Montana Fly Fishing
Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake in  Southern Montana
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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.

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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