Montana’s streams and rivers are famous for their plentiful but wily trout. Although it’s theoretically possible to fish year-round in lakes and large rivers, late June through October are the most popular months for fishing. The state maintains more than 300 fishing-access areas across the state. The basic fee for a fishing license is $18 for adult Montana residents and $60 for a nonresident year-long license (or $15 for a two-day license). A $10 nonresident/$8 resident conservation license is also required.
The list of blue-ribbon fishing streams in Montana is lengthy and includes such well-known (and now crowded) rivers as the Yellowstone, Bighorn, Madison, and Big Hole. However, these are just the famous fisheries; many other rivers and streams provide ample sport and fishing pleasure. Lake fishing is also popular, especially in northwestern Montana, with such bodies as Flathead Lake.
Even arid eastern Montana is a fishing destination, with famed walleye fishing in Fort Peck Reservoir and paddlefishing in the Yellowstone River near Glendive.
You don’t have to hire a fishing guide or outfitter to fish in Montana, but if you’re new to angling or would like to gain more skill as a fly-fisher, it’s a good idea to enlist the aid of an outfitter. Also, access to fishing holes can be a problem, and a local outfitter can remove potential hassles that could otherwise ruin a quick fishing trip to Montana. Each chapter of this book includes the names of reputable fishing guides and fly shops.
Contact the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (406/444-2535, http://fwp.mt.gov) for up-to-date information on licensing and season dates.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition