Madison River – Probably the most recognized trout stream in the world. The Madison offers 140 miles of trout bearing water. Known for its amazing salmon fly hatch and great hopper fishing, the Madison offers the most consistent fishing of all the rivers we fish. Day in and day out the Madison offers more and bigger fish. This river is great for both wading and floating combinations. Whether you are a novice or seasoned pro, the Madison River will appeal to your angling desires.
The Yellowstone River – The longest undammed trout stream on Earth. This is a great dry-fly river with lots of gravel bars. The Yellowstone provides your best opportunity for catching cutthroat trout. Known for its great hatches, we like to fish the Yellowstone in May, August and September.
Gallatin River- Another classic western trout stream. It's wade fishing only with lots of access.
Ruby River – This wade only river is narrow, meandering, with bushy banks and undercut banks along with some nice deep holes. Because of its challenges, the Ruby is not fished as much as other area rivers and the solitude and rewards of nice browns can make it worth the effort.
The Beaverhead River – This river offers great opportunities for large brown trout. It can be the most challenging river we fish due to its smaller size and finicky fish. The Beaverhead is not ideal for the beginner, but can be well worth the effort.
The Big Hole River – This is a classic western trout stream. The Big Hole is loaded with drop-offs, gravel bars, and lots of structure. We do a lot of wading on this river and use the drift boats more for access than to fish from. The Big Hole is known as a brown trout fishery, but it also provides your best chance at catching a grayling.
Private Water Spring Creeks – In southwest Montana there are a variety of great private water spring creeks we fish. Based on your fishing goals, we will help you determine the best creek to fish during your stay. Milesnicks, Depuys, Armstrong, and Nelsons all provide great dry fly hatches. Rod fees vary based on individual creeks.
Mid-April to May – Springtime is probably the best kept secret in Montana. All the rivers are low and clear prior to run off. You can expect lots of nymph and streamer fishing and surprisingly enough, dry flies as well. Caddis hatches provide some outstanding fishing throughout the spring. It's a great time to experience Montana as it greens up and as aggressive fish attack your fly.
June – June is a transition month in Montana. The snow pack determines how the fishing will be this month. For the last three years June has been an exceptional time to fish. Salmon-fly fishing typically begins at the end of June. Check with us to find out the status of the snow pack.
July – August – Lots of fun and sun. Late June and early July brings out the salmon flies on the Madison and the Big Hole. July offers lots of great hatches. In August you can start thinking big hopper patterns fished on the surface. We typically fish 2 flies at a time with a dry fly and nymph combination. You can expect great weather and fishing conditions.
September – Montana is beautiful in the fall. We still use large dry attractor patterns on the surface in early September. There is lots of great action all month long. The weather is usually mild and sunny and you can expect all of the rivers to be low, clear, and fishing well.
October – WE LOVE OCTOBER! You can expect awesome fishing from very aggressive fish. The weather can be some what unpredictable but the fish don’t mind. If you are a serious fisherman that enjoys fishing streamers then Oct. is the month for you.
Our goal is for you to have the trip of a lifetime and we do so by customizing packages and itineraries that best fits your fishing and Big Sky Country desires. Take a look at our offerings, and give us a call to learn how to make your fly fishing dreams come true!
Like going over to your best friend’s backyard BBQ where everything and everyone is ready and waiting with open arms, the staff at the Madison Valley Ranch sincerely welcomes you to feel at home, sit back, relax, and take advantage of all that this pristine property and SW Montana have to offer.
Enjoy your time at the ranch where trout tales and camaraderie abound – not to mention great food. A gourmet four-course dinner with appetizers and drinks may tempt you away from your own relaxing but spectacular porch views. Watch marvelous mountain sunsets, sandhill cranes in their mating dance, a fox popping out of its hole, or an eagle soaring.
Meandering trails lead you from the ranch down to the river for a bird watching stroll, or an invigorating run. Afterwards, you can take a soak in our hot springs hot tub as you take in the Big Sky and backdrop of the three mountain ranges framing the Madison Valley.
After dinner hit the hatch for our private Jurassic Pond rainbows. Or test your skill on Jack Creek, and even sneak down the path for more wild trout in our backyard Channels of the Madison River. We suspect you'll find yourself not wanting to leave!
Located in the heart of SW Montana, the Madison Valley Ranch offers anglers unparalleled access to wild trout on renowned blue ribbon rivers, but that’s not all…There are plenty of outdoor activities and attractions to fulfill everyone's desires!
Yellowstone National Park
Only 72 miles from the Madison Valley Ranch, Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 as America’s first National Park. Exploring this national treasure is an excellent sightseeing activity. Experience Old Faithful, the most popular geyser in the world, or view the colorful Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. View bears and wolves, elk and buffalo in the Lamar and Hayden valleys. Learn about the history of national parks and the National Park Service. Hiking, camping, fishing, or attending a Ranger-led program or a Yellowstone Institute class, are also popular activities.
Virginia & Nevada City
These famous historical mining ghost towns are only 15 miles from the Madison Valley Ranch, and are certainly worth exploring. Virginia City sits high in the Rocky Mountains in a bowl along Alder Gulch, where gold was first discovered in 1863, during the Civil War. Within a year the town grew to over 10,000 and became the Territorial Capital in 1865. Today, Virginia City, Montana's main street provides an exceptional example of commercial architecture from the later eighteen hundreds. Many of the original structures are filled with original artifacts. The buildings are both historic and architecturally significant, especially for the Victorian era. This is cultural tourism at its best and self guided tours are available.
Lewis & Clark Caverns
Montana's first and best-known state park showcases one of the most highly decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest. Naturally air conditioned, these spectacular caves, lined with stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helicitites, date back through time. See the geologic development, the history of early exploration and gain an insight into the delicate ecology of this world without light. Plan to spend a minimum of two hours to hike two miles on a guided tour through the caverns. The park also provides hiking trails, a visitor center, an amphitheater, and several picnic areas.
Shopping & Touring
Bozeman, West Yellowstone, Big Sky, and Ennis all have many fine shops, galleries and restaurants. Be sure to ask about specifics when you arrive and we’ll chart out a day of shopping and touring that fits your ideal itinerary. Driving around Southwest Montana is a great way to take in the vast mountain vistas and we can point you in the right direction for a day of sightseeing.
Madison Meadows Golf Course
Madison Meadows Golf Course is a 9-hole course located in the scenic Madison valley. This challenging course runs through the foothills of the Gravelly Mountain Range. Host to one of Montana's toughest Par 5's, this course brings you back time after time. Although Madison Meadows is always active, it's easy to get a tee time.
Full and half-day rides can be arranged in advance of your visit. We use Bar 88 for our horse outings. Their goal is to provide you with a Montana horseback ride tailored to meet specific riding experience and adventure requests of your group. They will customize your horseback ride based upon individual preferences and time schedules in order to provide you with personal service and customer satisfaction. They use well trained horses accustom to mountain trail riding. Rides are conducted on a variety of trails in the Beaverhead National Forest and mountain elevations range from 5,000-11,000 feet.
Other Recreational Opportunities
In Southwest Montana, the outdoor recreational opportunities abound. Hiking is a great way to explore the mountains and spot wildlife. Cowboy Heaven is a local favorite for getting your heart rate up, taking in great views of the Madison River, Ennis Lake, and expansive views of the Madison Valley. This is a great ½ day (1-2 hours) hike. Follow Jack Creek and enjoy a great full day hike in the Gallatin-Madison Range, or veer off at Mill Creek to gain elevation quickly and reward yourself with the spectacular views of Fan Mountain and Lone Peak. For the more advanced hiker, trekking to Helmet pass and Sphinx Mountain is an awesome full day hike with great views, wildflowers, and wildlife. These are just a few of the area hikes we recommend.
There are also many alpine lakes in the area with some nice fishing opportunities. Depending on the time of year and snow pack, we can point you in the right direction for a little hiking, solitude and plenty of chances to present flies to trout in alpine lakes.
Mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes…the diversity and quantity of birds should thrill both the serious and casual bird watchers. Simply walk outside of the lodge and you’ll have opportunities to view eagles, hawks, Canadian geese, sand hill cranes, ducks, and more. Or, we can create custom outings to accommodate the birders’ goals.
With an array of area lakes, boating can be an enjoyable morning or afternoon outing. Designated as a Montana Wildlife viewing site, Wade and Cliff lakes are a wonderful place to rent a boat and enjoy the resident wildlife. Plenty of other boating opportunities are available, although Wade and Cliff Lakes may be the most revered. Full day motor boats rentals costs $75 and ½ day costs $50. Canoe rentals run from $25-$35.
Whether you’re an amateur, hobby, or professional photographer, these recreational opportunities could easily provide you with the shot of a lifetime. Depending on your desires, we can point you in the right direction for the shot you’ve been waiting for.
Outside each room’s front porch offers a countryside view of the surrounding three mountain ranges, the ever-changing Montana Big Sky and the resident wildlife in the fields. While each room changes slightly in size and bed configurations, the local, warm western touches are consistent in all. Although, we suspect you’ll find yourself continually enticed outside to wet a line one last time before bed, or to be entertained by Big Sky country.
Various gathering areas, from great room to game rooms to broad porches, provide a relaxing environment to catch up with friends, check emails using Wi-fi or the house computer, watch HD satellite TV, or even schedule a corporate meeting using the fully equipped conference space (talk about a meeting outside the box)! Enjoy the hot tub as a relaxing way to marvel at the outrageously clear Big Sky. Combine all this with your well appointed guest rooms and you’ll be rejuvenated for the next days’ great adventure! The food at the "Ranch" is memorable and the perfect compliment to your adventure. Orvis’ Guide to Great Sporting Lodge Cuisine says it best:
After a day spent in the outdoors, the chance to come back to a meal from world-class chef Scott Warren is a fitting end to the day. Using the finest local ingredients as well as imported mainstays, Scott sets a table that ranks at the top of the lodge cuisine anywhere in the world.
Let us take care of the details, while you enjoy our luxury lodging, gourmet meals, and pristine property! We can customize your package and are very flexible!! If you want to fish less, sight see more or whatever else you want to do, please let us know.
In SW MT, the primary species sought after are wild trout! Our rivers and streams are populated with rainbows, browns, cutthroat, cutbows, and even brook trout. But, you may also have opportunity to catch our native, Montana whitefish and grayling.
Personal Gear: Polarized Sunglasses, Rain Gear, Hat, Sun Screen, Camera, Gloves (spring/fall), Layers of clothing (fleece, etc.), Swimsuit (for Hot Tub).
Fishing Gear: These are just suggestions; please don't feel like you need to arrive with the following gear:
If you are going to buy flies, we suggest that you buy them when you get here. This is a general list and often times we might be using additional patterns. Ennis has 2 very fine fly shops and we also stock flies at the lodge.
Q. I have never fished from a drift boat, will I like it?
A. Fishing from a drift boat is an awesome way to fish. Since you are floating the same speed as the current is you get very long drifts with your flies, you are not worried about slipping and falling because of slippery rocks and current, plus you don't need to worry about trees on your back cast. That being said, there are also plenty of fabulous wade fishing options in our backyard. In fact, behind the ranch is a wade only section. From full days wade fishing only to combination drift boat/wade fish days, we can easily cater to your fishing desires!
Q. My partner does not fish, what can they do while I fish?
A. There are many options. Often times for at least one of the days they will ride along on the fishing trip. It's a great way to relax, see wildlife and spend a nice day outside. Other options include scheduling a horseback ride, spending the day in Virginia City (a must see town only 14 miles away), visiting Bozeman, Big Sky or Yellowstone National Park (only 72 miles away). Or you can just take it easy and relax, read or rest at the Madison Valley Ranch. Don't forget Ennis, it's a great place to spend the day.
Q. I have never fly fished before is that a problem?
A. That is not a problem in the least. In fact the Madison River is the best river around for beginners. All of our guides are also great instructors; they will spend all the time you need making sure that you are comfortable with your cast and presentation so that you will have the skills to catch some fish.
Q. What's a typical day at the Madison Valley Ranch?
A. Breakfast is usually served around 7:30 am. We are usually on the water by 8:30 (sometimes sooner or later depending on the river we fish) and off the river between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Appetizers are served around 6:45 with dinner at 7:15. If for some reason you don't feel like you got enough fishing in, you can always head down to the Channels section of the Madison (a 50 yard walk) or fish the pond and Jack Creek (which are right out the door) until it gets dark (around 9-10:00). Or, you can spend your evening relaxing in the hot tub or just taking in the constellations of our Big Sky!
Q. What about gear, what do I need?
A. Upon booking your stay at the Madison Valley Ranch we will promptly send you an equipment list, map and confirmation. As far as rods go we recommend an 8½ to 9 foot 5 or 6 weight rod with corresponding reel. Chest waders are recommended vs. hip boots. Flies can be purchased at the ranch and licenses can be purchased in Ennis. Don't forget rain gear as well as warm clothes (especially if you are coming early or late in the season). We have ORVIS rods & reels available for guest use, along with waders.
Q. Should I rent a car?
A. In most cases I think you should especially if you are staying more than 3 nights and are taking a day off from fishing, it gives you some flexibility. We can arrange a shuttle, so just let us know your preference.
Q. What is the best airport to fly into?
A. Gallatin Field, Bozeman, MT (airport code BZN) is the closest airport with a 50 mile drive. With over 10 cities offering direct flights, BZN is the 7th busiest passenger airport in the Pacific Northwest. This is our top recommendation for the best airport due to multiple flights/carriers, and ease. Plus, you'll enjoy a beautiful drive along the lower section of the Madison River on your way to the ranch. Butte, MT. is next with a drive of 75 miles. Other options include West Yellowstone, MT. (summer only) at 75 miles, Billings at 175 miles, Idaho Falls at 160 miles and Jackson Hole at 175 miles. Salt Lake City is a 6 hour drive to Ennis.
Q. Is there a shuttle to the Ranch from the airports?
A. There is a shuttle service available from the Bozeman airport. The cost is $170.00 per person round trip for the first person. Each additional person costs $40 per person round trip.
Q. I would like to stay at the ranch but don't need guided fishing, is that a problem?
A. Not a bit. You do not need to fish with us to stay with us. We will adjust the price accordingly. We can also assist you in where you might want to go fishing if you want to go on your own.
Q. What about children?
A. We do not encourage or discourage children under 12 years of age. But we are not really set up to handle them. We are a fishing lodge not a dude ranch and even though we offer horseback riding and things of that nature it not a place where you can send your children out horseback riding and you go fishing and expect them to be taken care of when they are done and you are still on the river. We can look at each individual circumstance.
Don’t hesitate to call or Email us with any other questions you might have!
Overall: 5.0 / 5 based on 97 reviews
97 of 97 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
ATruly Terrific Trout Time! -
By: Troutfisherwoman from Ennis, MT 59729, USA
The old saying, "You can't go home again" was definitely proven false as we returned to the Madison Valley Ranch for a second year of incredible fishing, food, fun and relaxation. Elizabeth and Scott Warren make a superb team, with her enthusiasm and attention to detail making for a flawless experience and his gourmet cooking making every meal an incredible treat. Combine that with gorgeous Montana weather, the best guides in the business and some outstanding trout and you have the vacation of a lifetime. Going back NEXT YEAR for a longer stay and more fun and games.
best lodge experience -
By: greatwhiteadventures from texas
Madison valley ranch has it all, great lodging, great fishing, great food, great staff, great guides. Convenient access through Bozeman, easy shuttle service. Wildlife, bald and golden eagles, osprey, pronghorn antelope, white tail deer, elk Montana skies, and pleasant weather Bring your own or try their Orvis gear. Nothing is left out, total attention to detail. a first class, high class experience
5 star Fishing, Food & Accommodations -
By: FlyRodgers from Dallas, tx
Amazing stay. Elizabeth and her team were fantastic!
WOW - it does not get any better! -
By: shealy from Wilmington, DE
OMG - it really does NOT get any better than MVR. From the very first online inquiry to the end of my trip, no detail was overlooked. Elizabeth, Scott, Ann - the entire MVR staff attend to every detail of every guest - always with infectious enthusiasm and a genuine desire to make your stay at MRV unforgettable. The food is amazing - do not miss trying everything - especially dessert!! You'll be a member of the "clean plate" club - promise! The guides from Eaton Outfitters were superb. Having never fly fished before, I was a little nervous about the trip. Julie & Dave were awesome - very patient, knew the river well and where the fish were. I learned a lot and caught a ton of fish! This was the first of many trips I'll make to MVR.
What a trip !!!!!!!!! -
By: Coalhog1 from Apollo Pa
My son Adam and I booked this trip, really not knowing what to expect. We did expect to catch fish, but what we found at MVR was so much more than just fishing !! The staff from Elizabeth, Anne, Scott, Matt and all the others made this the trip of a lifetime for a father and son. We sincerely thank them all for a great trip,
By: JV54 from Shavertown, PA, USA
If Madison Valley Ranch is not Heaven it is a close second. Our week there was perfect and I would not change a thing. The service and food were fantastic. Elizabeth, Scott and the entire MVR team are great. Also, the fishing was off the charts with 60-70 fish days. The guides from Eaton Outfitters, Chris, Brandon, Joe, Scott and the entire team are the best in the world. There is no doubt we will return to MVR and they get my vote for Lodge of the year 2014.
Coming Home -
By: BeaverBeliever from Eugene, OR, USA
IF there is one thin I look forward to every spring is our annual visit to Madison Valley Ranch. The accomodations, the excellent food and the finest fishing around bring us back every year. THe host Elizabeth Warren is the epitome of what a host should be. Personable, energetic, thorough, great fun are just a few of the adjectives that describe her. She attends to every detail for every guest. She truly makes you feel like you are coming home. If you want big active hungry trout, a wonderful place to relax and meals beyond compare, Madison Valley Ranch is truly home!
Absolutely world class! -
By: hollywood1266 from Boston MA
Can't possibly say enough good things about MVR. As an Orvis endorsed lodge, we arrived with high expectations as it was. Those expectations, on every single facet of the trip, were completely blown out of the water. From the second of our arrival, when Elizabeth sprinted out the door to greet us, to the sad day we had to pack up to go home, Madison Valley Ranch was perfect. Spending 4 days and 5 nights anywhere you would always expect something to not go right, or not be as expected. At MVR? Not a single complaint. Not one. The accommodation, the scenery, the food, the unbelievable 4 course meals every night, and the camaraderie at those meals;everything was perfect. And then there was the fishing. Two complete novices at fly-fishing, and between Elizabeth and our guide Chris we were catching fish within minutes. The most beautiful fish, in the most perfect location. If you're reading reviews of the different lodges, trying to decide where to go, then stop now and call Elizabeth. You won't regret it...GUARANTEED! Elizabeth, Scott and team..thank you for a perfect amazing vacation - absolutely ZERO doubt in my mind that we'll be back - I just need to work out how I can swing it at home without waiting a full year till next summer.
What are you waiting for? -
By: AnglingToReturn from New Jersey
Where to start? Everything about Madison Valley Ranch is almost beyond description. From the natural beauty of the Madison Valley to the graciousness of the staff to the excitement of pulling out rainbows and browns from the river to the excellence of each meal to the knowledge of the river guides, everything seems to yell out “COME BACK AGAIN!” The day begins at 6:30 (if you don’t sleep in) for hot coffee in the spacious yet cozy ranch house. Be sure and catch the sun as it crests over the mountains. Even the deer in the nearby field seem to be excited to start the day. A five star breakfast is at 7:30. The pastry is fresh and the bacon is thick and crisp. Have an extra Eggs Benedict…the sauce is extraordinary. Your guide arrives shortly thereafter and you’re good to go. Either Anne or Elizabeth (more about her later) will see you off, wishing you luck and distributing cameras so that you are able to capture the day in fish for pictures in the lodge at cocktail hour. When we hit the river in our boat, I swear that our guide Chris C. had an extra set of eyes and hands for what he was able to accomplish. Swapping out flies, keeping a rainbow trout alive in the water until we could take a picture, control the boat so that our lines fell perfectly (not an easy feat since I had never fly fished before), reminding us to “mend” our lines and (I swear) being able to see the fish before it even knows it’s hungry for our fly. And he’d been guiding for ten years so he knew every inch of the river. His demeanor was patient and encouraging throughout. I would say we had more fun than fish out on the river…and we caught a lot of fish! Lunch was a ½ sandwich of our choosing, plus cookies and a drink and a granola bar and an apple, etc. – far too much, but always looked forward to and enjoyed. Chris was able to identify every animal either in the air (saw a couple of bald eagles) or on the river bank as well as give us a quick course in the life of the salmon fly that helped us understand why we were using the flies he suggested. (His stories of his winters guiding men into the mountains on horseback and mule to hunt elk is stuff out of a Jack London novel.) Truly amazing guy. Couldn’t have asked for better. More about the fish. If you are unexperienced as I was, you’ll be up to speed in no time. You’ll soon get a feel for what type of fish you have on your line by the amount of fight it has in it. Out guide was as excited as we were to pull in the gorgeous rainbow and brown trout, always patiently giving us tips to get the fish near the boat so that he could easily net it. Quite often it was necessary to celebrate with a cigar when a really big one was brought on board. Don’t forget to look up every now and then to witness the grandeur of Big Sky Country as you go down river. The beauty of the scenery was a revelation to this Jersey Boy. After fishing we returned to the ranch mid-afternoon to a welcoming Elizabeth who greeted us on the porch with a beaming “How’d you guys do today?” Her enthusiasm and excitement was truly one of the high points of the day. If you find someone better suited to their job in this world, I’d like to meet them. She has a natural warmth and curiosity that make her the perfect hostess. She’ll offer you a beer or wine from the amply stocked fridges and listen to your fish tales. It was like swapping stories with the prettiest tom-boy who was highly knowledgeable because she has fished the same river. Cocktail hour and the stories and wine flowed freely. Everyone met new friends from around the country and everyone either had a picture to show or a story of the “one that got away.” No one came away from the day empty handed, though. You bragged about how many fish you pulled into your boat and someone will top you. And on to dinner… I think it was the four course menu that convinced my wife that I had to go to Madison Valley Ranch. Each course that Scott prepared was the perfect portion and the taste was as astonish
A unique experience!!! -
By: calflyfisher from Thousand Oaks, CA, USA
We make flyfishing lodge visits to Montana a yearly event, and the Madison Valley Ranch does not disappoint. The lead team of Elizabeth and Scott Warren, although quite different personalities, bring excellence to the MVR operating team. Elizabeth is vocal and welcoming from the start and her vibrant personality never rests. Scott is an excellent cook that consistently puts good fare on the table. The surroundings are excellent with fishable waters on the ranch and many guideable rivers and streams close by. MVR ranks in our bood right up there with the best Orvis fishing lodges. We definitely look forward to our next visit.