From Ben Pierce, beautiful footage on Montana’s Madison River of many-an-angler’s facorite mayfly hatch: the baetis.
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For generations, anglers have written at length in attempts to articulate the magnificence of Montana fly fishing. In short, Montana is too much to comprehend, let alone sufficiently summarize.
The entire state is rich with world-class trout waters. In Southwest Montana, anglers are treated to a diverse offering of rivers, including the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Jefferson, Gallatin, and Madison Rivers – each world famous in their own right as a legendary fishery.
The Madison River is perhaps the most well-known of these rivers and is especially prized as a river that offers endless wading opportunities for trophy trout. The number of big fish that are frequently caught on the Madison is extraordinary. Also noteworthy is the Big Hole River – prized for it trout fishing and picturesque setting, the Big Hole is also home to Arctic grayling – a specie that many do not realize can be caught in the lower forty-eight. And finally, the Beaverhead River is treasured as a healthy fishery that inhabits large populations of trout.
The Gallatin River can be accessed in numerous places throughout the area, and if near Bozeman, anglers can easy access gorgeous mountain trout waters in Gallatin Canyon. Imagine winding waters filled with big boulders and lined with tall trees with an abundance of access points along the road.
Farther north, anglers are treated to the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Blackfoot (A River Runs Through It), and Missouri Rivers (to name a few). Famous for its float trips, the Missouri River is one of the most highly regarded trout waters in the world and allows anglers the opportunity to take extended float trips through tough-to-beat mountain settings.
In Eastern Montana, anglers can pursue trout on a number of outstanding waters, from Frenchman Creek up north to the Bighorn River down south. A Montana river known for often producing large trout, the Bighorn draws people in search of big fish and frequently gives anglers what they’re looking for. In addition, the Yellowstone River begins its journey through Montana at the state’s eastern state line and offers floating and wading opportunities that make fly fishing dreams come true.
Finally, Montana is home to Glacier National Park and a substantial portion of Yellowstone – perhaps the national park most associated with fly fishing. Yellowstone has it all, from the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers and much more. And both in Yellowstone and throughout the state, anglers can access backcountry waters, including high mountain lake angling that often produce hungry wild trout. Unquestionably, Montana is one of the best fly fishing destinations in the world.