Montana Fish

							A close look at a Montana Rainbow Trout

Montana Fly Fishing Fish Species

Montana is a large and diverse state with myriad water types, including natural lakes and freestone rivers. Reservoirs were created throughout the 1900s for irrigation storage and hydroelectric generation. The waters of Montana support a wide array of both native and non-native fish species.

Trout are the primary game fish species for anglers fly fishing in Montana. Rainbow and Brown Trout were introduced throughout Montana rivers and are widely dispersed today. Brook Trout are common in small, mountain streams and alpine lakes, rarely encountered in the larger rivers.

Mountain Whitefish and Cutthroat Trout are native species and continue to thrive in Montana. A small population of fluvial Arctic Grayling still exists in the upper Big Hole River. Rainbow Trout are native to a small portion of northwest Montana and have adapted well to the rivers across the state.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has a comprehensive online guide to help anglers fishing in Montana to better understand the distribution of the varied fish species found in the state.

									Native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

Yellowstone Cutthroat

The Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout is native to the Yellowstone River drainage of southwest and south-central Montana.

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									Montana state fish, the native Westslope Cutthroat Trout

Westslope Cutthroat

A native Montana fish, their historical range is west of the continental divide and the upper Missouri River drainage.

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									Rainbow Trout Montana fish species

Rainbow Trout

Native to the Upper Kootenai River drainage, Rainbow Trout were introduced to waters throughout MT starting in 1889.

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									Brown Trout are widely distributed across the Montana fly fishing rivers

Brown Trout

Native to Europe and western Asia, Brown Trout were first introduced to Montana in 1889 in the Madison River.

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									Mountain Whitefish, a native Montana fish species

Mountain Whitefish

Native to Montana, this game fish species thrives in cold water streams throughout the mountainous regions of the state.

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									Native Montana fish of the upper Big Hole River, the Arctic Grayling

Arctic Grayling

Native to a small section of western Montana, the last native population of fluvial Grayling in the state are found in the upper Big Hole River.

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									Smallmouth bass sized

Smallmouth Bass

A non-native game fish that is occasionally encountered while fly fishing in Montana on the lower Yellowstone River near Big Timber.

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									Carp sized

Common Carp

These hard-fighting non-native fish are common in the headwaters of the Missouri River and the lower Yellowstone River

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									Brook trout sized

Brook Trout

Brook Trout are a non-native game fish that thrives in small, mountain streams and alpine lakes throughout Montana.

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Montana Fishing Reports


Gallatin River

Last Updated: 06/09/2024

Fly fishing Montana's Gallatin River is one of the best options throughout the spring season. Being the closest blue-ribbon stream to Bozeman, MT, the Gallatin River offers many Montana anglers...

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Upper Madison

Last Updated: 06/09/2024

Fly fishing in Montana on the Madison River during spring can be some of the best fly fishing in the state. The water temperatures start to rise, and the trout's...

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trout-icon trout-icon

Lower Madison

Last Updated: 06/09/2024

The Madison River fly fishing during the spring months can be some of the best fly fishing in Montana. Close to Bozeman, MT, the lower stretches (Ennis Dam north to...

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