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novice seeking info on trout in Montana

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Around July 22 I have a chance to go to Montana and will have 4-5 days to do whatever I want. Someone suggested trout fishing. I have tried it in northern and southern MN. I have a couple rods, a couple reels, some different lines, stocking foot waders. About all that I know of Montana is that you have to drive through the Dakota's to get there.

I can go out and get Bob Alwin to suggest flies for me but I would like some idea on whether it makes sense. One person told me that you need a raft to float the rivers and that my canoe won't work for that. I don't have a raft and don't really want to buy one. I have a belly boat so maybe that would work.

My 30 year old son thinks we could have a ton of fun doing this but his experience comes from a TV.

Any info you can offer will be appreciated.

Thanks for your time.


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Montana rivers, especially the larger ones, like Minnesota lakes, are all different. You don't need a raft, and most fisherman in rafts float to spots and wade and fish. If you want to fly fish, just about any large city or town near good trout waters have fly shops which can tell you what is working and where, and ar happy to sell you those flies. Statewide fishing reports are published every Thursday in the Billings Gazette which you can acess on line. I suck at flyfishing so I use primarily #7 countdown rapalas in gold, silver rainbow and blue. In smaller waters, like the Musselshell, floating rapalas work better because you can float them into a hole or by logs and then sink them. Be sure to use new high quality mono in 6 or 8 lb. test or you will leave a lot of expensive tackle in the river. Salamander (black body with red dots) or yellow with red dot panther martins work well at times in the larger rivers. If you want to catch whitefish on the Yellowstone you can pitch red and white mepps. #2 gold mepps work on smaller streams like the Smith or Musselshell rivers. Don't bother with bait unless you become real familiar with Montana regs because alot of Montana is artificial only (and alot is catch and release). Check MT FWP web site for maps with all the fishing access sites. My biggest caution is most good trout waters have large rocks/boulders so felt bottomed waders are a must to avoid breaking your tush. On smaller streams you can wade without waders, but wear jeans as the mosquitos can carry you away. And remember, trout fishing is always best from an hour before sun up to mid morning and late evening to after sun down.

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