As a picturesque mountain state, Montana provides an escapist’s vacation. With plenty of mountain streams it is not surprising that fly fishing is one of this state’s best attractions. Montana has trout throughout the state, along with bass, walleye, and numerous others.
The Treasure State should call itself the Trout State given its ample trout supply. Montana’s list of trout species includes brook, rainbow, brown, lake, cutthroat, cutbows, tiger, and bull trout.
Bull trout are Montana natives. Cave Lake is fair territory to go after the less seen golden trout. If Montana is the best trout fishing state in the west, then either Bitteroot or Madison River is the best trout fishing river. Fly fishing is extremely popular on both rivers.
Bitteroot is extremely prominent among Montana’s best trout fishing rivers. Like most of the state’s waterways it passes through breathtaking mountain landscapes. This diverse river can suffer for its popularity, but still produces plentiful rainbow and brown trout.
It is likely that you will at least get a bite on the Madison River as it has a high density of brown and rainbow trout. This river begins in Yellowstone and is surrounded by some of Montana’s most beautiful mountain ranges. Fly fishing the Madison can yield some whopping trout, and the lower section of the river is some of the state’s best winter trout fishing.
Trout are not the only appealing fish in Montana, the rigorous bass has its place as well. Smallmouth, largemouth, white and rock bass exist in Montana. Noxon Rapids Reservoir is home to the state’s largemouth record of nearly nine pounds. The section of the Missouri River running through Montana also makes a good bass fishery.
An impressive site for bass is the Fort Peck Reservoir. Here smallmouth swim with northern pike and walleye, many of which can reach trophy sizes. Different sections of the Fort Peck Reservoir and outlying waterways are responsible for many state salmon records, the channel catfish record, and more.
Paddlefish are an entertaining challenge for the enthusiastic angler looking for something less relaxing than Montana’s scenic trout rivers. Though more difficult to locate they are worth the effort. The state record paddlefish was over a hundred and forty pounds, from the Missouri River (near Kipp Park). Paddlefish caught in Montana need an extra tag.
Yellowstone Park is a memorable vacation spot for the whole family, and with Yellowstone River it is a premier fishing destination too. Smallmouth, catfish, walleye, sauger, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout are a few of the species within its waters. There is an ample supply of many types of trout, as well as varying, gorgeous scenery. Spring is the best season for fly fishing on the Yellowstone River. Due to its lengthy expanse there seems to be a section of this river to suit almost any angler!
In most cases you will need to buy a conservation license before a fishing license, so your social security number is necessary. Anyone over fourteen needs a fishing license, but twelve and thirteen year olds only require a conservation license. Both residents and non-residents can purchase two and ten day licenses, or annual licenses. Residents over sixty-two have reduced licensing costs. Licensing vendors include online, or in person at a Fish and Wildlife Park headquarters. Pick up a license because there is too much good fishing in Montana to wait for a free fishing day!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.