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. Montana may well be the very best state for the fly angler. Many of the large trout in Ennis Lake migrate upstream to spawn. This laid-back, outdoorsy town is the home of famous fly fishing in Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. There are both lakes and streams here. The same goes for the spring creeks as well where three or four weight rods are best unless it is unbearably windy. The Madison is sometimes called the 50 Mile Riffle. If you’re a lucky lottery winner, you’ll be catching brown and rainbow trout that average 14-16 inches long. The second largest of Montana’s cities is Missoula, the home to the sprawling campus of the University of Montana. Thankfully, this issue has largely been addressed through ongoing Superfund cleanup efforts and the river is being revived. In fact, the Flathead National Forest might be one of the nation's best sleeper spots for trophy whitetails. Looking for something a little bit different? Wet a line in the most productive towns in the country. Originally explored by Lewis and Clark, the Missouri River has a long history as a major gateway to the western United States. Enter your e-mail address for things to do, restaurants to try and much more! Though they’re a less common catch, you could also end up with a cutthroat. Check current regulations if you intend to target bull trout to make sure that you stay legal. 8. Stay in Cooke City Montana and make the short drive into the Lamar Valley. Situated on the Yellowstone River, it is only an hour by drive to Yellowstone National Park. Brown drakes can also be found hatching about the same time. Also, keep an eye out for the grizzly bears that call the park home. Each February a drawing for permits is held. If you love rainbow trout, you’ll love Duck Lake. The next morning, we returned and changed tactics. This is a textbook, boulder-strewn river with a bit of whitewater mixed in. Bass are generally found near some kind of cover - shady spots under weed beds, over-hanging trees, logs, brush, stumps, rocks and rocky points. This upper section is like a giant spring creek. It's also great location for spot-and-stalk bear hunting come springtime. Head out to fish the Madison River for the afternoon. 2. Originally explored by Lewis and Clark, the Missouri River has a long history as a major gateway to the western United States. This river holds an incredible 6,000 fish per mile, many of which are 20 inches of longer. All bull trout caught are strictly catch and release. Bring a heavy rod and big streamers for the bull trout. Don’t get too focused on your fishing. The lower Beaverhead suffers from summer drawdowns due to irrigation demands. 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. Missoula, Montana. More Fishing. Their willingness to attack dry flies is what makes the cutthroat an angler favorite. Here, brown trout dominate and access is tough. 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. We recommend serious anglers stick to the Madison or Grayling arms of the lake. Unlike other Montana rivers, anyone who wants to fish the Smith River needs a permit. The river forms at Three Forks where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin River’s come together. Tricos in late summer into the fall bring some of the most technical fishing of the year on this trout stream. The history of fishing the Clark Fork River is one of a dead river due to runoff of mining waste. The good news is that this river also features phenomenal mayfly and caddis hatches along with some stoneflies. Depending on the time of year and flies you are throwing, you might be able to go heavier. Most of the snow from the previous winter has melted out and river flows are low even on a big water year. Because these are spring creeks, they are extremely nutrient rich. Montana is a giant state, and trying to decide where to go hunting can be overwhelming. Most of Montana’s best trout streams eventually find their way to the Missouri. Head Hunters Fly Shop in Craig – http://www.headhuntersflyshop.comBlue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone – http://blue-ribbon-flies.comMadison River Fishing Company in Ennis – https://www.mrfc.comThe Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop in Missoula – https://grizzlyhackle.comSteinmetz Outfitters in Helena –, A PERSONALIZED fly box make a perfect gift. Below its junction with the East Fork of the Gallatin, float fishing is allowed. It has information on individual local chapters and can be found here: There are many excellent fly shops across Montana. It lies along the Missouri River and was created with the construction of the Canyon Ferry Dam. It’s packed with brown trout, so it is not as diverse as other locations we’ve talked about earlier on. It also happens to be the longest free flowing river in the contiguous United States. 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. The state’s enlightened stream access laws are angler friendly making it easy to find a good place to fly fish. Below Ennis Lake, the river flows through the famous Beartrap Canyon. With the famed Madison River in Montana such a short drive away, we made certain that we took time to fish it. Anyone who is already in the vicinity owes it to themselves to spend at least a day or two here. 9. Coming out of the high mountainous region of Yellowstone, it flows very cold throughout the year. Pale morning duns size 14 and 16 hatch on most Montana rivers and streams. Caddis are also very prevalent. The clear, cold water in the lakes and rivers is a perfect habitat for trout and other freshwater fish. If you want a signed copy straight from the source, head over to [divider]About the Author[/divider] 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. This river is famous for its dry fly fishing so come prepared to sight fish to big trout. Latest. Expect cutthroat and rainbow trout in the upper reaches with a transition towards rainbow and brown trout in the lower stretches of Rock Creek. However, since access is quite limited, floating is really the only way to fish this lower section. 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. Tucked down away in the south-west of Montana is the Park County city of Livingston. The far upper river is much like a spring creak. 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. 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. Because the river flows through wilderness, you will have to walk to get to the stream. The rainbow and brown trout here can grow to large sizes. This is one of the only places in Montana where it is legal to do so although there are some limitations. Fort Peck is one of the most popular fishing spots in Eastern Montana, but there are some other great waters worth exploring. Here are just a few of our favorites. This makes it ideal for fly anglers. 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. The lower Ruby River provides some of the best hopper fishing opportunities in Montana. The fishing can be pretty good as well. If you take the time to drive up the gravel road there a few miles, you will discover two of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Montana. Then the Bighorn is for you. This river is not as pressured as some Montana waters although does get its fair share of anglers. Leeches and crawfish patterns fished on sinking lines are best if you want to get down where the big trout are. The landscapes, besides being stunningly beautiful, are relatively undeveloped - the nation’s fourth-largest state only has a population of 800,000. Hopper Imitations, mid to late summer, size 2-8 Check. 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. 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. #21 Best Places to Live in Montana Current Resident : East Helena is a great place to raise a family. There are plenty of access points to launch a boat on Hebgen. 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. You may also find an occasional grayling here. A nearby option that runs under the radar is the Blackfoot tribal lands on the east side of Glacier National Park. Remember to bring long leaders as these fish get spooky! Known for jumbo sized brown trout, the Beaverhead is a surprisingly small river considering the size of the fish that live there. Stop by a park visitor center to get a current copy of the regulations. Fish rose until we couldn’t see anymore. By far, Yellowstone River is considered the best trout fishing river in the world. The outdoor opportunities are endless, from fishing to hiking to biking and great parks it … The banks are generally overgrown and impossible to navigate. Tan and olive caddis in size 14-18 should cover most situations. Duck Lake. Love Montana? As with the upper river, anglers will probably have to stay in the river if they want to get away from access points. Another of Montana’s world famous fly fishing destination rivers, the Bighorn begins in Wyoming before it flows north into Bighorn Lake. Large rainbow and brown trout are common although hooking and landing them can be challenging. The best fishing usually coincides with the worst weather in mid to late October. Best Montana Fly Fishing Rivers. Once the river exits the National Forest, access becomes quite difficult with less than cooperative landowners. Don’t plan your 2016 fishing treks without exploring this book. For anglers, fishing in Montana is about as close as you can get to heaven. Don’t go here for the fly fishing. If you are looking for the famous Yellowstone cutthroat trout, keep your fishing closer to Gardner. Standing dead trees are found throughout much of the lake. The sheer volume of incredible trout water guarantees that. 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. The Best Fishing Towns in America. Small nymphs and light tippets are the key to success here. A weight forward floating line will work for most applications. Fishing huge dry flies among the standing dead trees can be epic. Looking to catch good numbers of trout? Even better, take a break during the heat of the day and fish the evening hatch once other anglers have left the river. Want to catch big fish? The large rainbow and brown trout along with an occasional mountain whitefish will keep you entertained for days. 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. The amazing diversity of wild trout waters ensures that there is destination to match nearly all interest and skill levels. You can visit their website here: On their website, you can find information about fish stocking, regulations, and buy your fishing license. The Gallatin is great for beginners, especially from June through August. Rainbow and brown trout are your main targets although cutthroat and grayling can be found as well. Twelve to fifteen foot leaders ending in 5x tippet is typical on several of these waters. The Big Hole River is also one of only a few places in Montana where you can catch native grayling. Come prepared for true winter fishing conditions. Check out Rock Creek for great blue ribbon fishing. 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. My buddy and I were on a weeklong camping trip to Yellowstone National Park. Nailing down the specifics on this run is tough, but if you hit it right you might catch the brown trout of a lifetime. Don’t forget some spruce moth patterns as they are particularly plentiful on the Gallatin. The Ruby River has two distinct sections, the upper and lower. Rainbow trout are the main quarry on the Bitterroot although some cutthroat and brown trout can be found as well. Known for some of the best trout fishing in the country, Missoula is home to the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and the Big Blackfoot rivers. 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. Once it gets breezy, the chop on the lake surface makes it tough to dry fly fish. It’s one of the most picturesque places to fly fish in Montana. Located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation east of Glacier National Park, this spot draws anglers from across the country and from Canada. Rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, and lake trout are all found in Yellowstone along with grayling and mountain whitefish if you know where to look. 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. Written by Brad Lane Nov 28, 2019. The run gets stronger as you get deeper into fall. Streamers accounted for 20”+ brown trout for each of us. Consider streamer fishing on the upper Jefferson if you like targeting large brown trout in tight structure. Add in numerous hatches providing good dry fly action and you have a fly angler’s dream. The first day was tough as it can often be on new water, but the evening hatch more than made up for it. These gulpers are feeding on callibaetis mayflies as well as tricos depending on what’s hatching. The Most Beautiful Towns in Montana Bozeman. This is the place to go to try your hand at catching wild, native fish. The low pressure can also be attributed to the more remote nature of this river. From huge Striped Bass in Boston Harbor to Quincy Bay’s famous Flounder fishery, Boston has great angling right on its doorstep. 10 Gorgeous Lakes In Montana That You Must Check Out This Summer. River Traditions LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to”,, Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymph, Size 14-20, Terrestrials such as beetles, hoppers, and ants, mid to late summer, Callibaetis, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners, size 14-16, Trico, both duns and spinners, black and olive, size 20-26. Montana Fishing Guides provides guiding fishing services in Montana. In the spring and early summer you’ll most likely catch lake trout using spinners and streamers. “ As former Alaskan fishing guide I would highly recommend Paul and all the crew at State of Mind Fishing Charters for an unforgettable fishing experience on Flathead Lake in Northwest Montana. The famous $3 Bridge wade access is always crowded, but there is good reason. People don’t really go to Glacier to fly fish. With good hatches, the dry fly angler will particularly enjoy this river. The Jefferson River is one of the three main tributaries of the mighty Missouri River and also happens to be the least fished. Rainbow and brown trout dominate although a few brook trout can be found in the upper reaches. You … The fish are quite spooky at times and so the ability to have a lighter presentation is ideal. All those big lake fish head up into the Park waters starting in late summer. Stay at the Holter Campground below the dam which offers a boat ramp to launch your boat. There are also places to go swimming and fishing. This makes it a good sleeper stream. The majority of anglers head for the upper river immediately below Clark Canyon Dam. The Yellowstone cutthroat trout are plentiful here and will often rise to a well-presented dry fly. This is one of the best rivers in Montana for wading anglers. 3) All you need to know about Montauk. Plan to fish several days and make a trip of it. The best way to find success on this river is to hire a guide and float. Big Sky Country is brimming with wonderful spots for fishing. The city’s downtown is also the arts and culture hub for the area, with a number of bookstores, concert venues, … There are lifetime’s of fly fishing opportunities within an hour of Bozeman, MT. Check out the lakes there for potentially enormous trout. Floating is another good way to enjoy this beautiful trout stream. If you get the opportunity, make an effort to hit the salmonfly hatch here. That’s close enough for us though. Sumrell recommends fishing the “Bird Float,” from the Grey Owl access to Mallard’s Rest, any time between mid-June and mid-July. 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. If you are planning on spending a lot of time on streams like the Gallatin or Rock Creek, a longer rod might be a good idea for the extra reach. Below Ruby Reservoir, the river becomes an excellent brown trout fishery. Try night time mousing for huge rainbow and brown trout with guide Bryan Allison. The Gallatin is a fast flowing river with a high gradient. Gulpers can be found cruising here just like on Hebgen Lake. Today, angler’s come from all over to try for the large rainbow and brown trout that call this river home. Wade into crystal clear lakes or pebble-filled trout streams. Learn more at: Due to the river’s large size, float fishing is probably the best bet although walk and wade anglers can find fish as well. January 9, 2008. You will also probably hook some large mountain whitefish if you choose to fish nymphs. Yellowstone is about wildlife viewing, geothermal features, and yes, the fishing. 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