Fishing Montana’s High Mountain Lakes

You can’t get into all the West’s mountain lakes right now, but most of them below 8,000 feet are accessible, free of ice, and offering eager cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout. A few lakes also hold golden trout, which are a personal favorite of mine.

I took the girls and hiked into a small lake in the Montana’s Bitterroot Range last weekend and we had a blast. Myka took another stumble, but she shook it off and made it to the truck mostly unscathed. Tate was more interested in the fishing than Myka and landed at least a half-dozen small brook trout. On the hike out she said, “Dad, can we do this again tomorrow? And camp overnight?”

Sounds like a plan for another time this summer. If we do camp at that lake, we’ll head to the upper lake one day to see if the reports about larger trout are true. If you have the time and the will, get to a high mountain lake and see what fly fishing in a glacial cirque is all about. Great scenery, eager fish, lots of fun. Make sure to take bug spray aplenty, sunblock in the same amount, plus Zug Bugs, Pheasant Tails, P-chute Adams’, ants and beetles, and maybe a few leeches. Carry floating and sinking lines and if you can muster it, take a floattube. Five-weight rods suffice, although fours and sixes work, too. Here are some pics from the weekend.


Just a mile hike in and a mile hike out gets you into a little slice of fly fishing heaven, with dumb brook trout and fabulous scenery.

Tate handling it.

Myka hauling one in, Tate being the cheer section.



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