Regional Guide

Glacier National Park and Northwest Montana - Fishing

Montana fishing is all about trout—Dolly Varden, cutthroat, rainbow, brook, and lake trout. Within Lewis and Clark National Forest you'll find 1,600 miles of trout streams and many small natural and man-made lakes. In the forest's Rocky Mountain Ranger District, which borders Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park, try your luck in the Sun and Dearborn Rivers.

No fishing license is required for Glacier National Park, so go ahead and cast your line for arctic grayling, kokanee salmon, and trout. Glacier holds a wide range of trout—from 'bows to cutts to eastern brookies. Just keep your hooks off the endangered bull trout.

Care to battle rainbows, largemouth bass, and huge lake trout? The scenic Flathead Valley offers serious anglers plenty of great fishing. Wade fish Flathead River, troll Echo Lake, or float-tube the valley's blue-ribbon streams.

Within the valley you'll also find Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Flathead boasts the state record for Mackinaw (42 pounds) and bull trout (26 pounds); kokanees and cutts also inhabit these clean, clear, glacier-fed waters. These fish maintain their numbers naturally, with no stocking necessary.

Looking for solitude and spectacular scenery? You'll find both on the Kootenai River. Located west of Glacier National Park in the Kootenai National Forest, this world-class trout stream pits anglers against Columbia Redbands, a strain of rainbows known for its strength and acrobatics.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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