They’re popular, easy to find, and beautiful. Standard attractor dry flies are often the best approach on this fine trout stream. Depending on the time of year and flies you are throwing, you might be able to go heavier. Nailing down the specifics on this run is tough, but if you hit it right you might catch the brown trout of a lifetime. Pale morning duns size 14 and 16 hatch on most Montana rivers and streams. If you want to fish on Yellowstone Lake, remember you have to kill all lake trout caught. Fort Peck is one of the most popular fishing spots in Eastern Montana, but there are some other great waters worth exploring. Situated on the Yellowstone River, it is only an hour by drive to Yellowstone National Park. Streamers accounted for 20”+ brown trout for each of us. Cast your line in the Paradise Valley or on Flathead Lake, … We recommend a well-stocked fly box for success. Bring a heavy rod and big streamers for the bull trout. The whole lake is quite shallow making fly fishing the method of choice. Most of the best lake fishing east of the continental divide in Montana is located in the various reservoirs created by dams. Ultimate Montana Fishing Montana is known for some of the best river, spring creek and lake fishing in the nation, including many legendary blue ribbon wild trout streams. For most of your fishing in Montana, a standard fast action nine foot five weight fly rod is best. The state of Montana provides many access points throughout this section. Thankfully, this issue has largely been addressed through ongoing Superfund cleanup efforts and the river is being revived. Consider streamer fishing on the upper Jefferson if you like targeting large brown trout in tight structure. Don’t plan your 2016 fishing treks without exploring this book. Want to catch big fish? Rainbow and brown trout dominate although a few brook trout can be found in the upper reaches. It provides a winter and summer habitat for many large rainbow and brown trout that move in and out of the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park to spawn. 2. Unlike other Montana rivers, anyone who wants to fish the Smith River needs a permit. From the Madison River, to the Gallatin River, to the Yellowstone River, and every small stream in between: the list is endless. Located in the southwest portion of Montana, the Bitterroot River is conveniently located reasonably close to Missoula. Large rainbow and brown trout are common although hooking and landing them can be challenging. It lies along the Missouri River and was created with the construction of the Canyon Ferry Dam. Big Sky Country is brimming with wonderful spots for fishing. Try night time mousing for huge rainbow and brown trout with guide Bryan Allison. The Madison River is ideal for fly fishing, especially the stretch that runs from Quake Lake to Ennis. 2) Fishing on Martha’s Vineyard. The Nelson Reservoir, which is close to Malta, is full of perch and walleye as well as some lesser known species. Upstream of that, low flows due to irrigation can wreak havoc on the trout numbers. Missoula used to be a hub for rail travel, and you can still see the historic and preserved railroad stations around town. There are plenty of access points to launch a boat on Hebgen. By far, Yellowstone River is considered the best trout fishing river in the world. Access is excellent all the way from the Yellowstone National Park Boundary down through Paradise Valley and beyond. Many grizzly bears call the wilderness home so take appropriate bear precautions. January 9, 2008. Luckily, hunters have reached a general consensus on some of the best places to hunt for different types of game, offering newcomers great tips and tricks that make picking the best spot easier. It is a further drive from places like Bozeman than the Madison or Gallatin. However, if you want to target those cruising gulpers, then a four weight might be best. This classic freestone is close to Missoula. We recommend serious anglers stick to the Madison or Grayling arms of the lake. Nights are becoming longer and temperatures staA description of the fly fishing, weather and hatches and angler can expect in Montana for the month of September. Below its junction with the East Fork of the Gallatin, float fishing is allowed. Floating is another good way to enjoy this beautiful trout stream. Expect cutthroat and rainbow trout in the upper reaches with a transition towards rainbow and brown trout in the lower stretches of Rock Creek. Thank you! Below Yellowtail Dam, the Bighorn River tailwater provides world class fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout. The impeccably decorated and furnished bed and breakfast was officially opened in the middle of 2011. As with all large lake fishing, a fishing boat is pretty much a necessity, preferably one with a motor. Plan to fish several days and make a trip of it. Golden Stonefly Nymphs, June and July, size 4-6 More Fishing. If you are dry fly fishing, then you will probably want long leaders on many rivers and lakes. The clear rivers and streams are fed by runoff from the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, an ideal environment for trout and salmon. This is a textbook, boulder-strewn river with a bit of whitewater mixed in. 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Overall numbers of trout begin to decline as you head downriver from Livingston although there are some large trout and even a few sections that still have high densities. Where better to kick off the list than one of the nation’s oldest and largest port cities? The Kalispell area lake remains a great place for fishing. Thus, it is fished less than the rest of the river. A boat is the best way to fish this lake although some of the shoreline is accessible. Make sure and bring plenty of flies to match a variety of hatches. Don’t forget some spruce moth patterns as they are particularly plentiful on the Gallatin. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. Since this is often ambiguous, it is best to stay in the actual stream if you choose to fish through private water to avoid problems. The following are the best of the best, but don’t forget to get off the beaten path and find those hidden gems as well. Because of the tumbling nature of Rock Creek, stoneflies are plentiful including the salmonfly hatch that brings anglers from all over. These crystal clear lakes offer sight fishing opportunities to cruising trout although most fishing is done subsurface. Where are your favorite Montana fishing spots? Standing dead trees are found throughout much of the lake. Stop by a park visitor center to get a current copy of the regulations. Love Montana? Anyone who is already in the vicinity owes it to themselves to spend at least a day or two here. Callibaetis and midges are the main bugs here. There’s an abundance of trout in this river, and the summer dry fly fishing is excellent. With some of United States’ very best scenery to go with the amazing fly fishing, Montana is a must fish destination for any serious angler. You’ll find the Hyalite Reservoir about 19 miles south of Bozeman. Missouri River. As with most cutthroat trout, standard attractor dry flies from size 8-16 are best. The list of fishing places is as long as the Missouri River, but these 12 Montana fishing spots are especially perfect for casting a line. People don’t really go to Glacier to fly fish. All the way to Ennis Lake is worth exploring although you won’t have the river to yourself. Downstream from $3 Bridge, much of the river can be accessed and fished by float anglers. Another lake located on the Madison River, Ennis lake also offers some great fly fishing. For anglers, fishing in Montana is about as close as you can get to heaven. Only a small sliver of Yellowstone National Park is actually in Montana. The Nelson Reservoir, which is close to Malta, is full of perch and walleye as well as some lesser known species. Movoto Real Estate Group compiled a list and narrowed it down to 11 of Montana’s best towns to live in–their choices may, or may not, surprise you. Our guides are knowledgeable of the best fishing locations the state has to offer. The northeast corner of the Park is also a treat. With the famed Madison River in Montana such a short drive away, we made certain that we took time to fish it. Some sections of the Big Hole provide excellent access for wading. Twelve to fifteen foot leaders ending in 5x tippet is typical on several of these waters. This makes it ideal for fly anglers. Come prepared for true winter fishing conditions. The river contains rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, and brown trout. Remember to bring long leaders as these fish get spooky! With good hatches, the dry fly angler will particularly enjoy this river. The best way to find success on this river is to hire a guide and float. It also happens to be the longest free flowing river in the contiguous United States. The National Park Service does have special regulations including seasonal and permanent closures on certain stretches. Most of Montana’s best trout streams eventually find their way to the Missouri. If you love rainbow trout, you’ll love Duck Lake. Then the Bighorn is for you. All bull trout caught are strictly catch and release. The landscapes, besides being stunningly beautiful, are relatively undeveloped - the nation’s fourth-largest state only has a population of 800,000. Another of Montana’s world famous fly fishing destination rivers, the Bighorn begins in Wyoming before it flows north into Bighorn Lake. Here are a few of the flies you shouldn’t leave home without. The fish are a bit more willing here than on some other Montana Rivers. Fish rose until we couldn’t see anymore. The Missouri River is a true bug factory. Though they’re a less common catch, you could also end up with a cutthroat. Here, brown trout dominate and access is tough. 3) All you need to know about Montauk. Midges, worms, and scuds are staples. From huge Striped Bass in Boston Harbor to Quincy Bay’s famous Flounder fishery, Boston has great angling right on its doorstep. This upper section is like a giant spring creek. Fishing the Bighorn River is a bit of an undertaking. Rainbow trout are the main quarry on the Bitterroot although some cutthroat and brown trout can be found as well. All those big lake fish head up into the Park waters starting in late summer. Missoula, Montana. During summer, lunkers seek haven in the deeper, cooler waters, so the fishing is often better at night. Duck Lake. However, since access is quite limited, floating is really the only way to fish this lower section. If you are one of the lucky few, then you get the privilege of a multiday float trip through some of the most beautiful scenery around. Not only is the Bitterroot River beautiful, but it’s one of America’s best trout streams. The Big Hole River is also one of only a few places in Montana where you can catch native grayling. Because it is not close to other famous Montana waters, a trip to the Bighorn is a dedicated single destination trip unless you have an abundance of time. A weight forward floating line will work for most applications. Tan and olive caddis in size 14-18 should cover most situations. While trout numbers are not as high, if you hit it right it won’t matter. The history of fishing the Clark Fork River is one of a dead river due to runoff of mining waste. You can visit their website here: On their website, you can find information about fish stocking, regulations, and buy your fishing license. While the park stretch is well worth exploring, the best fishing in Montana occurs further downstream. Fishing huge dry flies among the standing dead trees can be epic. It’s open for fishing from November 15 to September 15, so you can try for your catch of the day almost anytime. Fishing to these risers out of a drift boat with callibaetis or trico imitations provides consistent action as long as the wind is not blowing too hard. Streamers can also sometimes attract those big browns. Stay at the Holter Campground below the dam which offers a boat ramp to launch your boat. The low pressure can also be attributed to the more remote nature of this river. Due to the river’s large size, float fishing is probably the best bet although walk and wade anglers can find fish as well. Below Ruby Reservoir, the river becomes an excellent brown trout fishery. You'll receive your first newsletter soon! Check. If you get the opportunity, make an effort to hit the salmonfly hatch here. Once it gets breezy, the chop on the lake surface makes it tough to dry fly fish. When these fish are in Hebgen, they provide opportunities for sight fishing cruising risers on calm days. While it definitely has an Old West flavor, it has an alternative college town feel as well, as the home of Montana State University. Bring a variety of leaders and tippet material. The Most Beautiful Towns in Montana Bozeman. However, once you arrive at this jewel and are blown away by the scenery, think about how nice it would be to fly fish in such amazing surroundings. Best Places to Fly Fish in Montana. One of the major tributaries of the Missouri, the Yellowstone River also happens to be one of the best trout streams in the country. A float tube or canoe is probably best. 1. Don’t get too focused on your fishing. Livingston is certainly worthy of being in the top three best places to live in Montana. It has information on individual local chapters and can be found here: There are many excellent fly shops across Montana. But, if you’re not into river fishing, other bodies of water, like Lake McDonald, are filled with very healthy populations of cutthroat and some very large lake trout. The short tailwater below the lake is excellent, but our favorite fishing is downstream of Quake Lake. The South Fork of the Flathead River begins and flows through the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Missoula and West Yellowstone are two … A boat or float tube is ideal to get you out to where the fish are. Check current regulations if you intend to target bull trout to make sure that you stay legal. These streams make a great day trip if you are staying in Livingston or Gardner and fishing the Yellowstone River. The Jefferson River is one of the three main tributaries of the mighty Missouri River and also happens to be the least fished. Head out to fish the Madison River for the afternoon. Best Montana Fly Fishing Rivers. The next morning, we returned and changed tactics. Sumrell recommends fishing the “Bird Float,” from the Grey Owl access to Mallard’s Rest, any time between mid-June and mid-July. The first day was tough as it can often be on new water, but the evening hatch more than made up for it. Not too small and not too big, this just right stream provides lots of access as it flows through many miles of National Forest land. Let’s take a look below at some of the many towns an angler must visit while in Montana. In the West, Montana has earned the reputation as perhaps the best trout fishing spot in North America. This is the place to go to try your hand at catching wild, native fish. Gulpers can be found cruising here just like on Hebgen Lake. Coming out of the high mountainous region of Yellowstone, it flows very cold throughout the year. The Madison is sometimes called the 50 Mile Riffle. Bozeman is located in the southwestern part of Montana and is a great place for those seeking clean, fresh air... Whitefish. The earthquake set off a huge landslide that dammed up the Madison River and created the lake. It’s one of the most picturesque places to fly fish in Montana. Do yourself a favor and fish the fall run on the Madison River sometime. The only natural lake on the Madison River, Quake Lake was formed by a strong earthquake in 1959. Located in Montana’s Northern Rockies, the City of Missoula is home to plenty of blue-ribbon trout fishing, kayaking adventures and nearby hiking trails. This river holds an incredible 6,000 fish per mile, many of which are 20 inches of longer. Tucked down away in the south-west of Montana is the Park County city of Livingston. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here: The Smith River is one of the most amazing fishing spots in Montana… if you’re lucky enough to get there. A ten foot three weight or four weight is an excellent choice as long as the wind is not blowing too strong. Streamers, just about any time but especially in the fall for large brown trout. The Madison River begins in Yellowstone National Park at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers. Hunting. A particularly good plan is to fish the lake in the morning until the winds pick up. This is one of the only places in Montana where it is legal to do so although there are some limitations. 1. It can be overwhelming with all of the great options to decide where to spend your time if you only have a day or two to enjoy fly fishing in Bozeman. Canyon Ferry Lake is the third largest lake in Montana, at 14,200 hectare. Bull trout can be found, but most of the fishing here is for native cutthroat trout. The trout grow large here. Cool rainy weather can be a good time to fish this lower section. This bed breakfast is located in the heart of Glacier Country Montana. One of the most popular lakes in Glacier National Park also happens to be a great fishing spot. The big treat here is that you can also fish for bull trout. Because these are spring creeks, they are extremely nutrient rich. For campsites with a view, the best campgrounds in Montana are within eyesight of glacial lakes, snowy mountains, and trout-filled rivers, nestling into the many state parks, national forests, and special places across the state. The Montana state record brown trout was caught in Wade Lake and was nearly 30 pounds. The fishing regulations can be found here: Information on fish stocking is found here: Fly Fishers International located in Livingston Montana has great information about fly fishing: Montana Trout Unlimited is also a great resource. Located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation east of Glacier National Park, this spot draws anglers from across the country and from Canada. Leeches and crawfish patterns fished on sinking lines are best if you want to get down where the big trout are. Green drakes in late June and July are a special treat as well. Also, keep an eye out for the grizzly bears that call the park home. This is the river for anglers looking to avoid the crowds. The scenery here is spectacular. The Gallatin is great for beginners, especially from June through August. Yellowstone is about wildlife viewing, geothermal features, and yes, the fishing. Early season fishing during the skwala hatch is particularly good. Ever since that first magical trip, I always try to make time to fish some of the best water in Montana anytime I am close. 10 Gorgeous Lakes In Montana That You Must Check Out This Summer. The longest undammed river in the country is gorgeous, and the fly fishing is great. Salmonflies, golden stoneflies, and yellow sallies are found on many streams and rivers. Rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, and lake trout are all found in Yellowstone along with grayling and mountain whitefish if you know where to look. While Bozeman is mostly known as a popular base for enjoying outdoor activities like fly fishing, hiking and skiing, there are plenty of things to do right in town, as one of the more diverse, eclectic cities in Montana. The large rainbow and brown trout along with an occasional mountain whitefish will keep you entertained for days. A nearby option that runs under the radar is the Blackfoot tribal lands on the east side of Glacier National Park. No matter what town in Montana you are visiting, we can design and facilitate an ideal fishing adventure. The fishing is good all year long here, though the summer months are the best and the most popular. Top 10 Places to Retire in the USA for fishing. Angling pressure is lower here which probably helps. The narrow stream presents its own challenges but plenty of fish make the effort worthwhile. With its headwaters in Yellowstone National Park (see #21), the Yellowstone River flows north out of Wyoming and into Montana as a world class blue ribbon fishery. Most of Montana’s best trout streams eventually find their way to the Missouri. By Field & Stream Online Editors. However, the river fishes well throughout the warm months. Bass are generally found near some kind of cover - shady spots under weed beds, over-hanging trees, logs, brush, stumps, rocks and rocky points. The fishing can be pretty good as well. Each February a drawing for permits is held. This river is not as pressured as some Montana waters although does get its fair share of anglers. The rainbow trout are normally measured in pounds there with ten pound fish a distinct possibility. The far upper river is much like a spring creak. The lower Ruby River provides some of the best hopper fishing opportunities in Montana. Whitefish are also present as in most Montana rivers. The best fishing is usually from early to mid July through mid September in most years. That is because float fishing is not allowed on a majority of the Gallatin River so waders will have the river to themselves as far as the fishing is concerned. That’s close enough for us though. Most of the snow from the previous winter has melted out and river flows are low even on a big water year. In town, the Buffalo Café serves up its namesake breakfast "pies", which take the form of haystack-high hashbrowns piled with eggs, cheese, sausage and other fixin's. Get more stories delivered right to your email. If you want a signed copy straight from the source, head over to bobmallard.com [divider]About the Author[/divider] My buddy and I were on a weeklong camping trip to Yellowstone National Park. While the explorers didn’t find the hoped for water route to the Pacific, they did discover one of the best trout streams in the country. Backpacking or a horse pack trip is the best way to fish the South Fork of the Flathead. Written by Brad Lane Nov 28, 2019. Many of the large trout in Ennis Lake migrate upstream to spawn. Check your local fly shop for “25 Best Towns for Fly Fishing for Trout” or order directly from Stonefly Press. Originally explored by Lewis and Clark, the Missouri River has a long history as a major gateway to the western United States. History lovers might also want to check out the iconic Caras Park Carousel, the Missoula Art Museum and the iconic Roxy Theater. Here’s a LINK to my store -> River Traditions, “This site is owned and operated by River Traditions LLC, a limited liability company headquartered in Michigan, USA. Looking for something a little bit different? The lower Beaverhead suffers from summer drawdowns due to irrigation demands. Once it enters Montana, it flows through Hebgen Lake. #21 Best Places to Live in Montana Current Resident : East Helena is a great place to raise a family. Montana: What You Need To Know Living in Montana gives residents access to some of the best trout fishing in the country, massive mountains and wide open prairies. The fish are quite spooky at times and so the ability to have a lighter presentation is ideal. Made famous by Norman Maclean in his book “A River Runs Through It,” the Big Blackfoot is a magical place full of native Cutthroat trout, rainbows, and browns. The Ruby River has two distinct sections, the upper and lower. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is responsible for making and enforcing fishing regulations. Fort Peck is one of the most popular fishing spots in Eastern Montana, but there are some other great waters worth exploring. Find area description and characteristics, area amenities and things to do, climate and weather, housing options, cost of living, senior assistance, area demographics and job & volunteer opportunities. These two lakes are found close to the Madison River at $3 Bridge. The river provides epic fishing for native cutthroat trout along with some rainbows. This area is called the “50 mile riffle,” and it’s nice and wide and shallow. This laid-back, outdoorsy town is the home of famous fly fishing in Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. Wet a line in the most productive towns in the country. You may also find an occasional grayling here. Fall can arrive early in the Rockies, but warm Indian summers are also possible. Tricos in late summer into the fall bring some of the most technical fishing of the year on this trout stream. Small nymphs and light tippets are the key to success here. The clear, cold water in the lakes and rivers is a perfect habitat for trout and other freshwater fish. If you are looking for the famous Yellowstone cutthroat trout, keep your fishing closer to Gardner. Where to Fly Fish in Bozeman, MT. If you’re a lucky lottery winner, you’ll be catching brown and rainbow trout that average 14-16 inches long. For the lakes, make sure you bring callibaetis and trico patterns as well as some leech and crawfish patterns. Known for some of the best trout fishing in the country, Missoula is home to the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and the Big Blackfoot rivers. Good shoreline to walk and wade are more limited but not impossible to find. While there are many great places to fly fish on the Missouri River, some of the best fishing is in the stretch below Holter Dam. Here you can fish such famed waters as the Lamar itself, Soda Butte Creek, or Slough Creek. Rainbow and brown trout are your main targets although cutthroat and grayling can be found as well. Native Yellowstone cutthroat abound here and are normally easy to catch. In fact, the Flathead National Forest might be one of the nation's best sleeper spots for trophy whitetails. The Gallatin is another great trout river with its headwaters in Yellowstone National Park. Located in the northwestern part of the state, near Glacier National Park, Whitefish is a … Don’t go here for the fly fishing. The majority of anglers head for the upper river immediately below Clark Canyon Dam. Access is difficult but the fishing can be good to excellent for adventuresome anglers. Enter your e-mail address for things to do, restaurants to try and much more! The best fishing usually coincides with the worst weather in mid to late October. The best time to target them is during the annual salmonfly hatch. 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