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I just recently excepted a position with the montana conservation corp. Its a volunteer based organization, ill be living in or

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  • I just recently excepted a position with the montana conservation corp. Its a volunteer based organization, ill be living in or

    I just recently excepted a position with the montana conservation corp. Its a volunteer based organization, ill be living in or around billings, montana for 5 months (may-nov) Im from nothern Wi. So needless to say as a fisherman outdoorsman and biology student I am more than just a little excited. I have so many questions for those who have been or lived in the area so general info of "things i must see" are very welcome. I direct a few questions over to the fisherman, what are the must have basic set-ups and flys? I have a 5wt and the website confuses me for licenses which do i need? should I apply for bull trout license? I'll be very busy with the program and have a limited budget while there but i cannot imagine stepping foot in that state and not fishing. let alone go that long without fishing.. thanks for any info ill post a few more questions as i come up with them.

  • #2
    Hi Flip, I live 80 miles south of Billings and I have lots of river bottom, I would be more than willing to let you come fishing on my spread. Just let me know, I will getyou access to just about any kind of fishing you want.


    • #3
      Bull trout are predominantly on the West Side. Not particularly good eating or good fighters. Few places where you can even keep them or fish for them purposely. They have almost been extinguished from the Flathead River drainage thanks to some really stupid experimentation by the State Fish and Game people. I think there's still some semblance of a fishery for them left in Swan Lake southeast of Kalispell. Fishing in Billings area is mostly for browns and rainbows but some cutthroat as well. Also you won't have to go too far to catch walleye. The Yellowstone River that flows through town can be pretty good fishing. You can't get a resident license until you have lived there six months so you'll need a non-resident license. Fork out the money for a season license since you are going to be there for several months.

      Put on your thick skin, son. Some of the kids they put into that conservation corps are quite troubled. It will be the first time away from home for lots of others. Always keep in mind that even a misadventure is still an adventure. Anyway, I wish I was in your shoes again.


      • #4
        tneal1987- thanks! my email is [email protected] if you want to send one just so i have yours. ill do my best to be in contact, got to figure out the lay of the land as far as time off goes.
        Ontario- thanks for the info always enjoy the posts. Char (1st only to other salmonids) are just a fascination of mine figured it'd be something i'd go after if i could. I'm hoping the woods, waters, and work here have prepared me for some of the conditions. I took after the postion with hopes of just that, an adventure and a mechanism to test myself by giving time to an area with so much wild space other than my own. Hopefully build the knowledge to keep having such adventures, or misadventures ha! everyones good at it when conditions go exactly right im looking to be good at when they aren't. Fishing license is must, going to print the regs book when I get a chance, probably better to know before I go instead of learn as I go.

        thanks again guys keep the posts coming.
        I think i have a two or three day window to get out there anything in between wisconsin and montana i should see?


        • #5
          I spent a few weeks out there last summer, mostly work but did find time to fish, so many places to see and fish while you are there. Mt. Rushmore is an amazing piece of history and is not that far off of I-90 in Rapid City. Deadwood is another nice place to stop at and tip back a couple adult beverages. I would suggest taking hiway 212 west out of Belle Fourche, this road basically parallels I-90, and taking 212 will shave off some miles and in my opinion is a much prettier drive. Most importantly watch out for the wildlife when the sun starts laying low in the sky, they do lots of damage. Enjoy your stay in Big Sky Country.


          • #6
            Hey, the absolute best fishing area around billings is about an hour and 20 minutes away. Head east on I-90 and head to Hardin, Mt. From there go south until you hit Crow Agency. Take the exit off from there and take a right on to the Crow-St. X Cuttoff. From there you will hit 313. once you get there follow the Bighorn River north or south. It's all great fishing there for browns ad rainbows. Just find a place you want to try out and ask the landowner. You can also get some good info if you stop at the gas station in Crow. Good luck my friend. And the bull trout are great fish to catch and eat so I've been told. It's just a matter of finding out where they are. Just ask around town and you'll find out soon enough. Since you an out of stater i think they give some sort of discount if you get your license at Sagebrush Trading. Best of luck to you man.


            • #7
              I'm quite certain bull trout are only native to waters flowing into Pacific or Arctic watersheds so I'm sure you'll have to travel to the West Side for them. After all the problems they are having with Eastern Brook and lake trout destroying ecosystems I really doubt there's any stocking of bull trout anywhere outside their native range. They are very flat tasting and terrible greasy if you manage to catch a big one. In the old days it was not unusual to catch fifteen pounders out of the Flathead. I caught a lot of them. Almost edible if smoked. They run a lot but almost never jump, no head shaking or anything like that. Also the smaller ones are typically thin as a snake. If you really want to catch one go to Swan Lake near Kalispell. Usually have to troll deep. I'm not sure but I believe the creeks are closed while they're spawning so it's fishing in the lake only. There were a couple of lakes in Glacier Park that had some bulls but I think the lake trout invasion has killed that too. Damned things are up the river all the way into Canada now. A lake trout in fast water ... can you believe it? And those things are snakes! Eating everything n sight. I think the daily limit in Flathead Lake is 35 lakers. And they still can't put a dent in the damned things.

              I travel Hwy 2 when I go back but you may not want to go that far north. Do try to take in one or other units of Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Mount Rushmore is just a giant tourist trap complete with paid parking (ugh! In a National Park?). Fort Union is also pretty cool but it may be out of your way depending on how you're driving. Be aware if you're fishing on the Indian Reservations you have to buy their licenses too. The visitor center at Little Big Horn Battlefield in Hardin is almost commuting distance to Billings so I'm sure you'll get down there at some point.




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