Central Montana trout fishing is dominated by the Mighty Missouri River. The stretch below Holter Dam around Craig, MT offers some of the best and most famous trout fishing in the United States. Some of the Missouri's tributaries also offer some good fishing as they pour out of the mountains along the Rocky Mountain Front. As one pushes east away from the mountains both the Missouri itself and the smaller streams quickly become the domain of warm-water species such as Smallmouth Bass.
With over 6,000 trout per mile in some sections, and many of those in the 16-18 inch range, the Missouri is undoubtedly one of America's best trout fisheries. This large tailwater offers year round angling opportunities. Wade access is plentiful, but the sheer size of the river makes floating the most popular option. Nymphing is excellent year-round, and numerous hatches provide good dry fly fishing during the warmer months.
This small freestone river holds a good population of Rainbow and Brown Trout and is noted for its Salmonfly hatch in June. Access to the river is difficult due to private property, but the upper reaches have some hike in access and the lower section has a very short floating season early in the summer.
Another of the Missouri River tributaries draining the high country of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the forks of the Sun provide a wilderness fishing experience for native Cutthroat Trout. There is some road access in the lower reaches, but the river warms and slows as it reaches the prairie and the trout fishing becomes extremely spotty.