Montana Catfish Fishing Trip

Fishing for Catfish in Montana
By Hookemharry

Posted: April 21, 2011

Last week I had the opportunity to go fishing for catfish. Over the years I have enjoyed fishing for a lot of different species of fish in Montana, but I have never gone fishing specifically to catch catfish. I have however caught catfish by mistake while I fished for northern pike or walleye on the Missouri River and on Fort Peck Reservoir. Maybe one of the reasons I haven’t fished for catfish is that some of the best catfish fishing is over in eastern Montana. It is for this reason that the phone conversation I had with Steve Knudson of Billings a couple of weeks ago came at just the right time. I was scheduled to be in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago for their local walleye banquet. Since the banquet was on Saturday Knudson and I arranged to get together the following Monday and go fishing. All I had to do is make a little detour and go through Billings on my way back to Missoula. The plan was to take off at 8:30am Monday from Knudson’s house in Billings and head 50 miles east to fish on the Yellowstone River. The guest list for the catfish fishing trip included Rod Dietz from Missoula, Michael Gottlieb from St Louis, Missouri, and Joe Monteon from Billings. After loading up at Knudson’s the five of us arrived at the boat ramp at 9:30am and took off for our 10 minute boat ride to Knudson’s catfish hole on the Yellowstone River. Once there Knudson showed us how he recommended rigging up our fishing rods. “I like using a three way swivel with about an ounce bell sinker on 24 inches of line and a single hook attached to a 18 inch leader”, added Knudson, “ I then put a piece of meat from a minnow on the hook”. Each of us used two rods. Monteon, who has fished catfish a few times before, actually separated two hooks 12 inches in-line and then had an ounce weight at the end of his line. Once we got our catfish set-ups tied on we cast as far as we could from the banks of the Yellowstone River. Then we simply put our rods in holders that we secured in the bank of the river and waited for the catfish to bite. It didn’t take long. One of Knudson’s rods bent over first. It was about a five pound catfish perfect size for eating according to Knudson. From that point on it seemed that fishing was pretty steady for most of the day. The weather was nicer for a change with sunshine, but a little bit windy. All together we landed 20 catfish with the biggest one weighing in at 11 pounds 4 ounces. Most of the fish were in the 5 to 6 pound range. We released 5 big females and kept the rest for eating. It was definitely a good day of fishing with good company and was sure a great way to spend a Monday. You can view the video of our catfish fishing trip on