Nestled in a valley carved by glaciation and the swift waters of Rock Creek, this charming alpine town sits at 5,555 feet in the foothills of the magnificent Beartooth Mountains, surrounded by Custer National Forest.
Where can I go fly fishing?
The Red Lodge area has some of Montana's best fly fishing, from high mountain lakes to some of the best river trout fishing there is anywhere. Rock Creek flows through Red Lodge and offers surprisingly good fishing for rainbow and brown trout. Several public fishing access sites are found just north of Red Lodge. West of Red Lodge through Absarokee is the Stillwater River. This medium sized river is a tributary of the Yellowstone River, and begins in Yellowstone National Park and flows north. The Stillwater is an excellent river for rainbow and brown trout which average 10 to 14 inches. The trout are opportunists and attack just about anything you throw at them, including big bushy, high-floating dry flies.
South of Red Lodge lie the Beartooth Mountains. The Beartooth Scenic Highway offers breathtaking views of high alpine meadows and dramatic switchbacks overlooking snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and sweeping expanses of scenic wonder. As you travel along the 69-mile scenic road, you can spot hundreds of high mountain lakes and ponds just from the roadside. Within these waters lie trout, colorful and plentiful brook trout and some cutthroat trout. These trout are not big by any means, but catching these vibrant colored alpine trout with a fly rod is magic in itself.
Wild Bill Lake is accessible from Red Lodge and offers a great fishery for families and novices to the fly fishing world. Wild Bill Lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout and is handicapped accessible. This barrier-free picnic area is visited by wheelchair and other mobile-handicapped people. A gently, smooth, 5% grade trail leads up on a hard path to the lake and continues along the north side of the lake. There are two barrier-free decks over the water so that even wheelchair bound people can wet a line.
There are many fisheries to consider outside of the Red Lodge area. The Yellowstone River inside and outside the national park has some great pristine fishing. If you are looking for bigger lake fishing, there is the Cooney Reservoir and the Big Horn Lake. The Big Horn River below Yellow Tail Dam is a world renowned trout fishery. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is home to hundreds of lakes and streams and with a plan, and possibly a multi-day trip, one could access some beautiful country and alpine lakes full of golden trout.
I am looking for a fishing guide.
So start planning your next Montana fishing adventure. Red Lodge is a great base location, and the plentiful fishing opportunities will surprise and please each fishing visitor. Fishing outfitters and guides are available for consultation and leading trips on the surrounding fisheries. The striking beauty of the area, the diversity of the fisheries and its inhabitants, along with the hospitable community of Red Lodge make for a successful trip into Montana's fishing world.