What's a typical day at the Madison Valley Ranch?
The day typically begins with a delightful buffet breakfast with lots variety to ensure you are well fueled for a day on the River! Shortly after breakfast, guides arrive and guest are off for an awesome day of fishing, typically returning between 4-6 pm depending on their fishing goals and stretch of River fished. Guests then gather for appetizers, drinks, and the inevitable trout tales! Once salads are served, everyone sits down together at our 2 large tables to enjoy a casual gourmet, 4-course dinner. Those who want to wet a line after dinner can head down to the Channels section of the Madison (a 50 yard walk), tempt the Kamloop rainbows in the Pond, or hunt for the trout in Jack creek (which are right out the door) until it gets dark. You can also spend your evening relaxing in the hot tub or just taking in the constellations and resident wildlife!
I have never fly fished before is that a problem?
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 seasoned instructors and 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 and enjoy a day on the River under the Big Sky.
On what rivers do you typically fish?
We most often fish on the Madison River, which is typically from a drift boat. Fishing from a drift boat is a truly spectacular way to see a great deal of water and hook into some nice fish. Since you are floating as the same speed as the current you get very long drifts with your flies. There are no concerns about 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 on the Madison River. In fact, the Channels section behind the ranch is a wade-only part of the river. From full days of wade fishing to a combination of drift boat/wade fish days, we can easily cater to your fishing desires! And, thanks to our central location, our guests also enjoy fishing the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Ruby, Gallatin, and Yellowstone rivers. Ask us about fishing different waters as we firm up your reservation so we can set you up with the most suitable guide.
What about gear, what do I need?
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. Our ranch pro shop is stocked with plenty of the right flies and your guides will help you pick out what you need. Fishing licenses can be purchased in any of the fly shops in downtown Ennis, or online via our house computer. Don’t forget rain gear as well as warm clothes (especially if you are coming early or late in the season). It always helps to pack several layers. We also have ORVIS rods, reels and bootfoot waders available for guest use at no charge.
My partner does not fish, what can they do while I fish?
There are many ways to enjoy yourself even if you are not fishing. We often recommend spending at least one day riding along on the boat. It’s a great way to relax, see wildlife and the beautiful scenery and spend a nice day outside. Other options include scheduling a horseback ride, spending the day in historic mining town of Virginia City (a must see town only 14 miles away), visiting the Lewis & Clark Caverns, Bozeman, Big Sky, or Yellowstone National Park (only 72 miles away). And don’t forget Ennis; it’s a great place to spend the day. If you feel like getting pampered, ask us about the full day spa located downtown. Or you can just take it easy and relax, read or rest at the Madison Valley Ranch. You certainly do not have to be a fisherman to enjoy Madison Valley Ranch!
Will our group be able to have lunch together on the river?
We’ll try our best! All you have to do is communicate that with us or your guides, and we’ll make it happen the best we can. Please keep in mind the logistics though. Our drift boats don’t have motors! While it is pretty simple for us to have lunch in a party of 2-4 boats, it can be harder to keep the groups close together when we have 5-12 boats. We like to spread out on the river for the best fishing/experience, so it is common for us to split large parties into two separate lunch groups. Pun intended…we like to go with the flow around here!
What is the best airport to fly into?
Gallatin Field, Bozeman, MT (airport code BZN) is the closest commercial airport with a 55 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. Airlines flying into Bozeman are Alaska, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United and Jet Suite. Butte, MT is next with a drive of 75 miles. Other options include West Yellowstone, MT. (summer only) at 75 miles, Idaho Falls, ID at 160 miles and Jackson Hole, WY at 180 miles or Billings, MT at 200 miles. Salt Lake City is a 6 hour drive to Ennis.
You may also choose to fly into the Ennis private airfield (KEKS), located just a 10-minute drive from the ranch. We would be happy to arrange for a shuttle or rental car to be waiting for you.
What flight arrival/departure times should I look for?
Check-in at MVR is at 2PM. In a perfect world you would arrive at MVR then so that you can take the afternoon to unwind or go fishing. Look for flights arriving into Bozeman between 10AM-1PM. It should take just over an hour to get from the terminal to MVR. If you get to Ennis before 2PM, let us know because we may be able to check you in early (more time to fish!). If not, plan on having lunch in downtown Ennis. We have a great brewery, distillery, shopping, fly shops and more. Don’t worry if you can’t make it by 2pm either. Checking in between 2-6 PM is common, but you won’t want to miss dinner at 7PM!
Check-out is 10AM. Departure flights after 12PM are ideal, and will give you plenty of time to enjoy breakfast and possibly wet a line before heading out.
How do I get to the Ranch from the airport?
Renting a car is a great option, especially if you are staying more than 3 nights and are taking a day off from fishing, it gives you some flexibility. We can also arrange a shuttle, so just let us know your preference. The cost is $200.00 per person round trip for the first two people. Each additional person costs $40 per person round trip and there is a $20 surcharge for any stops along the way.
Is there a shuttle to the Ranch from the airports?
There is a shuttle service available from the Bozeman airport. The cost is $200.00 per person round trip for the first two people. Each additional person costs $40 per person round trip and there is a $20 surcharge for any stops along the way.
Is there cellphone service at the Ranch?
Yes, although some of the places where you fish may not. Verizon and At&t have the best coverage in the Madison Valley, but most providers should have service on the Ranch. We also offer wifi throughout the entire property.
What amount do guests typically tip their guides each day?
In this region it is customary to tip your guide between $120-150 at the end of each day. If you are fishing with the same guide for consecutive days and would like to tip them after your last trip, please communicate this with them on the first day. Cash is preferred, but we can add guide gratuities to your invoice at checkout I’d you’d like to pay with a credit card.
Interested in booking a trip to Madison Valley Ranch?
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