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Fishing the backcountry

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By Felicia Ennis

If fishing for native trout in alpine lakes is on your to-do list, then Montana has something to offer you. You can find golden, brook, cutthroat and rainbow trout in Montana’s mountain lakes.

Fantastic fishing, snow-capped mountains, timbered valleys, clean air, and clear, cold lakes and streams can be yours for the day. Immerse your senses, enjoy the tug of a fighting trout, feel invigorated from a stunning hike into the heart of the wilderness.

When was the last time you hiked all-day with a light pack on your back and fly rod in hand? Did you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and apple in your pack? Or did you carry a little stove and fry pan for a poached fish breakfast?

Mountain lakes are for swimming and for fishing. They offer seclusion, fresh cool air, refreshing swims and great fishing.

[dcs_img width=”300″ height=”270″ thumb=”true” framed=”black”
author=”photo courtesy of Felicia Ennis” desc=”Elk Lake”]

Although most mountain lakes have been stocked with fish at some point, mountain lake fishing is “more about where you are than what you’re catching, because generally better fishing is found on rivers,” said Pat Vermillion, owner of the Montana based fly fishing company Sweetwater Travel.

Fishing with streamers such as a black wooly bugger is most common in mountain lakes, Vermillion says. Dry flies are good for fish sipping and rising to the surface feeding on smaller bugs. Vermillion also recommends gulper fishing in lakes, and says these large fish go for terrestrial insects like grasshoppers or beetles.

Elk Lake, a five-acre lake in the Beartooth Mountains, has stunning views and good fishing, and is an easy 3.5-mile walk. It is located along the East Rosebud trail in the Custer National Forest, south of Roscoe, Mont.

Blue Lake is a spectacular 18-acre lake in the central Crazy Mountains with 10 inch Brook trout and Rainbows. The 4.5-mile hike starts at Half Moon Campground, at the end of Big Timber Canyon Road, north from I- 90 on highway 191.

Felicia Ennis owns and operates the Livingston, Montana-based travel company, Bella Treks.

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