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Old 03-03-2011, 12:04 PM
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Default SW Montana - Golden Trout

Anyone ever fished for Golden Trout in SW Montana?

Trout Conservancy - Montana's Introduced Trout

Any suggestions on a place that's easier (not easy, but easier - lol) to get into?

Never caught one, really just want to try as a one time thing.

Thanks in advance.. Dave
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

Also on my "To Do" list.

Kelly.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

I have been told that they can be found in the Bitterroots, and I mean in one of the tribs with a good trail. The source is a co-worker and she was bladding about the family hiking up there to catch Goldens. Her kids are like 10 and 13 so it can't be too far.

I said "Golden Trout right there??"

"Yep" was her nonchalent reply that, if indeed there are even small goldens hiding in there, I'm sure her husband would be less than thrilled about her propensity to brag about it.

I do have a serious skepticsm about her claims. I'll have to go check this summer.

I'm pretty sure that Beartooths have some populations. Part of the allure is the difficulty in finding them and the difficulty in reaching them.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

In the map in the link I sent - looks like there's some just south of me.. in the mountains feeding the Gallatin below big Sky (maybe Golden Trout Lakes).

But - the maps are.. well - bad.. lol
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

There are a few golden trout lakes within 40 miles of bozeman. I am inebriated right now, but tomorow I will message you a couple lakes and directions.

I do not think any of the lakes are accessible this time of year.
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:09 AM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

Thanks very much. This would be a June item, when the rivers are high down here
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

There are plenty of goldens on the Lake Plateau high up in the Beartooths. There are a few grand places to hook into some amazing goldens, but it would require a long pack trip to get in there.

If you can hike medium distances (up to 3-4 miles), there are few lakes close to the Beartooth Highway that are reported to hold goldens.

But the area will be still gripped by winter in June. Just keep it in mind if you ever want to pack in (by horse or foot of course) in the future.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

A couple miles north of Big Sky you can take Portal Creek Road east up into the Gallatin National Forest. There are two trailheads you will find up there: Hidden Lakes and Golden Trout Lake. As I recall, Golden Trout Lake trailhead requires a drive in of about 6 miles over lumpy, rocky dirt road. 4 wheel drive required and unlikely (I'm guessing) you can get through until mid to late June. I've not fished Hidden Lakes but fished Golden Trout twice and, as the name implies, it is full of golden trout (12 inches & under). First visit was in early Sept. and they would take anything dry; my buddy and I probably caught 50. Second visit was in July and we got skunked. Both visits we never saw anyone else fishing, just a couple hikers. Good luck
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

Go to the Montana Fish and Wildlife website and you can search Golden Trout lakes in Montana. Here is a link to Region 3 in Montana which lakes contain the elusive Golden Trout. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks :: Waterbody Search Results Also, every lake that is going to have Golden Trout in the state will probably take some hiking. This is because the Golden Trout require colder water temperature because they do the best in water temperatures between 50-60 degree range. If you are up for a drive I suggest trying Sylvan Lake up the East Rosebud drainage outside of Fishtail, Montana. It is one of the easier hikes to get the Golden Trout and produce high end average size of around 12". Goldens average size are 6-12". Also, there are only about 20 lakes in the state that has the Golden one and several that have a cross between the Golden with Cutthroats or Rainbows. Sylvan provides about a 5-6 mile hike to the lake. It is a little steep but not too challenging if you are in shape. I actually did this with a buddy at night with headlamps on in the rain. The trail on top leads to an open meadow where the trail disappears. However, there is a big rock marker and proceed straight from there in to small timber that hooks back up with the trail. There is a good youtube video showing this if you search Sylvan Lake in Montana however mute it, as the music is corny. Sylvan has the purest forms of the Golden and a large percentage of the other Golden Trout lakes were stocked with the Golden from Sylvan such as Cave Lake in the Crazy Mountains which holds the current state record. My favorite Golden Lake is Lightning Lake but it takes will, determination, and guts to set foot on the shores of this castle. It is a beautiful fish to catch but takes some skill to land one of these. Try black ants and adam flies 16-22 size or maybe even a streamer. Goldens do not eat their own kind and mainly eat terrestrial food. I had the best luck floating a clear bobber and having a long leader with a size 4 hook with a worm on it. Hope this helps you guys out.

---------- Post added at 11:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:48 PM ----------

I will help you out even more as I am bored so I looked up on the Fish and Game website which lakes in which region has Golden Trout. I didn't write all the ones down that probably have crosses. A Cutt x Golden cross is always fun by the way and it happens more than you think when they are dropping in stock and by accident drop the stock in the wrong lake.
Region 1:
Heart Lake-GT
Island Lake- GT
Cresent Lake- GT, RB, CT so assume crosses as these fish like to do that
Cliff Lake- GT, RB, CT assume crosses again
Glacier Lake: EB, GT, RB, CT assumes crosses

Region 2: Fish and Game Reports None

Region 3:
Blue Danube Lake-GT
Skytop Lake- GT
Blue Paradise Lake- RB, GT cross you can assume
now to dbrowers post:
Hidden Lake of the Madison drainage reports: LL (Brown), RB CT but no GT
Golden Trout Lake- No stocking...and since Goldens are not usually self-sustaining you might get lucky and find one that is? I would contact local Fish and Game or go to Fly and Tackle shop....they could help you out more on this. I know Pat Marcusson was an instrumental Biologist that did a lot for the stocking of the Golden Trout but with his retirement the stocking of Golden Trout has been limited to funds available.
Region 4: None Reported

Region 5:
Asteroid Lake-GT
Basin Lake- GT
Big Butte Lake- GT
Cave Lake- GT Current State Record
Desolation Lake- LL & GT
Dryad Lake- GT
Incisor Lake- GT
Lake Mcknight- GT
Lake at Falls- GTxCT Beautiful fish here
Lightning Lake- GT and someday they State Record once Again
Martin Lake- GT
Rock Tree Lake- GT
Scat Lake- GT
Sunken Rock Lake-GT
Sylvan Lake- GT

Do some research and pick a lake. If you are up for a drive I still think Sylvan might be your best bet. I was searching catch of the day by Simms and some guy from Minnesota had the catch of the day a 23" GT in Wyoming some where. I looked at the picture and question the fish afterwards. Looked like a CTxGT cross of a Yellowstone Cutthroat. Sometimes it is really hard to tell because they have similar characteristics. Not saying it wasn't but looking at the fish it had CT characteristics with the Golden Spots. It looked very similar to the GT X CT at Lake at Falls. Anyways, this should provide you with a lot more information then you have been given.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: SW Montana - Golden Trout

Second the post of Lumberguy - I have made several trips up to Lightning, all in late July or early August. We hiked in (about 9 miles from trailhead) before starting the climb, and it is a climb - not for the faint of heart.

If you are comfortable with the physically demanding effort to get up to Lightning, it will be an adventure you will probably remember for a lifetime.
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