Visiting anglers in search of trout fishing often overlook the major lakes in Montana. With all the many blue ribbon trout streams, it is easy to see how this can happen. However, many lakes in Montana offer excellent fishing for a wide variety of species.

Montana has excellent lakes for fly fishing for rainbow trout, lake trout, whitefish, pike and bass. This section covers popular lakes located in the valleys and lower elevations of Montana. Lakes located high in the mountains, and which also provide excellent fly fishing, are covered in the mountain fishing section.

Most of the best lake fishing east of the continental divide in Montana is located in the various reservoirs created by dams. West of the continental divide, numerous natural lakes exist that can supply endless fishing opportunities.

As with all large lake fishing, a fishing boat is pretty much a necessity, preferably one with a motor. While canoes, rowboats and rafts can work, some of the lakes in Montana are large and often windy. Unless you fancy paddling a canoe into the wind across a large reservoir, it is highly advisable to have a motorboat of one variety or another. Anglers who don’t want to drag a boat across the country for their Montana fishing trip might consider using one of the many inflatable fishing boats available.

As with lakes all over the country, the lakes in Montana are used for more than just fishing, particularly the many lakes located in northwest Montana. Sailing, sea kayaking and aimlessly cruising the water on a sunny day in a pretty setting are popular activities.

For the angler lacking a boat, some of the lakes covered in this section are small enough to use a float tube or pack raft, or even be fly fished successfully from shore. These lakes are primarily located in northwest Montana. These smaller lakes are also heavily stocked, since the fishing pressure is often heavy on many smaller lakes, despite their frequent isolation.

The lakes in Montana are most definitely worth fishing. A visiting angler should not pass up the opportunity to fish one of these lakes, if only for a change of pace from river fishing. Lake fishing can reward the angler with monstrous fish that can’t be caught in the many rivers of Montana.