Overview: Situated on the banks of the Madison River, this premier sportsman’s paradise boasts over 3 ½ miles of river frontage and more than 5 ½ miles of reclaimed spring creek on its approximately 1,050± acres. The ranch offers tremendous waterfowl, upland bird and whitetail deer hunting and world-class fly fishing. In addition to being a haven for the trout fisherman or waterfowler, the ranch is well-suited for a working horse or cattle operation with 700± irrigable acres. One would be hard-pressed to find another property within 30 minutes of Bozeman with comparable live water resources on or off the market. With direct access to the Madison River on the western boundary, a convenient location 25 minutes from the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and 5 minutes from the amenities of Three Forks, the Madison Spring Creek Ranch can be enjoyed by all generations.
Location: Madison Spring Creek Ranch lies along the east side of the Madison River in the lower Madison Valley, which is the least developed river valley within 30± miles of Bozeman. Without the impact of state highways, large roads or railways, the privacy of the Lower Madison River is a rarity among other river valleys in Montana. With over 9 miles of live water, this unique fishing property is in close proximity to Bozeman. The ranch varies from thick cottonwood galleries along the river corridor to sub-irrigated meadows with meandering spring creeks. The river braids offer abundant wetland habitat, which attracts a wealth of waterfowl and other wildlife. The views are dramatic and diverse with the Spanish Peaks and the Tobacco Root Mountains to the south, the cliffs along the Madison River to the west, and the hills and bluffs that include Madison Buffalo Jump State Park to the east.
Live Water: Restoration of several miles of spring creek and wildlife habitat throughout the ranch has significantly improved the ranch’s aesthetics, fishing and hunting. Restoration work produced endless casting lanes, deep holding holes and spawning beds, as well as shallow backwater refuges for invertebrates, young fish and waterfowl along 5 ½ miles on two spring creeks.
Over 9 miles of live water provide a variety of fishing experiences. From river to large spring influenced creek to a small intimate spring creek that requires stalking fish, the ranch has it all. Although the current owners keep the ranch largely for private use, the fishing does provide income from outfitting the ranch through local guides and charging rod fees to anglers. This commercial use could be increased in the future. Madison River Approximately 3 ½ miles of the Madison River flow through the western boundary of the Madison Spring Creek Ranch. This section of the river offers deep, slow holes along the braided side channels providing dynamic and diversified fishing opportunities. The multiple braids and islands create a wetland paradise that is picturesque and ideal for wade fisherman.
A Pure Spring Creek Approximately 2 miles of Rey Creek traverse the southern section of the ranch. Rey Creek is a classic small, riffle-run and pool spring creek that holds healthy populations of brown trout with some fish reaching 18+ inches and the average fish around 12-14 inches. Rey Creek is a model and challenging spring creek fishery and is improving each season since its restoration in 2012. Enjoy stalking fish on your hands and knees in this intimate creek setting.
Darlington Spring Creek Known as a trophy brown trout fishery, Darlington Spring Creek, or more locally known as Darlington Ditch, meanders through the ranch for approximately 3 ½ miles. Enhanced for fish habitat, Darlington Ditch is known as a stimulating brown trout fishery with amazing fall and spring runs of spawning brown and rainbow trout, respectively.
Wildlife: Because of all the fabulous water amenities and lack of development, wildlife thrives in the Lower Madison Valley. For the waterfowl hunter, there is an abundance of opportunities. The Madison River, Darlington Ditch and Rey spring creeks all support local varieties of nesting waterfowl. As northern migratory birds arrive and the Madison River freezes in late fall, ducks and geese search for open water that concentrates the flock on Darlington and Rey spring creeks and other open spring water in the valley. Whitetail deer tend to congregate along the cottonwood-lined river bottoms during the day and head into the valley in the afternoons to feed on the native grasses. Upland bird populations are abundant on the ranch due to the agricultural operations, ample amounts of live water and food plots. From big game to waterfowl and upland bird hunting and near year-round fishing, the Madison Spring Creek Ranch is a sportsman’s paradise.
The Lower Madison Valley’s mild climate is well-suited for raising livestock. This area is great horse or cattle country where minimal snow cover means reduced winter feeding. The Madison Spring Creek Ranch has been operated in the past as a cattle ranch and is optimized for agricultural production with 700± irrigable acres. Buck Brannaman, famously known as “the Horse Whisperer”, got his start on the property working with horseman Ray Hunt while training horses.
Summary: Madison Spring Creek Ranch is an unparalleled offering in the Madison Valley with over 9 miles of river and spring creek across 1,050 acres. The unique quality of the riparian resources brings the fishing and hunting opportunities to a superior level. It is a ranch for all generations to enjoy within easy reach of the charm and amenities of southwest Montana’s best communities.
Get To Know Bozeman Ranches for Sale in Bozeman, Montana
If you love outdoor sports, it is easy to understand why Bozeman has been dubbed a “dream town” by Bizjournal.com and been recognized for its high quality of life by National Geographic Adventure. When you fly in over the Bridger Range or drive into the valley for the first time and find yourself surrounded by mountains, it’s easy to understand why people want to spend time here. Add the cultural amenities of a local symphony and ballet, the vibrancy of a college, and a sophisticated downtown, Bozeman is the total package.