Helena, Bozeman, and Southwest Montana Feature

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Welcome to Fly-Fishing Heaven

Montana has the best rainbow, brown, and brook trout fishing in the country. This is the land of A River Runs Through It, the acclaimed Norman Maclean novel that most people know as a movie. Although the book was set in Missoula, the movie was filmed in the trout-fishing mecca of southwest Montana, and the Gallatin River played the role of Maclean's beloved Big Blackfoot. Several rivers run through the region, notably the Madison, Gallatin, and Yellowstone (more or less parallel to one another flowing north of Yellowstone National Park), as well as the Big Hole River to the west. All are easily accessible from major roads, which means that in summer you might have to drive a ways to find a fishing hole to call your own.

If you're only a casual angler, all you'll really need is a basic rod and reel, some simple tackle (hooks, sinkers, floaters, and extra line) and a few worms, which can all be bought at most outfitting and sporting-goods stores for less than $40. Many non-fly-fishers use open-face reels with lightweight line and spinners, which makes for a nice fight when they connect with trout. If you would like to try your hand at the more elegant stylings of fly-fishing, hire a local guide. Not only will he show you the good fishing holes, but a knowledgeable outfitter can teach you how not to work waters into a froth. Many guide services will provide you with fly-fishing equipment for the day.

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