Tips for Ice Fishing in Montana

Ice fishing is a popular pastime in Montana. The state has more than 1,000 lakes and reservoirs frozen for most of the year, providing ice anglers with plenty of opportunities to enjoy this winter sport. But where do you go ice fishing in Montana? What time of year is best for ice fishing in Montana? What species of fish do you ice fish for in Montana? How popular is ice fishing in Montana? Do I need a license to be an Ice fisherman in MT, or any gear required? Read on to find out!

Best Spots in Montana For Ice Fishing

Best Spots in Montana For Ice Fishing

Where is the best spot to go ice fishing in Montana? There are many places, but some of our favorite sites for ice fishing include Bear Lake, which has more than 100 miles of shoreline and spans over 200 square miles; Swan Lake Resort with its half-mile long pier that provides access to nearly 400 acres of hunting water; or Gallatin County Reservoir Lakes such as Upper Goose Pond.

What to Fish For At Bear Lake In Montana

What are the best species of fish to ice fish for at Bear Lake in Montana? The main catch is crappie, which can be found just about anywhere. Bluegill and walleye are also present, while rainbow and brown trout can sometimes be caught as well. With this many different species of fish available, it’s a great option for beginner ice anglers as well as seasoned vets!

Swan Lake Resort In Montana

What can you catch at Swan Lake Resort in Montana? Crappie and bluegill are the most common species found out at Swan Lake. With a 1/2 mile long pier, this is an excellent area for all fishermen alike to get the line in the water!

Upper Goose Pond In Montana

Upper Goose Pond in Montana has fish species of just about every type. With bluegill, largemouth bass, and walleye available for anglers to fish for, it’s a great spot to take the entire family!

What Gear Is Needed For Ice Fishing?

Some of the most popular gear needed for ice fishing includes a fish finder, ice spikes for the bottom of your boot (Traction), a hand auger or electric drill to make holes in the ice, and finally, fishing poles.

What Is The Catch Limit When Ice Fishing?

You can take up to five crappies per day when you’re fishing at Swan Lake Resort! It’s recommended that you only keep one bluegill over 12 inches per person while out on Upper Goose Pond. Its catch limit reminds us of how important it is to know which species are being caught before bringing them home and where they come from!

Ice Fishing In Montana: Tips And Tricks To Get Started

If this is your first time venturing out onto the frozen water, then there are a few things that you should know before heading out. The first thing to consider is what type of fish you’re looking for because different species will inhabit the water at other times. Crappie, bluegill, northern pike, and trout are all popular options found in Montana during the winter months. Secondly, it’s important to remember to bring a sufficient amount of gear with you. You’ll need a fishing rod, reel, and bait for starters, as well as a tackle box to store everything in so it doesn’t freeze on your way out onto the ice.

We also recommend that you know what licenses are required before heading out because not all states require them, but Montana does! Lastly, be sure to dress appropriately by wearing warmer clothing like fleece or wool layers along with gloves, boots, and hats. The last thing any angler wants is frostbite from spending too much time outside without proper protection against the elements!

Hand Auger

A hand auger is used in ice fishing to drill a hole in the ice. This is used as an opening to fish through and can be done with or without power equipment. A hand drill generally has two parts: a shaft that attaches to your hands, allowing you more control over depth, and a detachable head that holds the screw bit at its end.


One of the essential gear for fishing on ice is an anchor so that if something pulls out from under you (a line breaking, bait getting snagged), it will keep you anchored where you are rather than dropping off into open water.

Lures & Bait

If there’s one thing we know about trying to catch fish – they’re always hungry! You’ll need some good bait to catch these fish under the ice. Some of the best bait we have used includes a mixture of smelt, sardines, and squid

Rod & Reel

The type of rod you should use for this can vary based on the species of fish that you’re trying to catch. Generally speaking, though, a long rod – at least 12′ – is better than a shorter one unless your fishing hole happens to be close by, so there isn’t much distance between where you are standing and where the fish might swim in from

Fishing Line/Leader Wire (Braid)

Start with a 50-pound test line or more robust as it will be more challenging to get through the ice when using a heavier line. You’ll also want some leader wire which has bristles on it called trebles; this helps keep your bait right where you want it.

How to Stay Warm While Ice Fishing

One of the best ways to stay warm while ice fishing is to be bundled up with layers of clothing. You’ll want to wear a base layer, then a mid-layer, and top off the outfit with your favorite fishing jacket.

Best Time For Ice Fishing In MT | Winter vs. Spring

What time of year is best for ice fishing in Montana? Typically winter months from December through February offer plentiful opportunities for anglers. But it’s essential to keep an eye on weather forecasts before heading out onto frozen lakes – conditions can change quickly!

In Conclusion:

Whether you are heading out to ice fish in the winter or the spring, Montana is a place for it. They have so many areas of water that are frozen over and ready to be augured! Remember to practice safety when dealing with these frigid climates, relax, breathe, and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you wait to catch dinner for the night! Happy Ice Fishing!