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Rocky Mountain Range Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

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Old 02-03-2009, 09:05 PM
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Default Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

I have a friend who recently moved to Billings...a veteran southern bait-fisherman but I'm assisting in his move to the fly fishing world!

I am planning a trip to visit him this summer or early fall and have a couple of questions. I'd like to fish around the Billings/Columbus area plus fish around the Missoula area, possibly the Blackfoot.

1. Which month/time would be best to shoot for: June, July, August, September?

2. What are some fly shops I should place on my list to contact prior to the trip?

3. Any other things I should be thinking about?

Thanks for any help anyone can provide.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodsedge View Post
I have a friend who recently moved to Billings...a veteran southern bait-fisherman but I'm assisting in his move to the fly fishing world!
Welcome to the forum Woodsedge.
I am planning a trip to visit him this summer or early fall and have a couple of questions. I'd like to fish around the Billings/Columbus area plus fish around the Missoula area, possibly the Blackfoot.

1. Which month/time would be best to shoot for: June, July, August, September?
Each of these months will offer something different on just about every water. I would go with the recommendation of the shops on local waters, and there are alot of waters within 3 hrs of Billings.
One shop I remember from Billings is the 'Rainbow Run' fly shop, mention it to your friend.
Another thing to mention to your friend would be to read the Billings Gazette and watch for outdoor articles from a fella by the name of Bob Krum. He's a local guide on the Bighorn River.
2. What are some fly shops I should place on my list to contact prior to the trip? Google fly shops on the Bighorn River, it's about an hour and a half east of Billings. Also do a google for fly shops on the Missouri River.

Also 'The Yellowstone Angler' which is on the way to Bozeman, infact google Bozeman fly shops.

3. Any other things I should be thinking about? yes, Maybe taking a few extra days off work so you get get a really good taste of what western Montana has to offer. Your not gonna want to leave.

Thanks for any help anyone can provide.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

Woodsedge,
The two main fisheries in the Billings area are the Bighorn and the Stillwater. The Bighorn is a wonderful fishery with plenty of fish willing to take a fly. It is not a place to find solitude however so be prepared to see lots of other people fishing. Even with the crowds it is a great place to go and success rates are generally really good. I would suggest getting a guide for the day as this will really pay dividends for your bait chucking friend from the south. The best time of year to really fish the Bighorn, especially for your friend in from mid March through May. This is the time the river has the least amount of weeds in it, which is important for a person learning to fly fish. There are good hatches of Midges and Baetis during this time frame, but nymphing will produce the best for your friend. Choosing a guide for the area is a bit more of a chore because there are lots of them. If you would like suggestions please IM me and I would be happy to provide some names of guys who would be helpful with your friend and give him a good start to his fly fishing career.

The Stillwater is the other main fishery near Billings, it dumps into the Yellowstone at the town of Columbus. I would contact Cory Kober at the Otter's Den in Columbus if you want good information on fishing the Stillwater. There are two established shops in Billings and a new one on the way. As Fysh mentioned Rainbow Run is one of them, Bighorn Fly and Tackle is another and the East Rosebud Fly shop will be opening very soon.

As far as heading to Missoula you are in for a lot of Windshield time between Billings and Missoula (between 5 and 6 hours). The Blackfoot is a great fishery in that area but if you are planning your trip for the heat of the summer you will want to be knowledgeable about the inner tube hatch that occurs on the lower end of the river. It is a spectacle of beer drinking and bikini's on a epic scale some days. The Bitteroot is another fine fishery near Missoula and it has some great opportunities. I would contact Matt Potter at the Kingfisher for information concerning Missoula.

Good luck with your trip and have fun converting your bait chucking buddy.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

Thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming! Thanks, again.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

If you go to Missoula, don't pass up Rock Creek just east of town, great fishing and no crowds. Visit the Fishermans Mercantile 1 mile up rock creek road for info and supplies.
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Old 02-15-2009, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

If you are driving that far from Billings... Try Duck lake... on the other side of Glacier
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

Hey,
The blackfoot starts fishing in late june/ golden stones, maybee some salmon flies. I usually guide a few days on the Foot then, in Late june if the runoff isn't too bad. Close to Missoula in July/ August you will see lots on tubers so I would fish at least 30 miles upstream from Missoula, stimulators, cuttthroat stuff. Rock Creek will be real good it is real hard to wade fish it in June, too high, but you can wade fish the whole creek July- october. We guide it and run float trips in June on rock Creek, but you want to be experienced on the oars if you do it yourself. check us out if you want more fishing/ lodging info around Missoula Montana Fly Fishing, Missoula Montana, Montana Fly Fishing for Trout. Classic Journey Outfitters. good luck!
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Old 03-24-2009, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Montana: Billings/Columbus/Missoula

hey,

moved from back south (north carolina) in the last year myself. went out fly fishing this past saturday for the first time with a bighorn guide named brent downey, dead drift outfitters. you could probably google his website. he was awesome, extremely patient and i thought he did a great job for someone like me who didn't know anything about what they were doing. i have never seen anyone untangle a line as fast as he could, i gave him plenty of work to do during the half day float. we caught a bunch of trout (mostly rainbows and a brown) and it was awesome. life long dream come true for me.

i was talking to him about places i could go on my own to practice what he taught me and he mentioned stillwater river. so i would check into that as well.
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