A Quick Guide to Ennis, Montana

Written by: David Coggins

A winning equation for a small town is a good bar, a good main street and a good fly shop. If you’re near the Madison River in Montana, then that’s even better. That’s part of why Ennis, Montana, is a perfect place to be–whether you’re looking for brown trout or a good beer.

The author during a productive Madison float trip.

There are plenty of fly shops in Ennis but our favorite is The Tackle Shop, which was the Orvis-endorsed shop of the year for 2017. If you want to book a guided trip or need help finding places to wade the Madison, head here for friendly insight. All the flies you need, more Yeti bottles for your collection, and, yes, you can pick up a Helios 3.

The Gravel Bar has the charm of a dive bar with a bit more enlightened sensibility. They carry a range of draft beers from small breweries (if that’s your preference), a grass-fed burger, and then they stock the bourbon and more from Willie’s, the local distillery right down Main Street.

Madison Valley Ranch puts you right on river.

Madison Valley Ranch is just out of town in a serene setting and is a terrific lodge. It serves as your home base for float trips down the Madison, but also has access to wading channels of the Madison right out the back door. It’s wonderful fishing: When you drift down to the head of small islands, pay attention. Yes that was a large brown. The food is far better than it needs to be. Highly recommended .

David Coggins is the author of Men and Manners and the New York Times best-selling Men and Style. He has written about travel, fly fishing, design, and drinking for numerous publications, including EsquireRobb Report, the Financial Times, and Bloomberg Pursuits. He lives in New York. Check out his brand-new website The Contender, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.

3 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to Ennis, Montana”

  1. A “guide” to Ennis or an advertisement, I’m confused. What a weak filler article. Come on Orvis you can do better than this. Sometimes if ya ain’t got nothing to say…

    Ennis deserves better.

    Rich

  2. This must be an advertisement because the best equipped fly shop there is Beartooth on the upper Madison. Dan even hosts Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and has great guides and lodging

  3. I lived in Ennis for three years out by Varney, before that for a summer in 1995 as a fish biologist for the Beaverhead N.F. I tried to work as a guide after jumping through multiple state hoops to get a license, which I did. Alas, no shop in town would hire me. I wound up being separated from my spouse and moved out of town. Ennis has 950 residents depending on the time of year, and 800 are guides. I didn’t stand chance. Fishing here in Idaho is better. I do not miss Ennis.

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