Ennis Lake is a medium sized reservoir that separates the Upper and Lower Madison Rivers. A day trip on Ennis Lake is a great option when planning a Montana fly fishing trip. The lake is located just minutes from the town of Ennis and is also a short drive for anglers fishing around Bozeman.
Ennis lake is a very shallow impoundment with most of the lake less than 8 feet deep. The inlet where the Channels of the Madison drain into the lake provide shallow flats with weedbeds that harbor outstanding trout habitat. These shallow flats also allow for wade fishing. We use drift boats to access the upper half of the lake during prime hatches that take place on the lake in the late summer. The majority of the fishing on Ennis lake is sight fishing to large cruising browns and rainbows. We either fish directly from the drift boat or get out and wade on some of the flats. Occasionally we split a day with the morning spent casting to rising trout on Ennis lake and the afternoon spent fly fishing the Madison River.
Fishing is good early in the season when the ice first melts but the fish are deeper and blind fishing around drops and structure is most productive. As the summer progresses callibaetis and tricorythode mayflies become the dominant food source for the trout. Intense hatches occur daily in the late summer producing a daily feeding frenzy that every fly fisherman should experience. Trout feeding during these famous hatches have been labeled "gulpers" after the frequent sucking noise they make as they swim around with open mouths while inhaling the hatching mayflies.
Calibates hatch still going strong on ennis lake. Good numbers of fish still working on the surface , but are getting smarter. Last week a size 16 pheasant tail couldn't miss. Now ... morenot so much. Actually did better on a size 18 blond parachute Adams. On the surface. Seems like less people lately. Thoughts are turning to shotguns and bows. The hatch usually starts around 9:00 or 9:30. Bugs peak around. 12:00. Then the wind usually comes up by 2:00 and shuts the whole thing down. Upcoming cold weather could Change thing s mayflies don't like cold weather. We will see.
Wednesday, 31 Aug, 2016
Everything is starting to color up the ups and down of spring runoff has begun. We fished Ennis lake day befor yesterday and the water color was definitely off. What I like to call ... moresteelhead green. We fished a long day, got the lake around 9;00 in the morning and got off around 6:00 that evening. Hooked about 15 fish all big, the largest was a 21 inch rainbow but all were over 16in, The MVP for the day was a size 8 crystal bugger fished slow and deep. We used a sink tip line and fished mostly in the mouths of the river channels coming in. Weed growth hasn't really started in earnest ,making the fish a little hard to find. We looked for deep banks and anywhere there was water flowing into the lake Anglers don't seem to like the dirty water as there has been little or no other fishermen on the water since water clarity has changed. The weather hasn’t been particularly inviting either Lots of north wind and rain . Burrr! But like they say in Montana “ no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes”
Monday, 16 May, 2016
Fishing was a bit on the “crisp” side with temps hovering around 30 degrees but the fish didn’t seem to mind. Once the ice melted off enough to get to the river mouths, ... morethe fish were happy to see us. We fished small black buggers down deep on a super slow swing and saw good action on both browns and rainbows. Outside air was cold and frozen guides were a problem but water temps stayed warm enough to keep the fish active. When faced with the frozen guide problem the best solution is to hold the rod down in the warmer water, which usually clears the guides in a few seconds.
We started late in the day due to the cold conditions and ice on the lake. March fishing most often starts late. Sleep in, big breakfast, then hit the water around 12 or 1 when the water warms up. Good news, we saw the first Blue Winged Olive ( mayfly ) of the year. This means the big show is just around the corner. We found two selective fish on the surface sucking down dries. Dry fly season is just around the corner. Weeee!
Friday, 18 Mar, 2016
The warm winds are a coming, ice is melting back, time to let the mind wander from knee deep powder to knee deep water. A long piece of water has opened up, on the west side of Ennis ... morelake. Some fresh water seeps coming up are keeping the ice at bay, and the food chain is slowly coming to life. Went down yesterday with Shawn and my wife and were pleasantly surprised. We were casting a small grizzly buggar out on the ice twitching it off, letting it fall to the bottom then stripping it in super slow. Water is cold in both the lake and river; fish aren’t in the mood to do anything fast. Patience is the key. Let them take a good long look at I it. Shawn and Anni each had a couple of fish before I “got with the program” Once I got the right combination fly and technique I caught up in a hurry, One beautiful 21 in rainbow.
It's game on out there. Ice is coming off everywhere and the fishermen are emerging from their winter slumber. On the way to Bozeman saw 4 or 5 drift boats on the lower Madison one boat had a fish on. The 2016 fishing season has begun. Heading up river tomorrow to see if the fish are awake, higher up. Tight lines everyone!
Monday, 15 Feb, 2016