Complete Trout School at Madison Valley Ranch, Montana

Learn how to become a complete trout angler on some of the most iconic western rivers

5 out of 5 Customer Rating
Item #2MEL2004
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Complete Trout School At Madison Valley Ranch, Montana


Phone icon866-531-6213 Email iconschools@orvis.com

All-Inclusive Trip includes lodging, meals, and guided fishing

  • Length of trip: 4 nights, 3 days of guided fishing

2022 Dates Coming Soon!
These schools book up quickly, and unfortunately Complete Trout School at Madison Valley Ranch 2021 dates have sold out.
Reach out to our team with any questions - and stay tuned for 2022 dates!


Cancellation Policy & Fees:

If you must cancel your trip, refund fees are based on the cancellation date, as follows:

  • +90 days prior to trip - Full refund
  • 60-90 days prior to trip - 50% of trip cost
  • 59 days or less to trip - 100% of trip cost

Cancellation fees cannot be waived for any reason, including health, business or personal emergencies, or weather. We strongly urge you to purchase trip insurance, by clicking here.

For questions please contact Orvis School and Reservations (toll free) 866-531-6213

Orvis is pleased to offer our travel customers access to two valuable services: Global Rescue travel membership and IMG Signature Travel Insurance℠.

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The Story

Learn how to become a complete trout angler on some of the most iconic western rivers at the new Orvis Complete Trout School at Madison Valley Ranch in Ennis, MT. When people talk about fishing in Big Sky Country on rivers like the Madison, Yellowstone, and the Big Hole, the phrase "big trout" is usually not far behind. While you're at the lodge enjoy luxury accommodations, unparalleled hospitality, and wonderful food. Professionally-trained Chef Matt Pease will prepare gourmet meals made with the freshest and many local ingredients.

Madison Valley Ranch is a perfect location to learn how to fly fish or to improve your skills. Our exceptional instructors can help anyone progress in their fly fishing. Learn how to cast just outside the lodge on Jurassic Pond then put your newfound or refined skills to the test floating down some of the best trout rivers in the West. Whether you are a beginner who would like to get into the sport, or a skilled angler looking to progress to the next level, we have the knowledge and expertise to help. We provide all the newest Orvis equipment, fantastic amenities, and a beautiful setting for the ultimate Fly-Fishing School. Our on-the-water instruction and practice on actual fish can't be duplicated on a city lawn or parking lot.

In this comprehensive school, you will have the opportunity to fish from drift boats or get out and wade for different species of trout, such as brown and rainbow. Learn how to catch trout in many different scenarios. You will learn how to fish with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers and learn how to read the water and select the right fly. The skills and memories you gain here will certainly last a lifetime.

Arrival Day
2:00 Check in.
6:30 Appetizers and cocktails.
7:00 Dinner and introductions with discussion of the class.
Day Two
7:00 Breakfast.
8:30 Brief discussion of equipment (rod, reel, line).
9:15 Pick up and lay down cast. What a fly rod needs to do in order to work.
9:30 Students casting.
10:45 Return to the lodge.
11:00 Discussion on leaders and tippet, knots, and rigging for trout in a variety of situations.
Noon Lunch.
1:00 Discussion on getting your line hand involved, shooting line, false casting, roll casting.
1:15 Students casting.
2:30 Videotape students casting.
3:00 Discussion on fish senses, fly selection, basic entomology.
4:00 Student walk to the river. Discussion on reading water, how to fish dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, and streamers. How and why you mend your line.
5:00 End of first day. Students are welcome to continue to fish until dinner.
6:30 Appetizers and cocktails.
7:00 Dinner - After dinner guests are welcome to fish and look for an evening hatch, but be prepared for an early start and two full days on the water.
Day Three
7:30 Buffet breakfast.
8:00 Depart for full day of guided fishing and try out your new or refined skills.
Noon Lunch served streamside.
4-6 Return to lodge.
6:30 Appetizers and cocktails.
7:00 Dinner.
Day Four
7:30 Buffet breakfast.
8:00 Depart for full day of guided fishing and try out your new or refined skills.
Noon Lunch served streamside.
4-6 Return to lodge.
6:30 Appetizers and cocktails.
7:00 Dinner.
Day Five
7:30 Buffet breakfast.
10:00 Guests depart.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent school and fantastic facility Just completed the school. Cannot say enough good things about the instructors, guides, and the staff at the Madison Valley Ranch. A genuinely first rate facility with wonderful staff, exquisite food, and a beautiful facility. The Madison River provides a wide range of fishing environments; you can do either wading or drifting.
Date published: 2020-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very, Very good school. Very, Very good Lodge This was a fantastic experience. Forrest Hammer is the Orvis instructor that conducted the class. He is extremely nice and easy going. His ability to make simple corrections to your casting form is unbelievable. He can take a very complex action and turn it into a very easy concept to fix casting flaws. Forrest can also fish and read water as well as anyone. His patience is also valued. Great instructor! The Madison Valley Ranch is a very special place. We all caught a lot of fish and I believe we all got a very large fish or two as well. The facility is as nice as I have ever witnessed in an outdoor lodge. Manu and Zac set the tone for the entire experience. They so warm, friendly, helpful and organized. The food is 5 star. The scenery is stunning. The lodge sits right on the madison river. Glorious mountain views, and each day we observed moose, deer, ospreys, eagles, geese, and sandhill cranes. Most mornings and evenings we saw all of these types of wildlife from the lodge. I am considering booking to an ORVIS endorsed lodge in Patagonia. I believe Orvis should send Forrest along with me. It will be the best way to make sure I have the best experience with my next Orvis booking.
Date published: 2019-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best money EVER spent! I'm an absolute novice at fly fishing...and began to wonder what possessed me to enroll in the Orvis Complete Trout School, to be held at Madison Valley Ranch-in Ennis, MT. I found the brochure at the Scottsdale, AZ Orvis shop and took it home on a whim. A few weeks later I had signed up and was shortly there after contacted by phone and had a packet mailed to me...while the phone call was reassuring, I had begun to talk myself into a panic that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. The thought of possible being in the midst of very experienced anglers—while all I could bring to the table would be fears of wildly flying hooks and new body piercings to the unwilling had me thinking of what might be covered by travel insurance! How foolish of me, the moment I arrived at the Madison Valley Ranch I was greeted by both the Orvis instructor-Peter Kutzer and the lodge manager and host Elizabeth Warren. Their genuine welcome immediately put to rest any concerns of performance expectations. This was a school and not a proving grounds trial. Peter is an extremely competent instructor and was able to quickly size up all of us in the group and address the information he was presenting in such a way that it was comprehensible across the knowledge spectrum. He constantly proved visually and verbally with excellent examples of what he wanted us to see for both the dynamic and didactic points. It was a true pleasure to see such a skilled individual demonstrate with ease what he was teaching. His competence fostered my confidence to believe I could follow (at least at some level). I’ve since found Peter online under “Ask a fly fishing instructor” and he is exactly like you see him on his video links. Orvis is very fortunate to have such an individual—but I doubt they need to hear this from me! The fact that Orvis chose to hold this school at Madison Valley Ranch is proof that the do their homework. On it’s own, this lodge is place I don’t want to share with others BECAUSE I want it all to myself! I would be remiss not to share that I was absolutely stunned with the level of competence and professionalism that was present during my stay. Elizabeth Warren & her incredible Chef husband Scott Warren, along with the very friendly and efficient lodge staff made the school that much more incredible. It was difficult to separate the Orvis from the Madison Valley Ranch as the two worked seamlessly to assure the highest level of satisfaction and service. I have already begun to share my photos of the days events (the very competent and friendly river guides documented our catch dutifully) and Elizabeth had hard copies printed in minutes of out return to the lodge daily! Madison Valley Ranch made me feel both welcome and were genuinely concerned that any expectations should be brought forth. What a great place and example of a genuinely interested management. The owners should be very proud of the people that they have working so hard to provide such a great level of service and satisfaction. I will be back; and will share my memories with friends and family of such a wonderful opportunity that I lucked into. Thank you all! Doug Guest of Spanish Peaks
Date published: 2014-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't think twice - just book it! What an adventure! This was my first official fishing trip with guides. Day 1 was spent with Orvis' Peter Kutzer going over the basics for the beginners and advanced techniques for those of us who've fly fished before. It was the perfect day for any skill level: how to read the Madison, how to choose your fly, knots, casting (including my new favorite - the double haul), and so forth. The next two days were spent on the beautiful Madison River with amazing guides. I caught rainbow trout, brown trout, and a mess of huge whitefish. All I could think about while I was here was "living the dream". The ranch is beautiful. The food is world class. The amenities are numerous ("Welcome! Can I offer you a local craft brew or a glass of wine?"). The manager/assistant manager take care of everything and do everything they can to ensure a perfect stay. The pond is stocked and the Madison is right in the backyard. The guides know what they're doing and have the patience of saints. I could go on and on. I dreamed of fishing in Montana for years, and they made it happen with every little luxury you can imagine. I plan to tell everyone I know about it and hopefully return one day! It was worth every penny.
Date published: 2014-08-22
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