Your Montana Fish Bucket List And Where To Find Them

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Fishing | 0 comments

A river in a forest

Montana is renowned for its incredible fishing opportunities—with gorgeous lakes, spring creeks, and rivers, there’s no wonder that more than 1 million tourists come to this state just for fishing. Anglers get to wade through crystal-clear waters and pebble-filled streams while taking in the beautiful sight of wildlife and mountains along the way.

Hire a Clark Fork River fishing guide and start catching these amazing fish in Montana:


Montana is home to many different trout species such as bull trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout. No red-blooded angler would leave the state without catching at least one of these! These beautiful fish need to be at the top of every fisherman’s fish bucket list in Montana.

The bull trout, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and westslope cutthroat trout are native to Montana, while the rainbow and brown species aren’t stocked in the area. They got spawned in the state’s waters thousands of years ago, and now you can find an abundance of them in the rivers and lakes.

Channel catfish

One of the more important catfish that is native to the Montana region is the channel catfish. These incredibly large fish reproduce throughout early summer and spring. The largest one to ever have been caught weighed over 30 pounds, but the 2–4-pound fish are a lot better to eat. The channel catfish is abundant in the Missouri and Yellowstone River drainages.

Creek chub

The creek chub is another fish species that are native to Montana. They grow up to around 6 inches in this area but can go up to 1 foot in length in other places. You can often find them in eastern Montana inside prairie streams.

Freshwater drum

This wonderful fish has an interesting name based on the sound it produces by drumming its muscles against its gall bladder. It’s the only drum fish that’s native to this region and can usually be found in large reservoirs and streams in the eastern drainages.

Fathead minnow

This natural inhabitant can be found in an abundance in streams and ponds in prairie ecoregions. It has brown or dark olive skin with dusky sides and a pale underbelly.

Rainbow smelt

The rainbow smelt is one of the only smelt species in Montana—all thanks to the rivers in North Dakota. This fish was initially introduced in the Garrison River in 1971 and is an excellent catch for recreational fishers. You can find rainbow smelt in many lakes in Montana, but they often transfer into streams and reproduce.

A Person Fishing In Water

We provide top-notch guided fly fishing trips in Montana

Don’t know where to start your fishing adventure? FishTales Outfitting has got you covered! We have many experienced guides for the Missouri River, Blackfoot River, Bitterroot River, and others in Montana. Take a look at our long list of Montana fly fishing packages to prepare for the ultimate fly fishing vacation with your loved ones! You’ll need this recommended gear to start.

Contact us to find out more!


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