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Exploring the Beauty of Montana: A Trout Fisherman’s Dream

Rivers that Make Montana a Trout Fisherman’s Paradise

Montana, known as “Big Sky Country,” is home to some of the most renowned trout rivers in the world. With its vast and diverse fly fishing options, Montana offers everything a trout fisherman could want. From gin-clear high mountain lakes to technical tributaries, this state has it all. Let’s delve into what makes Montana so special for trout fishing.

The Bitterroot River: A Pristine Blue-Ribbon Trout River

Nestled just outside of Missoula, the Bitterroot River flows for 84 miles through the picturesque Bitterroot Valley. The river is known for its incredible scenery and is home to a variety of trout species, including rainbows, browns, brookies, bulls, and native westslope cutthroat. Not only does the Bitterroot River offer exceptional fishing, but it also provides opportunities to spot bald eagles, mule deer, and even bugling elk.

The Blackfoot River: Where “A River Runs Through It” Was Born

The Blackfoot River is famous for being the birthplace of Norman Maclean’s book and movie, “A River Runs Through It.” With its stunning mountain views, ponderosa pines, and diverse fishing experience, the Blackfoot River is a must-visit for trout anglers. Whether you prefer fishing deep slow-moving pools or shallow choppy riffles, the Blackfoot River has it all.

The Missouri River: Targeting Big Predatory Fish

If you’re in search of big predatory fish, the Missouri River is a must-visit. With an average fish length of 17 inches, this river demands some serious gear. Whether you prefer fishing from a drift boat or wading in public access sites, the Missouri River offers abundant opportunities to catch trophy-size trout.

The Madison River: Revered and Beautiful

The Madison River, a tributary that forms at the heart of Yellowstone National Park, is one of the most revered bodies of water in Montana. Best fished during early summer and fall, the Madison River is known for its large trout population. However, it is important to note that fishing may be restricted during mid-summer due to high water temperatures. The Madison River’s lush green banks provide the perfect backdrop for hopper fishing when the weather allows.

The South Fork of the Flathead River: A Remote Paradise

Flowing for nearly 98 miles, the South Fork of the Flathead River is considered one of the most pristine rivers in Montana. This remote area, located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, is home to genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout. Accessible via wading or booking trips with local outfitters, the South Fork of the Flathead River promises an unforgettable fishing experience, surrounded by breathtaking wilderness.

Exploring Small Creeks and Streams in Montana

While Montana is known for its rivers, there are plenty of opportunities to explore small creeks and streams that provide excellent fishing experiences. These smaller bodies of water may be home to smaller trout in size but offer greater numbers and thrilling challenges.

Rock Creek: Pockets of Fishing Delight

Deep within the Lolo National Forest, Rock Creek provides an excellent opportunity for anglers to spend a day picking pockets. Despite its smaller size, Rock Creek holds an impressive 2,000 fish per mile and hosts a diverse trout population, including brown, brook, rainbow, cutbow, cutthroat, and bull trout.

Depuy Creek: The Hidden Gem of Paradise Valley

Located in Paradise Valley, Depuy Creek is a spring creek that offers a constant flow of cold water year-round. A personal favorite among Montana anglers, Depuy Creek produces trout of abnormally large sizes for a small to medium-sized fishery. Its limestone influence results in a rich population of aquatic insects, making it a haven for trout.

Nelson Creek: A Challenging Stream with Crystal Clear Flats

For anglers seeking a more challenging experience, Nelson Creek is the smallest spring creek in Paradise Valley. Its crystal clear flats present a host of challenges when it comes to sneaking up on active fish. Long leaders and light tippets are a must on this creek, making the fight even more exciting when a fish takes your fly.

Montana’s High Alpine Lakes: a True Adventure

For the adventurous angler, Montana’s high alpine lakes offer an escape from the crowds and a chance to target undisturbed fish. While reaching these lakes may require lengthy hikes into the backcountry, the effort is well worth it. Stillwater fishing in these lakes can be tough but incredibly rewarding. Whether fishing with dries, streamers, or nymphs, seeing a fish eat in crystal clear water is an unforgettable experience. Keep in mind that preparation is key for these alpine adventures, as it often takes a day’s hike just to reach the lakes.

Guides and Outfitters: Enhancing Your Montana Fishing Experience

When visiting Montana, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced guide to make the most of your fishing trip. Several reputable outfitters are available to provide a relaxed and stress-free experience, tailored to your needs.

Missoula River Lodge: A Day-Long Float with First-Class Guides

The Missoula River Lodge offers day-long floats with experienced guides who have extensive knowledge of the river. Whether facing less than ideal conditions or perfect weather, the guides at Missoula River Lodge ensure a memorable fishing experience.

Headhunters Fly Shop: Five-Star Guiding on the Missouri River

Headhunters Fly Shop specializes in floating the Missouri River, known for its large trout and incredible hatches. With their five-star guiding services, you can expect a top-notch fishing experience tailored to your preferences.

Montana Angler: A 7-Day Trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

Montana Angler offers a wide variety of day trips, but their Bob Marshall 7-day trip is a must-try. This trip combines hiking into the backcountry on horseback with float days on the river, targeting westslope cutthroat

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