Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States


The northern Mountain West is an outdoorsman’s dream, and western Montana is one of its best parts.  The scenery is beautiful beyond description, and there are many opportunities for hiking and wildlife watching and, of course, fishing.


Like much of the Mountain West, fly fishing is king, but I was on a mission for lake trout and chose Flathead Lake Charters ( because of the many trophy fish pictured on its site.  I fished near Big Fork, Montana, and, unfortunately, the front that slowed the fishing in Idaho followed me through the mountains into Montana, bringing cooler temperatures and lots of rain.  The fishing was slow, but I did catch two lake trout, the bigger of the two being about two pounds.


While the fishing was rather pedestrian, I had a great time in Kalispell, particularly at a local bar and pizza place called Moose’s Saloon.  I also had a chance to visit Glacier National Park, do some hiking, and see some incredible wildlife, including grizzly bears (too far away for good pictures, unfortunately, although maybe that isn’t a bad thing), moose, and bighorn sheep.

Welcome to Montana

Moose's Saloon in Kalispell

Flathead Lake

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park


My first Montana fish

Going-to-the-Sun Road

A moose just off the trail

The park service had just finished clearing the Going-to-the-Sun Road... in late June.

Grinnell Lake

A bighorn sheep off the trail

Swiftcurrent Lake