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Bass Fishing In Montana

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Guide to fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass on bass Lakes In MT.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

Montana Bass Fishing

Bass fishing lures

Montana has excellent fishing opportunities pretty much all across the state. It is not known as a prolific bass fishing state due to relatively short growing seasons and typically cold water. That said, there are still plenty of places in MT to fish for, and catch, some very nice bass.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In Montana

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in Montana. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in Montana. The state record largemouth bass is over 8 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Largemouth bass can be found in some of Montana's larger lakes and reservoirs, such as Fort Peck Reservoir, Lake Elmo, and Canyon Ferry Reservoir. These fish prefer warmer water and are often associated with vegetation, submerged structures, and near shorelines. Anglers commonly use a variety of techniques including topwater lures, spinnerbaits, and soft plastic baits to entice largemouth bass to strike.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In Montana

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 7 pounds.

Smallmouth bass, on the other hand, are more prevalent in Montana's rivers and some of the state's smaller lakes. Popular rivers like the Bighorn River, Yellowstone River, and the upper reaches of the Missouri River offer excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. Smallmouth bass are known for their aggressive nature and fighting ability, making them a favorite among anglers. Techniques such as casting crankbaits, jigs, and soft plastics along rocky banks, current breaks, and deep pools can be productive when targeting smallmouth bass.

Bass fishing in Montana is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

While bass fishing may not be as widely pursued as trout or other species in Montana, dedicated anglers can still find success and enjoy the challenge of catching largemouth and smallmouth bass. It is important to note that bass fishing regulations and seasons may vary depending on the water body, so anglers should review the Montana Fishing Regulations to ensure compliance.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Montana

Some of the larger lakes maintaining a healthy population of bass include Bull Lake, Canyon Ferry Lake, Flathead Lake, Fort Peck Lake, Fresno Reservoir, Lake Koocanusa, Nelson Reservoir, Noxon Reservoir, Placid Lake, Seeley Lake and Tongue River Reservoir.

Montana's breathtaking landscapes and diverse fishing opportunities make it a destination worth exploring for bass enthusiasts seeking new challenges and scenic angling experiences. Whether targeting largemouth bass in the reservoirs or casting for smallmouth bass in the rivers, Montana offers a unique bass fishing experience amidst its natural beauty.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Montana

Bass In Montana

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 8.80 lbs

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7.5 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Montana State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Noxon Rapids Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from Fort Peck Reservoir.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for Montana this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and stickbaits are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

Bass fishing basics video.
Bass fishing in Montana

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in Montana.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Treasure State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!


Bass fishing information by state.

AL Bass Fishing AR Bass Fishing AZ Bass Fishing CA Bass Fishing CO Bass Fishing CT Bass Fishing DC Bass Fishing DE Bass Fishing FL Bass Fishing GA Bass Fishing HI Bass Fishing IA Bass Fishing ID Bass Fishing
IL Bass Fishing IN Bass Fishing KS Bass Fishing KY Bass Fishing LA Bass Fishing MA Bass Fishing MD Bass Fishing ME Bass Fishing MI Bass Fishing MN Bass Fishing MO Bass Fishing MS Bass Fishing MT Bass Fishing
NC Bass Fishing ND Bass Fishing NE Bass Fishing NH Bass Fishing NJ Bass Fishing NM Bass Fishing NV Bass Fishing NY Bass Fishing OH Bass Fishing OK Bass Fishing OR Bass Fishing PA Bass Fishing
RI Bass Fishing SC Bass Fishing SD Bass Fishing TN Bass Fishing TX Bass Fishing UT Bass Fishing VA Bass Fishing VT Bass Fishing WA Bass Fishing WI Bass Fishing WV Bass Fishing WY Fishing


The lifecycle of bass

The more you know about the seasonal migration of bass, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Montana bass fishing lakes. Visit the bass fishing page for more in-depth information about bass activities.