Montana Fly Fishing
Canyon Ferry Reservoir

Canyon Ferry Reservoir

Canyon Ferry Lake in central montana
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Canyon Ferry Lake was formed when Canyon Ferry Dam was built, blocking the Missouri River. Canyon Ferry Lake is very popular and receives the most use of any lake in the state. This is due to both its size and location. The lake is quite large, even by Montana standards, measuring more than thirty-miles long and up to five miles wide. Since the lake lies just fifteen miles from Helena, the state capital, it receives heavy use during warm weather and on the weekends.

Canyon Ferry Lake is an excellent lake for fishing for rainbow trout. The lake is heavily stocked each year, and the large size of the lake along with its fertility allow the rainbows to grow large and quite quickly.

Due to these large fish, fly fishing for trout on Canyon Ferry Lake is quite popular. Sinking lines with large streamers are the general tools for fly fishing on this lake, although some care must be taken not to fish too deep, as the trout will generally be found above the fifteen foot mark.

canyon ferry lake in central montana
Photo Use Guidelines

Somewhat surprisingly, shore fishing for rainbows can actually be done during the spring when the trout spawn near the shoreline. However, a boat, preferably with a motor, is generally needed to fish Canyon Ferry Lake. While inflatable rafts and traditional canoes can work well for fishing, especially in the bays, the frequent high winds on the lake combined with its large size lends itself to primarily motor boat fishing.

Access to Canyon Ferry Lake is excellent. Numerous designated access sites exist all around the lake. Due to the popularity of the lake and its close proximity to Helena, virtually all services can be found on or near the lake, particularly along its western edge.

For an out-state angler in search of rainbow trout who wishes to break away from the popular rivers and try their luck on a lake, Canyon Ferry Lake is an excellent choice.

Visiting Montana? Visit our book section to find various books about Montana Fishing, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Fly Fishing Technique and General Montana Travel Books.

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