By Montana Grant

Posted: March 18, 2023

Big Sky Country is about the Biggest! Size matters when you live next to the BIG Rocky Mountains. Many tourists come here for their big vacations and ski trips. Sportsmen come here for the biggest fish and critters.

Montana has many of the biggest critters in North America. Whether its Fish or Fur, Big is often the goal. To tag the biggest fish or critter, you need to account for several things. The critters need to live a longer life, have plenty of food and habitat, have a moderate climate, great genetics, and less pressure from competition.

Big Sky Country means more open spaces and places. Sadly, as land is being purchased, many once huntable areas are now closed to public access. Trophy critters have become big business as outfitters, guides, and landowners sell their wildlife for a fee. At some point, the average resident will not have opportunity to tag a trophy critter. Hunting and fishing will become the sport of kings and queens.

Until then, there is still a chance to go BIG!


Brown Trout   A recent record came out of the Marias River. It was 32.43 Lbs. The previous record came out of Wade Lake. The next monster brown lives in Quake Lake.

Rainbow Trout    The Kootenai River holds the current record and still has potential record breakers. 33.1 lbs., and 38.62 inches is a Big trout.

Brook Trout    The current record is 9.06 lbs. from 2 Medicine Lake. Remote lakes with abundant food will produce the next monster. Hegben Lake is also home to some Big Brookies.

Cutthroat Trout    The state record Cuttie is 16 lbs. from Red Eagle Lake. Hegben may also have a record swimming in it.

Lake Trout    Flathead Lake contains the next record laker and holds the current record at 42.69 lbs.

Yellow Perch    The next record Ned will be from Holter Lake. The last big perch came out of Lower Stillwater Lake.

Fort Peck Lake will produce many of the record fish that reside there. The same is true for Tongue Reservoir. Expect the biggest bass, pike, walleyes, salmon, and other finned residences to get really Big!


                Elk    The biggest elk seem to be coming from areas that were closed for over a decade or more. Re-established and managed herds, with limited pressure, have a chance to grow Big. Southeast Montana is where I would look. The Musselshell River area also is the home to Montana’s Biggest bulls.

MULE DEER    Montana is no longer known as the best place for the biggest Mulies. Eastern Montana does seem to hold the opportunity for Big Mulies. Sadly, the biggest Mulie from Montana was poached from the Letterman Ranch, out of season, in 2004.

WHITETAIL DEER    In 1974, a 199 3/8-inch buck was tagged in Northwest Montana. The Flathead National Forest is a perfect place to grow monster bucks.

MOOSE    Montana is home to maybe 5,000 moose. The biggest bulls are found around Yellowstone Park, or private lands. A few years ago, I helped a friend tag the 5th largest Bull Moose ever taken in the state!

A trophy is in the eye of the beholder. For many hunters and anglers, a legally and honestly tagged critter is a trophy. It is becoming so hard to find Big critters that it is more about the Big story and adventure than the real sizes.

Being an ethical and honest sportsman is more of a Big deal than getting a big fish or critter at any risk or expense. A Big honest story is more of a trophy than a Big Fat Lie! Anyone can buy a big fish or critter, but what fun is that. Real hunting and fishing are harder and more rewarding.

Be the Biggest by being the Best!

Montana Grant

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