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Montana is often called the "Mecca of Fly Fishing," and for good reason. It has some of the best fly fishing in the United States, if not the world. With over 22,000 miles of rivers and streams, Montana has something to offer every angler, from beginners to experienced fly fishermen.
One of the most famous rivers in Montana is the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone River is one of the longest undammed rivers in the United States and provides a great habitat for many fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and whitefish. The Yellowstone River is best fished from a drift boat, as much of the river is too deep to wade. The Yellowstone River also has many access points, making it easy to find a spot to fish.
Another great river in Montana is the Missouri River. The Missouri River is known for its large trout, particularly rainbow and brown trout. The Missouri River is a tailwater fishery, which means that it is fed by a dam, which keeps the water cool and consistent year-round. The Missouri River is also home to some of the best dry fly fishing in Montana, particularly in the summer months.
The Bighorn River is another popular destination for fly fishing in Montana. The Bighorn River is a tailwater fishery, which means that it is fed by a dam, which keeps the water cool and consistent year-round. The Bighorn River is known for its large brown and rainbow trout, and is particularly popular among drift boat fishermen.
Montana is also home to some of the best spring creek fishing in the world. Spring creeks are small, clear, slow-moving streams that provide a perfect habitat for trout. The most famous spring creek in Montana is the Paradise Valley spring creeks, which include Armstrong, DePuy, and Nelson spring creeks. These spring creeks are home to some of the largest and most selective trout in the world, and are best fished with small, delicate flies and a lot of patience.
One thing to keep in mind when fly fishing in Montana is that many of the rivers and streams are located on private property. While access is often granted through public fishing access sites, it's important to respect the landowners and their property.
When planning a fly fishing trip to Montana, it's important to keep in mind that the fishing season is relatively short. Most rivers and streams are closed to fishing from mid-March to the third Saturday in May, to protect spawning fish. Additionally, many rivers and streams are closed to fishing from mid-October to mid-November, to protect spawning brown trout.
Overall, fly fishing in Montana is an experience that every angler should have at least once in their life. With its pristine rivers and streams, abundant fish populations, and breathtaking scenery, Montana is truly a fly fishing paradise.