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It was summer, a day before July, in West Yellowstone but when we got up in the morning to get ready to fish the Madison River with guides from Big Sky Anglers the thermometer read 33 degrees and there was a thin crust of ice on our vehicle’s windshield. It was cold, but the stoneflies were doing their natural thing over the Madison so we threw on a few layers and headed for the water.

Being close to the 4th of July weekend, we expected the river to be crowded and it was. Today, Madison County probably had the fifth largest navy in the world if you counted up all the boats floating downriver. The cold weather, boats and people made fishing challenging, but it was still very good and we picked up a selection of rainbows and browns before we hit the takeout.

The Madison River is a tributary of the Missouri River that winds its way through Wyoming and Montana. The mighty Missouri River begins where the Madison meets the Jefferson and Gallatin rivers near Three Forks, Montana.

The river was named by explorer Meriwether Lewis in 1805 for Secretary of State James Madison. The western fork was named for President Jefferson and the east fork for Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin.