Fishing in Montana

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Montana may be the most famous fly fishing state of them all. And Montana?s big reputation wasn?t won just because of Norman Maclean?s hit story and later, movie, ?A River Runs Through It.? With multitudes of blue ribbon streams stacked deep with native trout, Montana certainly holds it?s own as one of the world?s ultimate fly fishing destinations. Beyond Montana?s big sky, epic panoramic views, and wild west feel, it?s the fish themselves that set this state apart. Unlike other states, many of Montana?s rivers and streams are managed to sustain wild trout populations, meaning hatchery trout are not introduced into these waters. The result is an angling experience found in few other places, making Montana a bucket list destination for any fly angler with a pulse.

Much of the hot fishing action in Montana is based around Yellowstone National Park in the Southwest corner of the state bordering Wyoming. The Yellowstone River (the country?s longest undammed river), the Gallatin River, and the Madison River all originate within Yellowstone National Park, and hold healthy populations of wild brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout (the state fish). Montana is also home to some of the country?s best tailwater fisheries including the Missouri, Bighorn, and Beaverhead rivers where some of the state?s largest trout are caught every year. And for anglers seeking a more technical fishing challenge, Montana?s many spring creeks including Armstrong, DePuy, and Story Spring Creeks, offer year round dry fly fishing opportunities thanks to their stable temperatures and fertile waters.

Even with Montana?s high concentration of world-class trout waters, angling pressure is surprisingly low. With so many rivers and streams to choose from, not to mention the many pristine alpine lakes, finding your own slice of trout fishing heaven is easy in Montana.


MT Department of Fish & Wildlife
1420 East Sixth Avenue
Helena, MT 59620-0701
P: (406) 444-2535

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Montana Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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Guides based in Montana

Featured Program

Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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Montana Water Systems (148)

Water Access Locations in Montana (294)