Best Spots to Fly Fish in Montana

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after …”

 Henry David Thoreau

As the sun rises and sets throughout the Big Sky, we feel a hint of fall in the air.  And in Montana, it’s the season that we all look forward to. From sun-up to sundown, there are endless conversations about the best spots to fly fish in Montana. So find your waders, pull out your booties, select your favorite flies and of course get that fishing license for the Fall season to come!

Clark Fork River ~ Those who fish the Clark Fork will be the first to tell you that sections of this river that flow through Missoula, MT, and join forces with the Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers offer some of the toughest fly-fishing experiences in the West.

There are two main sections of the Clark Fork, the lower river which is just west of Missoula and the upper river the is east of this college town and home to the University of Missoula. On its eastern fork, the scenery of the vast ranchlands is just as mesmerizing as its waters that are home to habitats for rainbow and trout.  The western fork winds its way into Idaho where the waters change personality along the way and are famous for browns, rainbows, and cutthroat trout.

Madison River ~ Flowing from Yellowstone National Park all the way to the Missouri River, this is one to put on your list, and be sure to make lodging reservations way in advance. Throughout what is noted as a ‘legendary fishery’, the Madison River offers various peak fishing times that allow anglers to enjoy the diverse landscape and river flow year-round.

Known for its sustainability of high trout counts, it is not uncommon to hear about the numerous “trophy” fish that draw anglers to the Yellowstone area from around the world. It is by far one of the most consistent rivers in Montana that is sure to please the novice to the most advanced.

Gallatin River ~ Wade anglers who are done with tangling line with float enthusiasts take note.  No one is permitted to fish by boat on the Gallatin!  Running for more than 25 miles through Yellowstone, and forty miles along private property and mountainous terrain, the river offers endless spots to toss a line from the water’s edge or wade to your delight.  Access is one of the best as most of the river flows along the road and has some easy and safe pull-outs to start and end what will surely be an experience you won’t want to miss.

Do note that there are special fishing regulations that must be adhered to at all times.  If you are seeking a trophy, this is not the spot.  However, those who are just getting introduced to the sport will find the Gallatin very rewarding as the fish are known to not be choosy about what’s on the other end of the line.

And that is JUST the beginning of the hundreds of lakes and streams that await those who seek the best spots to fly fish in Montana.  A few more of our personal favorites include the Missouri River, Flathead River, Tobacco River, and Kootenai rivers.  You can learn all about these top spots, and plenty more, by visiting

The Last Best Place … to FISH! Finally, we have selected two of the most pristine properties for sale in Montana where you can fish the day away in the Last Best Place!  Take a look at those below, and for more information about fishing and hunting ranches for sale in Montana, reach out to the Holllinger Team at any time.