Great Fishing In Montana
Guide to fishing in the Treasure State
Montana is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, offering a wide variety of fish species and diverse fishing opportunities. From warm water fisheries to cold water fisheries, as well as ponds, lakes, and rivers, the state provides something for every angler's preference. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.
Montana's warm water fisheries are known for their abundance of species such as walleye, northern pike, bass, catfish, and panfish. Lakes and reservoirs like Fort Peck Reservoir, Canyon Ferry Lake, and Tongue River Reservoir are renowned for their warm water fish populations. Anglers can enjoy thrilling battles with predatory species like walleye and northern pike, or seek the excitement of catching largemouth or smallmouth bass.
The state's cold water fisheries, particularly its rivers and streams, are famous for their trout populations. Montana boasts some of the best trout fishing in the country, with species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout. Rivers like the Madison River, Yellowstone River, and Gallatin River offer world-class fly fishing opportunities, attracting anglers from around the globe. These cold water fisheries provide both scenic beauty and the chance to catch trophy-sized trout.
In addition to the lakes and rivers, Montana is dotted with numerous ponds that offer excellent fishing opportunities. These smaller bodies of water are often stocked with trout, bass, and other gamefish. Anglers can enjoy the convenience of fishing in tranquil ponds, where they can test their skills and reel in a variety of species.
Montana's vast network of lakes, rivers, and ponds ensures that anglers have countless options to explore. Whether casting a line in the tranquil waters of a mountain lake, wading in a rushing river, or enjoying the solitude of a secluded pond, Montana's fishing destinations provide a rich tapestry of experiences.
It's important for anglers to familiarize themselves with Montana's fishing regulations, as they vary depending on the specific water body and species being targeted. Seasonal restrictions, bag limits, and catch-and-release policies are in place to ensure the sustainability of fish populations and the overall health of the fisheries.
With its diverse array of species and fishing opportunities, Montana offers a fishing experience that caters to anglers of all interests and skill levels. From chasing trout in pristine rivers to battling predatory species in expansive lakes, the state's fishing scene is a true angler's paradise.
The state of Montana offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the world. It is a fishing paradise set in a land of spectacular, natural beauty. Find excellent fishing for trout, salmon, bass, walleye, crappie and more. We focus here on the major lakes in Montana. Additionally you may also find excellent fishing on smaller lakes, ponds and streams. Some of the best fishing rivers in MT include the Madison River, Gallatin River, Yellowstone River, Boulder River, The Missouri River, Stillwater River and many, many more.
Here in the great outdoors of Montana, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, golden trout, bluegill, green sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white bass, yellow perch, coho salmon, kokanee salmon, northern pike, paddlefish, sauger, saugeye and tiger muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams. In winter, many of these species are able to be taken while ice fishing.
Major Montana Lakes & Species
Lake & Fish Chart
This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or reservoirs. Many of these lakes offer fishing boats for rent.
For a detailed list of primary fish species in MT, plus state fish records, see the list below.
Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.
Ashley Lake is a 3,200-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, 8 miles west of Kalispell.
Bull Lake is a 1,200-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, 10 miles south of Troy.
Canyon Ferry Lake is a 33,500-acre lake located in the west-central part of the state, at Townsend.
Clark Canyon Reservoir is a 4,800-acre lake in the southwest corner of the state, 15 miles south of Dillon.
Deadmans Basin Reservoir is a 2,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Shawmut.
Flathead Lake is a 128,000-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at Polson.
Fort Peck Lake is a 250,000-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, at Fort Peck.
Fresno Reservoir is a 3,200-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, 3 miles northeast of Kremlin.
Georgetown Lake is a 2,800-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, 12 miles west of Anaconda.
Gibson Reservoir is a 1,300-acre lake in the central part of the state, 15 miles northwest of Augusta.
Hauser Lake is a 3,200-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, on the northeast outskirts of Helena.
Hebgen Lake is a 11,000-acre lake in the southeast corner of the state, 3 miles north of West Yellowstone.
Holter Reservoir is a 4,800-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Wolf Creek.
Hungry Horse Reservoir is a 23,500-acre lake located in the northwest part of the state, 5 miles east of Columbia Falls.
Lake Frances is a 3,600-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at Valier.
Lake Helena is a 2,100-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, on the northeast outskirts of Helena.
Lake Koocanusa is a 28,800-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, at Rexford.
Lower Saint Mary Lake is a 3,900-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, 5 miles south of Babb.
McDonald Lake is a 6,800-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at West Glacier.
Nelson Reservoir is a 4,100-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, 8 miles west of Saco.
Noxon Reservoir is a 6,100-acre lake in the west-center part of the state, at Trout Creek.
Placid Lake is a 1,200-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Placid Lake State Park.
Seeley Lake is a 1,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Seeley Lake.
Tiber Reservoir, aka Lake Elwell,is a 14,800-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, 5 miles south of Galata.
Whitefish Lake is a 3,300-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at Whitefish.
Willow Creek Reservoir is a 1,300-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Augusta.
Fish Species & State Records in Montana
World record: 22 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 8.80 lbs
World record: 11 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 7.5 lbs
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 35.18 lbs
World record: 6 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 3.13 lbs
World record: 5 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 3.68 lbs
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 17.75 lbs
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 8.805 lbs
World record: 15 lbs 6 oz
State Record: 15.66 lbs
World record: 42 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 33.1 lbs
World record: 41 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 16.0 lbs
World record: 14 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 9.06 lbs
World record: 40 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 29.0 lbs
World record: 72 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 42.69 lbs
World record: 11 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 5.43 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 2.64 lbs
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 0.84 lbs
World record: 2 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 0.96 lbs
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 1.31 lbs
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 2.8 lbs
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 2.39 lbs
World record: 97 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 31.13 lbs
World record: 33 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 4.88 lbs
World record: 9 lbs 10 oz
State Record: 7.85 lbs
World record: 55 lbs 1 oz
State Record: 37.5 lbs
World record: 144 lbs
State Record: 142.5 lbs
Estimated world record: 1,100 lbs
State Record: 96.0 lbs
World record: 51 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 38.75 lbs
Click the images and links above for species details.
MT Boats For Fishing
Visit AA-Boats-Boating.com to find information about fishing boats in Montana.
State of MT Fishing Information
Fish for big bass
Excellent largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.
Fishing in all states