Enjoy These Pre-Trip Fishing Options on Your Montana Visit

You’ve planned, prepared and packed for your horseback wilderness trip with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters. Many guests arrive a early and spend time exploring the area. Before your summer pack-trip or fall hunting trip, take adcantage of some of the world-farmous Montana waters.

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Numerous excellent fishing options are easily accessed by vehicle and killing a day or two on the water is a fun warm-up for the wilderness experience. Both summer and fall are productive times for fishing. Here are a few pre-trip fishing options within an hour or so of our Bob Marshall Wilderness trailhead.

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Blackfoot River

This famous trout fishery cuts through the heart of the valley. The Blackfoot has excellent access throughout the entire river system. The upper river between Ovando and Lincoln is perfect for wade fishing. You can access at official parking areas or any county maintained bridge. The river is smaller above the North Fork confluence and you won’t be competing with boaters. You can also hike-in from the North Fork trailhead and experience excellent cutthroat fishing.

Float fishing is popular below the confluence and the town of Ovando. Boat launch sites are also great for wade access and are found from Ovando all the way to Bonner and the Clark Fork river confluence. The river is full of wild brown, rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout. Bull trout are present but cannot be legally targeted. They are sometimes caught while targeting brown trout with streamers but must be released immediately.

Summer fishing means foam dry flies, caddis patterns in the evening and simple dropper nymphs like a prince or pheasant tail. The fall brings out the bigger brown trout and fishing with a streamer can yield a trophy. Guided trips are a great idea but you can easily drive the river and fish on your own.

Missouri River

The Mighty Mo pushes the limits of that hour distance a little (depending on where you start) but is well worth the trip. You will cross Roger’s Pass if traveling from the Blackfoot Valley and see some wonderful scenery. The tailwater fishery is chock full of large rainbows and browns below Holter Dam. You can fish immediately below the dam or drive the river and jump in at any access point between Holter and Cascade. The stretch between Holter and the town of Craig is the most popular but there is plenty of water and dense fish populations throughout the system. 

Summer is a bit crowded and the fish are selective. Small trico’s require precision presentations in shallow water. You can always nymph the deeper runs immediately below the dam and have opportunities as well. Fall is ideal with fewer anglers and aggressive fish. Streamers, nymphs and dry fly options are available.


Numerous creeks are scattered throughout the Blackfoot valley. You can simply drive the highway until you see one and take a turn. Access is possible at any county road and many of the streams will eventually meet public lands. Most streams in the valley hold fish and exploring these small gems is a fun way to spend a few days.


For more information on trips with Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, please explore the rest of our webite, including our summer trips and fall hunting trips. For details and availability, send us a message or call us directly at 406-932-568.