Hebgen Lake arguably offers the best dry fly lake fishing
in the state of Montana. Its quality fly fishing, combined with its scenic
and convenient location near West
Yellowstone, Montana, make Hebgen Lake a popular destination for
both local and visiting anglers.
Hebgen Lake is more than 16 miles long and on its southern end measures
up to four miles in width at its widest point. Being such a large lake,
along with its location on a high plateau near Yellowstone
National Park, can make conditions very windy at times. The potential
for wind, combined with the lakes large size, limit float tubing options
somewhat. While float tubing can be successful, particularly in some
of the sheltered bays, generally a motorboat, canoe, pontoon
boat or inflatable
kayak are the best fishing boats to use, as they are safer and allow
an angler to quickly and easily cover more water.
Large rainbow trout and brown trout are found in good numbers in Hebgen
Lake, which explains its popularity. The trout in Hebgen Lake are good
sized, with the average brown trout running between 16-18 inches and
rainbow trout in the 14-16 inch range.
During late spring and early summer, the Hebgen Lake has excellent hatches
of Tricos, which can present excellent fly fishing provided the winds
are light. When fishing during the Trico hatch, the trout will be found
in the various shallow bays and along the shoreline. This presents a
wonderful opportunity for an angler to catch decent sized trout right
from the shoreline. The Trico hatch requires light gear and light tippets
with long leaders, so anglers should come prepared.
Later in the summer, caddisfly hatches occur on the lake regularly.
Standard dry fly patterns such as the Parachute Adams work well, fished
in the various bays and around the inlets to the lake. The Madison Arm
of Hebgen Lake, in particular, provides an excellent place for dry fly
fishing during the summer.
Access to Hebgen Lake is excellent. Highway 287 parallels Hebgen Lake
for much of its length on the north side, allowing for easy road access.
Additionally, several other roads provide access to the south side of
the lake, where numerous campgrounds are also found.
Overall, Hebgen Lake provides excellent fishing for rainbow and brown
trout in a beautiful yet convenient setting. For the angler who will
be fly fishing Hebgen Lake for the first time, it is not a bad idea to
either follow the crowds or hire a guide in order to locate the best
fishing spots. As Hebgen Lake is such a big lake, it is easy to miss
the prime fishing areas and end up casting to nothing but pools of rising
Chub instead of rising trout.
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