Montana’s Rivers are known for holding exceptional numbers of fish and in some areas of the state like western Montana’s Bitterroot River. Summer time can be aggravating for anglers looking for a little peace and serenity as boat after boat floats past interrupting the rhythm that comes with trout fishing or at least should come with trout fishing.
Standing on a frozen lake peering into a hole isn’t the same as casting for trout hiding under a log or in a riffle and for many anglers winter has become a time to do something else. That’s too bad. Winter time in Montana offers exceptional fishing opportunities for those willing to find open water.
Start by looking at the bottom of dams. This water is referred to as “tail water” and it’s good all winter because the water is let out of the dam from the bottom of the reservoir above. This water is warmer than it would be if it flowed freely through the cold winter air keeping winter fish more active and providing a great winter food source for fish.
Anglers using fly rods can cast nymphs, worm patterns or streamers. Conventional anglers enjoy success with plugs or spoons. Harry Smash Marvin of Corvallis loves to fish deep pools in mid winter with Rapalas and his mid – winter success speaks for itself.
For me the winter fishing experience is enhanced the most by the absence of people. I have yet to have a dozen people float past me in inner tubes with coolers filled with beer (not that there’s anything wrong with that) nor have I seen a single guide rowing past with wealthy urbanite anglers dressed like they were just outfitted from head to toe by the outfitter moments before stepping into the water (not that there’s anything wrong with that either). Instead I’ve enjoyed the sounds of the river, birds of prey and water fowl and landed fish with no spectators other than the people I arrived with.
Don’t over look winter rivers in Montana – you could be missing the best fishing of the year!