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Sacajawea Hotel Blog

Fishing the Missouri Headwaters: What You Need to Know

Posted by Sacajawea Hotel on Sep 20, 2018, 8:00:00 AM

Fishing the Missouri Headwaters

The beauty of fishing the Headwaters of the Missouri is having the opportunity to fish four rivers within a single day. The confluence of the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers forms the mighty Missouri, bringing you some of the best fishing you can find.

Going Guided

Territory Anglers is your one-stop shop to take to the river and get casting. Join up with one of their expert guides to learn the ropes or just to get pro tips on the local fly fishing scene. And when you book directly through the Sacajawea hotel, combine your playtime with bedtime and get lodging and casting taken care of all in one easy step when you book a lodging package.

Rent the River

The Canoeing House lets you take your gear out for a river float without having to bring your own watercraft along for the ride. Get all the benefits of going beyond the waders while you drift down the river. You can arrange shuttle service through the Canoeing House when you rent their gear, or book shuttles with ShuttleSnap, without having to worry about where you’re taking out.

River Rundown

There are a lot of rivers to pick from in our neck of the woods. With a Fishing Access Site (FAS) around every corner and liberal river-access policies letting you wade wherever your feet may take you, the hardest part will be choosing where to cast first. The best part? The year-round fishing here—with the short exception of runoff season—comes with the chance to spot wildlife while you cast.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to slicing up these four astonishing options for river fun. Expect to go after brown trout, rainbow, and mountain whitefish, with a small chance for cutthroat as well.


The Missouri River speaks for itself. With only a short runoff season in May and June primarily affecting waders, this is really a year-round river. You’ll experience few to no rapids beside runoff season, so the calm, easily navigable stretches of the river here can accommodate multiple pieces of watercraft.

Related - Taking To The Water: Floating And Canoeing Around The Missouri Headwaters

Madison River Riffle

The 50-mile riffle on the Madison between Quake Lake and Ennis is the renowned home of some sasquatch-caliber legendary catches. Without any eddies or pools to slow down the river in this stretch, the five-mile-per-hour flow produces some consistently big fish. Nymphs are sure to be your friends in this habitat. When you put in on the Madison or the Jefferson and float to Headwaters, experience a changing ecosystem with varying challenges.

Jefferson Junction

The historic stretch of the Jeff that meanders west from the Missouri Headwaters takes you along the path of the Lewis & Clark Expedition’s Corps of Discovery. All along Jefferson Canyon, experience the jaw-dropping landscape of the limestone cliffs. As you continue upstream,  agricultural fields offer an unbelievable hopper season, with lots of bugs around to keep the fish biting.

Gorgeous Gallatin

The 115 miles of the Gallatin River flowing from the heights of Gallatin Lake in Yellowstone National Park winds through forest and field to make it to the Missouri River confluence. This scenic stretch will amaze you with its diversity and beauty.

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Topics: Insider, Activities, Montana Vacation, Weekend Getaway, Headwaters Insider, Fishing


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Your Guide to Three Forks, the Headwaters, and the Surrounding Area

Our blog offers a variety of helpful information to inspire your stay at the Sacajawea Hotel. Come for relaxation or take the opportunity to explore an area filled with indoor and outdoor activities, historical adventures, exciting events and much more. Whether you are looking for a luxurious getaway or a little excitement, we're here to help make your trip an unforgettable experience.


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