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Best Ice Fishing Lakes in Montana

Montana is home to some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery in the whole country. It is home to two of the most famous national parks, Glacier and Yellowstone. If there is one thing that you can do all year round in Montana, it’s fish.

frozen lake in montana

Even when the weather starts to get colder and the lakes start to freeze, that is when the real fun can begin.

That’s right: it’s almost ice fishing season in Montana, one of the most sought-after destinations for people who were determined to catch some monster fish. 

ice fishing rig

Ice fishing is a great way to plan a trip or spend some time with people close to you, and with so many beautiful national parks in Montana, there’s no reason why you should hold off going any longer.

So, today we’ve put together a list of some of the best ice fishing lakes the Big Sky State has to offer.

Best Places for Ice Fishing in Montana

Montana is home to plenty of beautiful lakes, sure to freeze over in the winter. We did the research and found the most popular ice fishing destinations across Montana. Spend your next day of ice fishing at one of these Montana lakes.

These are the Best Ice Fishing Lakes in Montana:

  1. Fort Peck Lake
  2. Flathead Lake
  3. Georgetown Lake
  4. Canyon Ferry Lake
  5. Hebgen Lake

Fort Peck Lake

The largest body of water in Montana, Fort Peck Lake, formed when a dam was created on the Missouri River.

Fort Peck Lake is the fifth-largest man-made lake in the United States and covers an area of 245,000 acres. This lake has some of the best ice fishing Montana has to offer.

people ice fishing on fort peck lake in montana

It is home to over 50 species of fish including huge walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and trout. This is one of the premier spots to fish in Montana, and a must-hit spot if you’re looking for good ice fishing.

Fort Peck Lake is located in Northeast Montana, 120 miles north of Billings and 140 miles east of Great Falls.


Flathead Lake

While Flathead Lake may never fully freeze over, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t home to some of the best ice fishing in Montana.

people ice fishing on flathead lake

It is the largest body of freshwater west of the Mississippi River, with 200 square miles of water. It may not fully freeze over, but there are various shorelines, bays, and inlets that do that will allow you to ice fish.

Flathead lake is home to trout, northern pike, whitefish, and perch ice fishing. To fish here, you must buy a tribal fishing permit, since the lake borders Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation.


Georgetown Lake

One of the most scenic lakes in all of Montana, Georgetown Lake is located in Southwest Montana near Anaconda.

ice anglers on georgetown lake

The water here is shallower, which means ice will start to form before most of the other big ice fishing lakes in Montana. People flock here earlier in the season because they will be able to fish sooner and because of the abundance of fish.

Georgetown Lake is a Blue-Ribbon fishery, which means that it holds trophy-sized fish. While fishing this lake, you can expect to find rainbow trout, brook trout. and salmon.


Canyon Ferry Lake

The third-largest lake in Montana, Canyon Ferry Lake,  is located just outside the state capital of Helena.

The lake was formed when the Canyon Ferry Dam was built, and it is 30 miles long and 5 miles wide. This lake is a popular outdoor destination because of all the various activities that you can do there.

people at canyon ferry lake ice fishing

People go here year-round, whether it’s summer or winter for great outdoor activities, especially ice fishing. Canyon Ferry is known to have rainbow trout, walleye, ling, and perch. Pack up your ice fishing equipment and check out this location. 


Hebgen Lake

If you are looking for the best place to ice fish near Yellowstone National Park, then Hebgen Lake is the spot for you. It is an easy place to locate since it is surrounded by public land.

people ice fishing at lake hebgen

The lake goes on for 15 miles, so there is ample room on this lake for everyone. This is a great location for anyone who isn’t looking to go hiking and wants easy access to their ice fishing.

There are many different campsites in the area. So, you won’t have any trouble finding somewhere to stay, as long as you’re willing to brave the elements. There are also 360 degrees of mountain views that surround this scenic lake.

While fishing these waters you should expect to find trout and whitefish. Some of the Rainbow trout that live in this lake have been known to grow up to the 14-16-inch range.


Final Thoughts

Montana is known to have some of the most scenic views in the country, which is why it has the nickname Big Sky Country.

It is home to two of the most visited and famous national parks in the world, Glacier and Yellowstone. Fishing is a year-round sport in Montana – not even the harshest of winters can drive people away.

Make sure you are following all fishing regulations. Then bundle up and you’ll have the time of your life ice fishing in Montana.

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