Fly Fishing Montana | Must Read


Imagine casting a line into the crystal clear waters of Montana, feeling the cool breeze on your face, and taking in the majestic views of snow-capped mountains.

Fly fishing in Montana is an experience like no other, offering a chance to explore nature and experience freedom. Fly fishing has long been an iconic activity for outdoor enthusiasts, but there is something special about fly fishing in Montana.

From its stunning landscapes to its plentiful fish population, this state offers some of the best fly fishing experiences in the world. Read on to learn why Montana should be your next fly fishing destination.

Let us now look at some of the best places for fly fishing when in Montana

Clark Fork River Fly Fishing

I absolutely love to fly fishing in Montana, and the Clark Fork River is one of my favorite spots to do it.

This river runs for nearly 300 miles throughout the state and offers some of the best dry fly fishing in the West. When I’m out on the Clark Fork, I’m usually casting large dry flies or streamers at rainbows, cute bows, and cutthroats that congregate in large pods to feed.

One of my favorite parts about fishing on the Clark Fork is targeting all of the different hatches. Western March Browns hatch regularly, and Skwala stoneflies can be found along the length as well.

It’s a lot of fun trying to match them with my rod – nothing beats seeing a nice trout rising to your fly! The banks are full of undercut areas with overhanging grass, which can make for some really great moments when you get a bite.

Even though they’ll often refuse your offering, just watching the fish come up is worth it alone. It’s definitely an experience that I look forward to every time I go out on this incredible river.

Fishing on the Clark Fork has become a regular part of my life now – there’s just something special about it that keeps me coming back for more!

Next up: exploring what Montana’s Missouri River has to offer…

The Missouri River Fly Fishing

The Missouri River is a magical place, teeming with life beneath its surface. It’s like an old faithful friend, always welcoming and alive with possibility.

Every cast of the line brings surprise and excitement as you wait for the river to reveal its hidden treasures. The riverbanks are flanked by towering cottonwoods, their branches casting a dappled shade down onto the water below. A deep sense of peace washes over you as you watch the current flow gently downstream.

But make no mistake, beneath the tranquil veneer lays a river full of challenges. Strong currents can quickly sweep away an angler’s line if they’re not careful and the banks can be slippery and dangerous. Skilled fly fishers need to use all their senses to anticipate where the trout will be hiding and have a keen eye for spotting subtle hatches on the surface of the water.

The rewards though, are plentiful – if you manage to land one of these wily creatures you know that your effort has been well worth it!

From Brown Trout to Rainbow Trout there’s plenty to choose from in this section of the Missouri River. Each fish is unique, fighting hard against your line until eventually they give up their secrets and surrender themselves into your hands.

The Missouri River has taught me many lessons throughout my fly fishing career and I’m sure it will continue to do so for years to come; its beauty lies in its unpredictability and ever-changing nature which ensure every visit is different from the last.

With each new experience comes more knowledge, allowing us to become better anglers and appreciate this majestic river even more – let’s take what we’ve learned here and move on to our next destination: Blackfoot River Fly Fishing!

Blackfoot River Fly Fishing

Fishing the Big Blackfoot River is an experience that every fly angler should have. The scenery alone is worth the trip and you will be rewarded with some of the best trout fishing around.

The river can be fickle at times so it’s important to pay close attention to what’s happening on the water. When conditions are right, stoneflies can provide excellent fly fishing opportunities for both brown and rainbow trout.

The key to successful fly fishing on the Big Blackfoot River is nymphs and streamers. Depending on where you are in the river, nymphs like caddis, princes, and pheasant tails can all produce great results.

Streamers like wooly buggers, sculpins, and leeches are also very effective when worked slowly through deeper pools or along undercut banks.

Springtime on the Big Blackfoot River is a great time for flyfishing as run-off ends and warmer temperatures start to move in. This is when those stoneflies become more active and attract trout from all over the river.

It’s important to take your time while casting and make sure each cast counts since these fish can be very finicky in their feeding habits. You may want to focus on presenting small midge patterns or emerges during this time of year for better success rates.

Once you’ve mastered fly fishing on the Big Blackfoot River you’ll be ready to tackle other rivers in Montana like the Yellowstone River which has its own unique set of challenges.

Fishing this river requires patience, skill, knowledge of local hatches, and an understanding of current conditions – all things that will help you land more fish!

The Yellowstone River Fly Fishing

As I stand on the banks of the Yellowstone River, I can feel the tranquility of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The rushing waters dance around me, creating a melody that is both calming and energizing at once.

The sun’s rays illuminate every ripple as if to spotlight each fish’s hiding place. I am ready to take on this challenge—fly fishing on the Yellowstone River.

I begin by wading into the river, my eyes fixed upon its depths. All around me, fish rise from their lairs in search of sustenance and play. It’s a thrilling sight for any angler! My strategy is simple: uncover where they hide, then present them with an enticing fly.

Here are three tips for fly fishing success on the Yellowstone River:

  1. Have plenty of flies ready – trout can be picky eaters so experiment with different patterns until you find what works best!
  2. Cast upstream – This will help you keep your fly in front of their noses longer!
  3. Look for eddies and pockets – these are prime spots where trout like to hang out!

As I work my way upriver, I’m amazed at how quickly time passes as I become one with nature. From selecting the right lure to feeling that gentle tug when a fish strikes – it all becomes part of an unforgettable journey through this beautiful landscape.

Onward now to Big Hole River fly fishing!

Big Hole River Fly Fishing

Moving from Yellowstone to the Big Hole River, anglers will find a different kind of fishing experience. The Big Hole is known for its hatches, which are unique and draw in anglers from far and wide. It’s a river that has something for every type of fisherman.

The Headwaters section offers small stream fishing for rainbows, brook trout, native grayling and cutthroat. This section is great for dry fly anglers who want to test their skill with the various hatches that occur here. As winter turns to spring the ice melts off, giving way to some of the best fly fishing in Montana.

Continuing on, you’ll come to the Upper River section which begins at the North Fork confluence and ends at Dewey. Here you’ll find bigger fish as well as beautiful scenery along the banks of this wild river.

About halfway through this section, you’ll find Wise River flowing into the Big Hole which offers yet another opportunity for catching some big ones!

In addition to these sections is the Canyon Section which begins at Dewey and ends at Melrose. Here you can find challenging rapids and deep pools where browns and rainbows lurk just beneath the surface waiting for your next cast. You’ll also see plenty of wildlife along this stretch so be prepared with your camera!

With all these options in one river, it’s no wonder why so many people come here wanting more than just a great day on the water – they come looking for an unforgettable experience!

Smith River Fly Fishing

The Smith River in Montana is a beloved destination for fly fishermen. It is known to be 60 miles of winding, untouched wilderness and one of the West’s most coveted destinations.

Home to both rainbow and brown trout, the river offers an abundance of fish that can be enjoyed by anglers of all skill levels. One interesting statistic about the Smith River is that it contains more than 2,000 trout per mile!

This makes it a great spot for catching plenty of fish throughout your trip. Additionally, you can expect to find fish up to 16 inches in length if you’re lucky enough to snag them.

If you’re looking for a fishing experience that’s full of adventure and exploration, the Smith River is a great option. You’ll get to test your skills against some of Montana’s most beautiful rivers, making it an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts who have a subconscious desire for freedom.

The Smith River has something special in store for everyone: from novice anglers who are interested in learning the basics of fly fishing all the way up to experienced fishermen who want to challenge themselves with some of the region’s more expert-level waters. Whether you plan on doing some day trips or longer adventures, there’s always something new and exciting waiting around every bend!

Most Common Fishes

When it comes to fly fishing in Montana, there are a few different kinds of fish you’ll be likely to encounter. Trout, paddlefish, pike, bass, sunfish, perch, catfish, sturgeon, and burbot are the most common species you’ll find here.

All of these fish can be caught on a fly rod with some patience and skill.

Trout are probably the most popular fish to target when fly fishing in Montana. You’ll find them in both rivers and lakes throughout the state and they can be challenging to catch. They range from small brook trout that inhabit small streams to large rainbow trout that swim in larger rivers and lakes.

Paddlefish are another favorite among anglers looking for a challenge. These large fish can grow up to five feet long and can weigh more than 100 pounds! They tend to inhabit deeper waters so make sure your gear is up for the task if you plan on targeting them.

Bass, sunfish, perch, catfish, sturgeon, and burbot are all great options as well if you’re looking for something other than trout or paddlefish.

These species may not be as plentiful as trout but they can still offer an exciting challenge for those who seek them out. With the right approach and technique, you’re sure to have success when targeting any of these species!

Now that we know about some of the most common fishes found in Montana waters it’s time to talk about tackling and baits that will give us the best chance at catching these elusive game fish!

Tackles And Baits

Fly fishing is like a dance, where the fly and line move in perfect harmony to entice one of nature’s most majestic creatures.

Tackles and baits are the instruments of the art. For a successful cast, you need quality tackle that can handle the weight of the fly. A good starter kit should include a reel, rod, leader material, tippet material, and various types of flies. You also may want to consider investing in accessories such as forceps or floatants for added convenience.

When it comes to baits, flies come in all shapes and sizes – each designed to mimic a certain type of insect or food item that fish find attractive. Dry flies are used on top of the water surface while wet flies are meant to be fished deeper down in the water column.

Streamers provide fun action with their larger size and motion while nymphs imitate underwater insects like caddisflies or mayflies.

It’s important to remember that success isn’t guaranteed by simply having the right equipment; you must also understand how to use it correctly. Identifying which bait works best for your local waters takes practice and patience.

Try different techniques such as roll-casting or mending your leader until you find what produces results for you.

Once you have mastered your cast and become familiar with suitable baits for your area, you’ll be ready to take on Montana’s bountiful rivers and lakes like an old pro – no guide necessary!

Montana Fly Fishing Guides

When it comes to fly fishing in Montana, there is no better way to experience the beauty of the state than with a qualified guide. Not only do they know the ins and outs of the local waters, but they can also provide invaluable help for anglers who are new to fly fishing. With their knowledge and expertise, you’ll have the best chance of catching that trophy trout.

Guides in Montana are not only experienced fishermen but also certified professionals who are knowledgeable about the local regulations and safety precautions associated with fly fishing. They will make sure you stay within your limits and keep you safe while on the water.

They can also provide helpful tips on casting techniques, bait selection, and other important information that will help increase your chances of success.

When choosing a guide, make sure to select one who has extensive experience in both float trips and wading trips, as well as access to some of Montana’s best trout waters. You should also look for guides who offer full-day trips at an affordable rate so that you get the most out of your time on the water. It’s worth considering all these factors when looking for a guide to ensure you get the most out of your trip.

No matter what size fish you’re hoping to catch or how experienced an angler you are, hiring a guide for a day or two will give you an unforgettable experience on Montana’s beautiful rivers. With their expertise and guidance, you’ll be able to enjoy everything this great state has to offer without worrying about any mishaps along the way.

Onward then towards exploring Montana fly fishing trips!

Montana Fly Fishing Trips

Fishing in Montana is like a dream come true; it’s an experience of a lifetime. It’s the perfect way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, while also catching some wild trout. Fly fishing in Montana is particularly special; you can feel the excitement as you cast your line into the rushing waters of one of its many rivers.

A fly fisherman in Montana experiences a sense of freedom unlike anything else, as they explore and discover new opportunities along the river banks.

A guided trip along these top rivers can be especially beneficial for those who are new to fly fishing, or who just want to learn more about the area. With expert guides who know all about the best spots and techniques, you’ll be able to make sure that you get the most out of your experience.

There are plenty of lodging packages available too; so if you’re looking for a longer stay, then there are options for that too. The quality wild trout waters of Montana offer some truly world class fly fishing opportunities – from smaller streams to larger rivers. No matter what kind of anglers you are, or what kind of fish you’re after, there’s something here for everyone.

Whether it’s brown or rainbow trout – or even cutthroat trout – that you’re after, this is definitely a place worth visiting if you love to fly fishing. Excitement awaits every time a fisherman casts their line into Montana’s waters; with each cast comes an opportunity to catch something truly special.

Experiencing this adventure first-hand really opens up your eyes to just how amazing these rivers can be, and why so many people return year after year.

This is why so many experienced anglers keep returning – they know that no matter where they go in Montana, there will always be something new and exciting waiting for them here! With such incredible experiences awaiting them on every trip, it’s no wonder why fishermen flock to Montana’s rivers – regulations or not!

To ensure your safety and enjoyment on any given journey, however, it’s important to take note of any applicable regulations before heading out on your next adventure.

Montana Fishing Regulations

Fishing in Montana is an incredible experience, and you’ll want to make sure you’re following all the necessary regulations. To help ensure that your trip is safe and enjoyable, let’s review what you need to know about Montana fishing regulations.

First off, before heading out on your next fly-fishing outing in Montana, it’s important to identify which Fishing District you’ll be fishing in: Western, Central, or Eastern. You’ll then need to read the Standard Regulations that apply to all waters in that district, as well as any Exceptions listed for specific waters.

For the Western District, the fishing season runs from the third Saturday in May through November 30th – unless otherwise specified by Exceptions. In the Central and Eastern Districts however, fishing is open all year round – again except for any specific Exceptions.

The best way to make sure you have a great time fly-fishing in Montana is to read up on the regulations before heading out!

Here are four tips for staying informed:

  • Read up on the Standard Regulations applicable to each district before planning a trip;
  • Check any Exceptions listed for specific waters;
  • Note the different seasons applicable in each district; and
  • Familiarize yourself with local licensing requirements.

Taking a few moments of preparation can go a long way toward ensuring a successful fly-fishing adventure!


Fly fishing in Montana is an unforgettable experience.

Not only do anglers have access to some of the best trout streams and rivers, but they can also enjoy the stunning natural beauty that surrounds them.

While some may be intimidated by the thought of fly fishing in a new place, with the right preparation and guidance, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Professional guides are available to help you make the most of your trip, giving insights into local conditions and helping you locate the best spots on the river.

With their expertise, combined with top-quality tackle and bait, you can make sure your trip is as successful as possible.

Don’t let inexperience stop you from enjoying one of nature’s greatest pleasures – fly fishing in Montana!