Fishing Wiki - Hebgen-Lake

Wiki Index | Hebgen-Lake Fishing Map

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Description (Edit This)

Located near Yellowstone National Park, Hebgen is a fairly large lake that is rich in nutrients supplied from the two inlets. Fishermen have the potential to catch very large trout, and many of them. There are public boat ramps, and loading usually takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the number of boaters there.

1. Consistently good fishing
2. Close to Yellowstone National Park and several other popular lakes and rivers
3. Arguably, the best dry fly lake fishing in the world!

Guides (Edit This)

Do you know of legal, permitted, guide services that operate on Hebgen? If so, list them here.

Check out this fishing report for extensive info on area guide services and fly tips.

Nearby Lodges (Edit This)
Madison Arm Resort – open May 15th – October 1st.

Location (Edit This)

Approximately 10 miles away from West Yellowstone, Montana.

Just off Highways 87 & 287

Primary Species (Edit This)
Cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout are the primary species at Hebgen.

Special Regulations (Edit This)
General Montana regulations apply. Visit the official website for more information.

Seasonal Factors (Edit This)

Hebgen Lake is open year-round, however most fishermen occupy the lake during the summer months. This occurs for two reasons: 1) The weather and roads are very harsh during winter, and it makes for tough ice fishing, and 2) The closest town, West Yellowstone, is basically a summer stock, tourist attraction.
Ice fishing is reportedly successful on Hebgen, despite the frigid conditions. One ice fishing blogger, Mr. Iceman, wrote, “went to Hebgen Lake 12/30/10 and caught 10 rainbows all between 18” – 22” from 11 A.M. – 4 P.M. Man it was fun!”

In the summer, the wind can be strong, so shoot for a calm or overcast day where the water is still. Check the weather conditions before going out. Inexperienced boaters have been capsized or stuck out on the lake due to surprising wind patterns. Fishing is  best when the water is not choppy.

Lures and Techniques (Edit This)

Hebgen Lake is one of, if not the best dry fly lakes in the world because of the extremely high insect activity that exists there naturally. The fish are constantly on the move and looking for flies. It is key to imitate the naturally occurring hatches when fly-fishing Hebgen.

In late May the midges are hatching, this will continue through June. Tricos and Callibaetis will be swarming from July through the end of September. These mayflies cause the “gulpers” (trout feeding on the surface) to rise to the surface every few feet while feeding. This action is prime in August all the way through September. Trout seem to go just fine for flies with bright and bold colors, distinguishing them from the rest of the food.
A medium or fast action rod is fine. The lighter the rod, 4 or 5, the better. Try to hit the surface as delicately as possible, so as not to scare the fish.

These fish are fast swimmers and eaters. Watch them closely. In August, when the “gulpers” are rising every few feet, cast about a foot or two ahead of their last rise. Be as exact as possible, aim right at them. Do not cast too far ahead, and do no cast behind or around them.

Artificial lures have proved successful for many fisherman. Rapalas, panther martins, jigs, etc.

Many experienced fisherman enjoy fishing the two arms of the reservoir. If you do this, it is best to use a canoe or a skiff with a small trolling motor. You need to be able to move around the lake and many fishermen in tubes become exhausted early on – and it is a long, large lake.