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Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Montana

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Guide to fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass on bass Lakes In MT.

Bass fishing lures

Montana has excellent fishing opportunities pretty much all across the state. It is not known as a prolific bass fishing state due to relatively short growing seasons and typically cold water. That said, there are still plenty of places in MT to fish for, and catch, some very nice bass. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for valuable information about bass and bass fishing. Private ponds, rivers and small lakes may contain bass but the larger populations of bass are harbored in some of the major lakes in the state.

While Montana is not typically recognized as a premier bass fishing destination, the state still offers opportunities for anglers to target both largemouth and smallmouth bass in select water bodies. Largemouth bass can be found in some of Montana's larger lakes and reservoirs, such as Fort Peck Reservoir, Lake Elmo, and Canyon Ferry Reservoir. These fish prefer warmer water and are often associated with vegetation, submerged structures, and near shorelines. Anglers commonly use a variety of techniques including topwater lures, spinnerbaits, and soft plastic baits to entice largemouth bass to strike.

Smallmouth bass, on the other hand, are more prevalent in Montana's rivers and some of the state's smaller lakes. Popular rivers like the Bighorn River, Yellowstone River, and the upper reaches of the Missouri River offer excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. Smallmouth bass are known for their aggressive nature and fighting ability, making them a favorite among anglers. Techniques such as casting crankbaits, jigs, and soft plastics along rocky banks, current breaks, and deep pools can be productive when targeting smallmouth bass.

While bass fishing may not be as widely pursued as trout or other species in Montana, dedicated anglers can still find success and enjoy the challenge of catching largemouth and smallmouth bass. It is important to note that bass fishing regulations and seasons may vary depending on the water body, so anglers should review the Montana Fishing Regulations to ensure compliance.

Montana's breathtaking landscapes and diverse fishing opportunities make it a destination worth exploring for bass enthusiasts seeking new challenges and scenic angling experiences. Whether targeting largemouth bass in the reservoirs or casting for smallmouth bass in the rivers, Montana offers a unique bass fishing experience amidst its natural beauty.

Major Lakes In MT With Bass

Some of the larger lakes maintaining a healthy population of bass include Bull Lake, Canyon Ferry Lake, Flathead Lake, Fort Peck Lake, Fresno Reservoir, Lake Koocanusa, Nelson Reservoir, Noxon Reservoir, Placid Lake, Seeley Lake and Tongue River Reservoir.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Montana

Bass In Montana

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 8.80 lbs

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7.5 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 Bass Fishing Lures For Montana

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and stickbaits are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

Montana State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Noxon Rapids Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from Fort Peck Reservoir.

Bass fishing in Montana

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in Montana.

Bass fishing basics video.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Treasure State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!


Bass fishing information by state.

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The lifecycle of bass

The more you know about the seasonal migration of bass, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Montana bass fishing lakes. Visit the bass fishing page for more in-depth information about bass activities.