Montana is a trout fishing mecca. So is Yellowstone Park. This means crowds of other anglers, which increase every year. In addition, with the impossible-to-miss impacts of climate change leading to more and more periods in late summer when the water gets too low and warm in many areas for trout fishing to be good, the crowds are squeezed onto fewer and fewer waters. As you have hopefully gathered from other pages on this site, as much as possible I strive to find the "nooks and crannies" to shed crowds and put my clients on trout that are healthy and unpressured, but this often involves aggressive hikes and fishing whitewater sections of rivers that many clients might not like.
There's another option, one more and more anglers are considering...
That's targeting other species.
Whether we're talking about smallmouth bass on the lower Yellowstone, walleye, pike, and especially carp (yes, really) on the Missouri River, or the "Montana piranha" the goldeye in the lower reaches of just about every big river, Montana offers far more fish than just trout. Depending on species, these fish are often large and often aggressive, and since few tourists target them yet, the fishing is uncrowded. In addition, since these fish live in different areas than those that are populated by the largest numbers of trout and typically require different tactics, this fishing is simply new and different. Some clients like that. Some don't.
Missouri River carp average 4-12lbs and (for now) are the main quarry on my multispecies trips.
I am looking to radically expand this part of my business, because neither crowding nor the effects of climate change are likely to improve anytime soon. As such, I may offer significant discounts off my posted rates for these trips, to help me learn more waters, get the word out, and frankly get more "grip and grin" pictures to put on this webpage, instead of the fish I obviously caught myself. Please contact me for details.
For now, I run the vast majority of my multispecies trips as float trips on the upper Missouri River, upstream from the dams that cool this water and turn it into a great tailwater trout fishery. The stretch I focus on holds some big trout (that see almost no pressure) and pike, but the emphasis is on walleye and especially carp, with the latter the main quarry. These fish average 4 to 12lbs, require sight-fishing tactics, and generally run 100+ feet after the initial hookup. They've been compared to saltwater bonefish and especially redfish, and require comparable tactics, casting, and even flies. Fishing is best in late summer, but extends into early fall.
I have run power boat trips in the past, but sold my power boat in 2018 to help with the down payment on a house (the touristy parts of Montana are not easy on first-time homebuyers). I'll be rectifying this situation in fall 2019, and after that will begin offering power boat multispecies trips (as well as power boat trout-only trips) in many more areas: other stretches of the Missouri both near Three Forks and down by Great Falls, on the lower Yellowstone around Billings, and on the lower Bighorn.
Want to get in on the ground floor and try something different? I'd be glad to hear from you.
This one ate a small Clouser Minnow.
Walter Wiese is Montana Outfitter #22001 (formerly guide #9530) and Madison River SRP Holder #297. Yellowstone Park trips are run in cooperation with and under the permit of YNP CUA holder Richard Parks.
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Website, text, and graphics by Walter J. Wiese. Photos generally by Walter J. Wiese unless noted.