Located in Southwest Montana, Ruby Reservoir is located near Ruby, Montana. In 1994, the reservoir—amazingly enough—was drawn to its very last drop, leaving it completely empty.
Needless to say, the event wasn’t positive for fishing. All fish in the reservoir were killed and greatly hurt the populations in the lower half of the Ruby River.
Since then, at least some water is always left in Ruby Reservoir to prevent another massive fish kill. While some water is now left behind in the reservoir, it is still heavily drawn down during the summer for irrigation demands, leaving very exposed banks and making boat landings tricky.
Ruby Reservoir is quite small, measuring out to only about 1000 acres when full. As a result, it is an excellent reservoir to use smaller inflatable boats, such as inflatable kayaks and pontoon boats.
Ruby Reservoir is planted with rainbow trout each year, and since the disaster of 1994, rainbow trout populations have made a steady recovery. Additionally, as Ruby Reservoir is part of the Ruby River, some large brown trout can be found at the inlet, although a boat is needed to access this part of the reservoir.
Access to the reservoir is excellent, with a paved road following the eastern bank of the reservoir for its entire distance, allowing for easy boat launching of inflatable boats as well as providing excellent camping opportunities. Conditions on the reservoir are at times very windy, which makes fly fishing difficult.
Fishing Ruby Reservoir is a nice diversion for any angler who plans to fly fish the Ruby River. The Ruby River, with its difficult access, finicky brown trout and narrow width, is often a difficult river to fish. As a result, the wide-open fishing opportunities on Ruby Reservoir, especially at the lakes inlet, can provide a welcome relief when conditions are good—particularly in the spring and early summer before the reservoir gets drawn down for irrigation.