What to Watch
In Montana, fishing methods vary with the season, the type of water, and the angler's personal preference. Fly, spin, and bait fishing are all popular techniques, although the use of bait is restricted on some streams. In general, most fly fishers use five-, six-, or seven-weight rods that are 8 1/2- or nine-feet long, while spin and bait fishers favor medium-action rods with six- to 10-pound test line. Ultralight spinning gear is also popular.
Wading is the most common technique along streams and rivers. Hip boots are handy on small streams, but chest waders are needed on the large rivers. Felt-soled wading shoes or boots improve traction on slippery stream bottoms.
Float fishing is increasingly popular on the largest rivers, but some rivers can be dangerous in high water. Inexperienced floaters always should inquire locally about river conditions and possible hazards. the best floating craft are McKenzie-style drift boats or high-quality inflatable rafts with rowing frames.
Motorboats are allowed on most lakes and on some larger rivers; smaller lakes and rivers may have restrictions on motorized water craft. Motorboat operators should always be alert for fast-moving storms and strong winds, especially on large reservoirs such as Fort Peck. All motorboats must have a valid license from Montana or another state or country.
Children under 12 must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times while boating or rafting; adults are encouraged to wear PFDs.
Additional Fishing Information: