View Full Version : Need advise on small streams around Ennis Montana

08-02-2009, 02:18 PM
I just posted a request for help under the wrong heading. I should have used this "other states" heading.
I am leaving the 12th of this month for 2 weeks fishing around the Ennis Montana area. We will of course fish the larger well known rivers but if anyone knows the names and approximate locations of some smaller water I sure would like some advise.
I really would appreciate your help..............Bob

Jim Casada
08-02-2009, 08:05 PM
Bob--I've spent a good deal of time in Montana over the years. Basically, all you need to do is look at a map of national forest(s) in the Ennis area and identify small streams 9then figure out how to get to them. Even if they are right alongside the road, they'll be absolutely full of trout and receive little pressure. I visited Montana every summer for 20 years (a good part of that time working in a partnership with an outfitter), and I think the thing which impressed me most was the state's small streams. I've fished all the "big name" rivers, but overall I much prefer smaller creeks. You won't get as many really big fish, but even streams that would be medium or medium small in the Smokies will hold fish in the 12-14 inch range. One specific example, though not in the area where you are going. Belt Creek runs right along Highway 87 (I think I have the number right) as you travel from Great Falls to White Sulphur Springs. In terms of numbers, four of the five "fishiest" days I've ever had were on this stream. The fifth day was on Sheep Creek, also accessible off the same highway (although less of it is public water). Do a bit of advance research, think national forests, and you'll have a blast. Jim Casada

08-02-2009, 10:51 PM
Try Indian Creek in the Madison valley. It enters the Madison I believe at Macatee Bridge. The creek will actually be non-existent where the creekbed goes under the highway into the river. You turn out a dirt road that goes toward the Madison range and dead ends at a parking lot where you will surely see some horse trailers. The reason you don't see water to begin with is because of irrigation demands. Nice stream as you start walking in. Trail is good........too good. September is when I went. Never saw anyone near me fishing, just some outfitters taking folks way on back onto the wilderness.Rainbows and cutthroats. The sign will tell you as leave the parking lot........its bear country. There are grizzlies back there they say. Never saw one but the hair stood up on my neck lots of times. Look at the West Fork of the Madison as well. I've heard that's pretty good at times. Would like to hear how you do when you get back if you think about it !


08-04-2009, 11:12 AM
I just returned from a week in Twin Bridges near Ennis. I recommend you spend a day driving to the west from Ennis to the Ruby River Valley. You'll pass through Virginia City, an old wild west ghost town, with a good restaurant - Bandito's, and a great show in the evening called the Brewery Follies. The Ruby River Valley is a half hour from Ennis. There's a lower section, largely on private land, and an upper section above the reservoir on National Forest. I like the upper section because you don't have to worry about access.

To get to the upper section, turn left in the Ruby Valley and go above the Ruby reservoir. The road will turn to gravel and you will pass through a large ranch with bison. This is Ted Turner's property. Anywhere Mr. Turner owns property, the fishing is usually prime.


Above this, there are several nice public campgrounds and miles of river along the gravel road. You can jump in almost anywhere, but watch for private in-holdings with fences along the river in the first few miles. The rainbows average 12" and there are browns, cutthroats as well as grayling. The stream is easily wadeable, and if you are ever in doubt about public/ private land stay below the high water mark. It's a great area with very little pressure, because you are away from the park and the busier Madison River corridor. Hope you can make it there.


08-06-2009, 11:56 AM
great photos. My wife has been after me to see that area of the country. So between the photos, my wife and the upcoming Ken Burns series I guess a trip out west will be in the works

08-07-2009, 04:54 PM
Thanks guys for your input. I really appreciate it. The photos are fantastic, and I made note on all of the places you suggested and If possible we will fish each one of them. We are scheduled to float the Madison on 8/14 and we will also fish the Ruby, the Big Hole, the Jefferson and probably some stream in Yellowstone.......MANY THANKS.............Bob