Fly fishing Montana's Rivers and Creeks

This state is amazingly majestic, the water is clean, and the majority of the fish, native.

• 544 words

• By Scott Mathson

Montana western rivers

Brown, red, orange, and gold. These are the colors that I associate with the fish, fly fishing, and the scenery of Montana.

Montana is a unique, amazing place and it’s hard to deny that it’s a fishing mecca for many.

Some folks plan their yearly trips within Montana, seeking the Missouri or Blackfoot as their destination. Others, like myself, are fortunate and lucky enough to live and/or have grown up, here.

Do we sometimes take it for granted? I’ll speak for myself: absolutely.

This state is amazingly majestic, the water is clean, and the majority of the fish, native. This isn’t without the hard work of many conservation groups, and ethical outdoorspeople. Doing good is important.

Wherever you recreate, it’s important to always do your part to make sure this legacy lives on, by keeping it clean, packing it out, and generally protecting our natural resources.

Growing up in the central part of Montana, the Missouri River and fishing spots around Craig, MT was my home waters and its where I initially learned to fish.

I love those waters and it’s hard to deny that. But there is absolutely something about the western rivers of Montana that just get me and I eventually rose to their calling.

My personal, Montana journey took me west, moving to Missoula and becoming more and more familiar with the western waters of this state. Floating down or wading in rivers like the mighty Blackfoot, the Bitterroot, or even trekking into Rock Creek, are a definite recipe for amazing experiences and memories.

If you’ve never made a trip to Montana for fishing, then yes, you are absolutely missing out. This is not just the biased thoughts of a Montanan. It’s common knowledge in the fishing community, at this point.

We all encourage you to come on out, check out the Gallatin, the Bitterroot, and of course, the Missouri River.

My suggestions: bring your camera, but take more mental shots than physical.

Be mindful of where you are and simply enjoy your surroundings, it truly is something wonderful.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds of the popular rivers, I highly encourage you to check out the different mountain streams and creeks, and the tributaries of rivers like the Blackfoot.

My personal favorites: the tributaries around Lincoln, MT and creeks around White Sulphur Springs, MT. There’s nothing quite like catching native trout in these higher, mountain waters. Check out Copper Creek and Alice Creek near Lincoln or Jumping Creek past Showdown Ski Area, towards White Sulphur Springs.

Heading further west towards Phillipsburg and Missoula, Rock Creek is the busiest of these smaller water suggestions, yet it also offers great trout fishing for browns, rainbows, and more.

Blackfoot River fly fishing

You’re hard-pressed to find a river, creek, or lake in Montana that you won’t enjoy fishing.

Not catching anything? Simply enjoy your surroundings, take it all in, because you’re always guaranteed to catch the pure beauty of the ridge-lines, peaks, canyons, and valleys of this wonderful state that is Montana.

Hope to see you out there soon. Tight lines!

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