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The Best Fishing Lakes In Montana

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Guide to top places to fish for bass, catfish, crappie and more in MT.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Ashley Lake, MT
  • Canyon Ferry Lake, MT
  • Clark Canyon Reservoir, MT
  • Earthquake Lake, MT
  • Flathead Lake, MT
  • Fort Peck Lake, MT
  • Fresno Reservoir, MT
  • Georgetown Lake, MT
  • Hauser Lake, MT
  • Hebgen Lake, MT
  • Holter Reservoir, MT
  • Hungry Horse Reservoir, MT
  • Lake Elwell, MT
  • Lake Frances, MT
  • Lake Koocanusa, MT
  • Lower Saint Mary Lake, MT
  • McDonald Lake, MT
  • Nelson Reservoir, MT
  • Noxon Reservoir, MT
  • Swan Lake, MT
  • Tongue River Reservoir, MT
  • Whitefish Lake, MT

The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, and the species found in each lake.

Canyon Ferry Lake, Flathead Lake, Fort Peck Lake, Georgetown Lake, Hebgen Lake, Holter Reservoir, Lake Elwell-Tiber Reservoir, Lake Koocanusa and Tongue River Reservoir are some of the most popular places for fishing in Montana, offering anglers the chance to pursue a variety of fish species. The Fishing Boat Rental Page lists options for fishing boat rentals at some of these lakes. Many of these lakes present an excellent opportunity for ice fishing in winter.

Montana is home to a diverse array of fishing lakes, offering both warm water and cold water fishing opportunities for anglers. These lakes provide excellent habitats for various fish species, making them popular destinations for fishing enthusiasts.

When it comes to warm water lakes, Fort Peck Reservoir stands out as one of Montana's premier fishing destinations. This massive reservoir spans over 245,000 acres and is known for its excellent walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass fisheries. Anglers can also find other warm water species such as yellow perch and catfish in Fort Peck Reservoir. The expansive nature of this reservoir provides ample room for boating and fishing, making it a favorite among recreational anglers.

Another notable warm water lake in Montana is Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. This iconic lake offers fantastic fishing opportunities for lake trout, yellow perch, northern pike, and whitefish. The crystal-clear waters of Flathead Lake and its stunning mountain backdrop make it a must-visit destination for anglers seeking a picturesque fishing experience.

Montana is also known for its cold water lakes, which are often dominated by trout species. Georgetown Lake, located in the picturesque Flint Creek Range, is a popular cold water fishery known for its rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee salmon populations. This lake offers a tranquil fishing experience with beautiful mountain views.

Holter Lake, situated along the Missouri River, is another notable cold water lake in Montana. Anglers can target rainbow trout, brown trout, and walleye in Holter Lake, which stretches over 24 miles. The lake's proximity to the capital city of Helena and its scenic surroundings make it a popular choice for fishing and outdoor recreation.

Various other lakes in Montana, such as Canyon Ferry Lake, Hebgen Lake, and Seeley Lake, offer a mix of warm water and cold water species. Anglers can find a wide range of fish, including trout, bass, walleye, pike, and panfish, depending on the specific lake and its ecological characteristics.

Montana's fishing lakes provide a wealth of opportunities for anglers of all levels. Whether targeting warm water species in expansive reservoirs or pursuing trout in crystal-clear mountain lakes, Montana offers diverse fishing experiences in breathtaking natural surroundings. It's essential for anglers to be familiar with the specific regulations and restrictions for each lake to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Montana

Bass Lakes

Canyon Ferry Lake, Castle Rock Reservoir, Dan Hanghian Reservoir, Fort Peck Lake, Fresno Reservoir, Gartside Reservoir, Georgetown Lake, Holter Reservoir, Noxon Reservoir and Tongue River Reservoir are considered the good options for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. More...

Catfish Lakes

Flathead Lake and Nelson Reservoir are favorite, large-lake options for channel catfish. More...

Crappie Lakes

Fort Peck Lake, Nelson Reservoir and Tongue River Reservoir are the most popular for black or white crappie. More...

Sunfish, Perch & Panfish Lakes

Ashley Lake, Canyon Ferry Lake, Fort Peck Lake, Lake Koocanusa and Nelson Reservoir are popular spots to fish for bluegill, perch and other sunfish. More...

Walleye Lakes

Fort Peck Lake, Fresno Reservoir, Holter Reservoir, Hauser Lake, Lake Elwell-Tiber Reservoir, Lake Frances, Lake Helena and Nelson Reservoir are considered some of the top locations for walleye fishing. More...

Trout Lakes

Ashley Lake, Canyon Ferry Lake, Clark Canyon Reservoir, Earthquake Lake, Flathead Lake, Fort Peck Lake, Georgetown Lake, Hebgen Lake, Holter Reservoir, Hungry Horse Reservoir, Lake Elwell-Tiber Reservoir, Lake Koocanusa, Lower Saint Mary Lake, McDonald Lake, Nelson Reservoir, Swan Lake and Whitefish Lake are the favorite options for rainbow, cutthroat, brook, brown and lake trout. More...

Salmon Lakes

Fort Peck Lake, Fresno Reservoir, Hauser Lake, Holter Reservoir, Lake Koocanusa, McDonald Lake and Swan Lake are the most popular for atlantic, chinook, chum, coho, kokanee, pink and sockeye salmon fishing. More...

Visit the Montana fishing page for links to information covering a wide variety of fish species and destinations in the state. Visit the Montana map to identify your best route to these top fishing locations.


Best Destinations By State.

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