Monday, April 11, 2011

What do you think? Is Montana no. 5?

There is a fair deal of ethnocentrism about the fishing here in Montana, but I've always been skeptical whether Montana really does have the best fishing, and if the rest of the world sees it that way. I haven't been around enough places to say for sure, but the guys at Field & Stream probably have, and they ranked Montana no. 5 for best fly fishing states. Incidentally, they ranked Bozeman no. 4 in the best fishing towns in America in 2008.

We like to consider Montana, and especially the Bozeman/Livingston area, "mecca", but is it? Or are we over-zealously proud of our fishing? Are they guys at Field & Stream a bunch of crack pots, or are we fooling ourselves?

Here's what I can tell ya - we've got thousands of miles of trout-filled, pristine water, a generous stream-access law, hatches that, as far as I know, rival anywhere in the world, and big, wild trout.

What do you think? Make a case. (I certainly won't be offended if you argue against Montana.)


schnitzerPHOTO said...

I have lived in a lot of places, and fished a ton of different water. I honestly can't imagine anything that compares to Montana, and the Bozeman area in particular. Everyone, please go there to fish. Tell your friends. In fact, bring them, too.

Ivan said...

Russ, that sounds like the comment of someone living in Wyoming.

Josh Bergan said...

Ha. I'd say the Bighorn is where it's at. If you don't fish there every time, you're wasting your time.

Bigerrfish said...

I gotta be completly honest here..
I have fly fished in Montana and Colorado all my life, if that makes any difference.
Montana is Great, the fish are plenty, The rivers are rich, But the fish are easier to catch. Not just because of the high number of fish per mile but the number of people per mile, then the number of those "people" who fish, a high percentage of them will be tourist who will write articles and so on. Ultimatly, the fish see less pressure per year per mile of river sorta kinda, compared to the other 4 states.
I'm just guessing that one of those other 4 was Colorado..
As a life long resident of the state. And If one just had to compare the two, then, in Co the fish are just as big, there are just as many, they are harder to catch, mainly because the rivers are private so the water gets hammered.. I rate Montana Number one for that. You suckas got it freakin made in the shade! More bugs than a fish could eat and more fish than a guy can catch.

Unknown said...

working upwards now: Michigan- lived there, cut my fly fishing teeth there. While western and northern MI have anadramous runs, hex hatch, and other predictable hatches, most of trout fishing is fairly commonplace.

LA: well from a cold-water perspective, like uh uh.

WY could be a contender for reasons stated, plus the Parks.

AK should rank #1- how could any other state top AK?

CO- fished a good bit there, in untrammeled water no less = excellent fishing yes. But no, I doubt CO is better than MT.

So I feel MT is prolly second only to AK, with WY and CO a distant 3-4. IMHO, no offense, not that there's anything wrong with that, yadda yadda yadda. ;-) Funny the word verification is 'truce'!

Ivan said...

@bigerrfish - could you clarify the private waters get more pressure statement, that confuses me a little bit. logically, I would think it would be the opposite. more private water, less pressure on that water. that being said the public water must get hammered.

@russ - a friend of mine lived in jackson for 5 years or so and swears that the fishing in wyoming is much better than montana. From his stories i would tend to believe him, but, he won't tell me where any of his spots are. He will take me there, but never flat out tell me. I can understand why you might encourage everyone to come up here to Montana and leave the less crowded rivers of Wyoming to yourself and the states other ten residents

Bigerrfish said...

Ivan- The private water litters the state, The fines are huge and the farmer all carry saltrock shotguns. That private water is a no go! unless you wear knee pads or pay huge memberships, Hows about 100,000 dollars a year to be a member of a fishing club. The only water to fish here are public stretches. Saved by the government.
You guessed right on which one gets hammered.
So you foos got it so made you cant even fathom the fact that you cant fish under every damn bridge!

Ivan said...

@bigerrfish - that's what i thought, i just wanted to make sure i was on the same page

Baetis said...

Montana beats AK becuase of the year round fishing we have. Also, our fishing is near our population. Washington, OR, ID, CA all seem high. Wyoming is great, but the park doesn't count, especially considering 3 of the 5 gates are in Montana and you have to have a special license to fish, WY state access laws suck as do many other states. For the access reason alone MT wins. The park is like it's own state.

Unknown said...

I live in Montana and guide in Alaska. I go to each for different reasons. What makes AK number 1 is wild fish in wild habitat. What makes Montana number 2 is lots of great water (variety)with lots of fish in a vast area with low population.

Unknown said...

I agree that part of what makes MT great is the low population and tons of fish/rivers.

Colorado does not compare, but it's better than many places (I used to live there).

The Pac NW is better in that it's more diverse; having trout, steelhead, sea runs, salmon, ocean, etc. But it's worse because there are many more people and way too much private land.

MT is #1!!