Mountain Whitefish

Type:
Fresh Water
The mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) is familiar to most Montanans. This widespread native fish is primarily a stream-dwelling species, but populations are also found in reservoirs and lakes. The mountain whitefish is found in abundance in most clear, cold rivers in the western drainages and eastern mountain front of Montana. The typical mountain whitefish is a cylindrical 10-16 inch fish, but they can reach a weight of 5 pounds. Trout fishermen frequently catch several whitefish for every trout taken. They are considered a nuisance by some anglers, but are sought after by others. Whitefish provide forage for larger trout. They have evolved with our native trout and have been shown to provide little competition with trout. Their pointed snout and small round mouth makes them efficient at vacuuming invertebrates from the substrate while trout tend to feed more on drifting insects. Mountain whitefish often congregate in large schools on their fall-spawning runs to broadcast their adhesive eggs over gravel bars in tributary streams. Mountain whitefish are one of our most important native gamefish because of their abundance and willingness to take a bait or artificial fly.
 
Fishing Waters
Famous for its rainbow trout, the Crowsnest River begins at Crowsnest Lake in the Canadian Rockies near the border with British Columbia. It weaves past Crowsnest Mountain and through ... moreseveral towns before cascading over Lundbreck Falls and flowing into the Oldman Reservoir. The upper river above Blairmore meanders through beautiful alpine meadows with solid, grassy banks and predictable flows.

Below Blairmore there is a short stint of Stillwater created by what was to be a “temporary” blockage built in 1903. Anglers here will spot highly educated, big fish that tease you with a glance and disappear between Turtle Mountain boulders the size of trucks.

The most prized water on this blue ribbon, spring fed, freestone river, is between the towns of Bellvue and Lundbreck Falls. Here the river lies in a valley walled off by tall stands of evergreen, aspen and willow trees. From Lundbreck Falls to the Oldman Reservoir the landscape opens, the river widens and strong winds from the Crowsnest Pass register their mark on misshapen trees. In addition to rainbows, large numbers of cutthroat and bull trout appear on this stretch.

Observers and guides account for the river’s productivity by its proliferous hatches. Especially worth noting is the Salmon fly hatch in the last week of May. Named for their orange colored throats, these salmon flies migrate to the river before entering dry land, creating a wonderful opportunity for anglers.
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Often overlooked by visitors to the area, the Crystal is an undiscovered gem worth finding. Starting at the confluence of its north and south forks, the river winds down from the alpine ... moremeadows of the Elk Mountains above Marble, Colorado and drains into the Valley of the Coal Miners. Because there are large shale deposits in its drainage basin, the “crystal” water can get muddy after a hard rain or during spring runoff, but if you catch it right it can deliver some great trout fishing.

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Public access is quite good since most of the river flows through the White River National Forest and runs nearly parallel to highway #133. In the fall, brown trout come up from the Roaring Fork River to spawn, which can provide a great opportunity for anglers. The state stocks rainbow and cutthroat in the public sections between Marble and Redstone because hatches tend to be lower here than in other parts of the river. This is the only section that is stocked.

Higher concentrations of rainbow are found as you move toward the river’s confluence with the Roaring Fork. Because this is a swift moving river, the fish are known to hold out in current seams and banks where it’s possible for them to feed without exerting too much energy. Most consider late spring to early fall the best time to fish this wading river. 

Between Crystal City and Marble, the river works its way through the Crystal River Canyon, a narrow valley with a challenging landscape. Fishing is known to be good here but the terrain is rugged and access is difficult due to seasonal mudslides, snow slides and rockfalls. If this type of adventure appeals to you, be sure to only go in with an appropriate, 4 wheel vehicle.
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River or Stream? In the eyes of many anglers, the Fall River is viewed as a crystal clear, beautiful, big stream. Like the Metolius, the Fall is a stream-fed tributary of the Deschutes. ... moreIt runs through tall stands of pine in the federally protected Deschutes National Forest with banks surrounded by tall grasses and willow trees. 

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Within its small, 8-mile long run, it’s possible to find wild brown, wild brook and stocked rainbow trout. The wild brook trout tend to be small, averaging around 6 inches. By contrast, the wild brown trout grow large, ranging from 8 to 15 inches. The rainbows average about 10 inches, but 20 inchers have certainly been found. The water is also stocked from the Crane Prairie Reservoir, with fish known as Crane-bows.

The river provides a safe haven for brown and other species that swim in from the Deschutes and find excellent winter habitat. Above Fall River Falls, the river is open throughout the year. Below the Falls, there are seasonal closures to assist spawning fish. It’s possible to access the Fall River at the fish hatchery or on National Forest land. Fishing is excellent from its headwaters to the falls, and good news to Yobi readers – it’s fly fishing, barbless hooks only.
Fishing Access Sites:
This is no bull – some of the largest bull trout you will ever see swim in the Elk River. Considered a world class, dry fly fishery, this freestone river starts near the Continental ... moreDivide in the Rocky Mountains near Peter Park in Alberta. Its source is the Elk Lakes, waters created from glacial runoff. A relatively long river at 140 miles, it picks up tributaries and increases in volume to the point where it can only be crossed in a very few places. Important to the area, the river drains over 1720 square miles and courses through several communities including Elkford, Sparwood, Hosmer, Elko and of course, Fernie.

As well known as the Elk is for its mammoth bull trout, it is even better known for its sizeable wild, westslope cutthroat trout and large concentrations of mountain whitefish. Restrictions apply along the river but differ from section to section. The upper section is posted as catch-and-release-only until you reach Forsyth Creek. Throughout the entire river, a catch limit of only one trout over 30 centimeters applies.

Major portions of the upper river can be fished from small drift boats although there the river is too narrow to accommodate large crafts. Farther downstream you may be slowed down by an abundance of beaver dams, but by the time you reach Sparwood the river is negotiable in basically any craft you choose. Without an experienced guide, the canyon span below Elko can risky.

For those who prefer to wade, by late summer and into early fall, it’s possible to walk major sections of the river. Because the bottom can be slippery, felt bottom boots and a wading staff are recommended. Overall, given the river’s size, it is best suited to floating with its many boulder-strewn runs, deep pools, riffles and alluring side channels.
From its source at the outlet of Holmes Lake in the Monashee Mountains of British Columbia, the Kettle River flows south to Midway, British Columbia. Along the way it is joined by ... moremany tributaries, most notably the West Kettle River. Below Midway, the river loops south into the United States, through Ferry County, Washington, before flowing north back into Canada, passing by Grand Forks, British Columbia where the Granby River joins. After flowing east for about 10 miles (16 km), the river turns south again, just south of Christina Lake,[6] entering the United States again.

THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF WASHINGTON does not receive much attention. One of the rivers in this part of the state is the Kettle. The overall, fish counts are not high on this incredibly clear freestone river, yet someday's you might think the dry fly fishing could not get any better! The genetics of the redbands are very clean. These rainbows are some of the hardest fighting and beautiful fish you have ever experienced.

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Game Fish Opportunities:
The Stillwater River starts in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness south of the Beartooth Mountains in southern Park County, near the state line with Wyoming. It runs northeast, between ... morethe Absaroka Range to the west and the Beartooth Mountains to the east, through Custer National Forest, past Nye and Absarokee. It joins the Yellowstone near Columbus, Montana.

This Stillwater is a blue ribbon fishery. Trout are the primary game fish, but Mountain Whitefish are also common. In the river's lower sections, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout are the most common, but towards the headwaters Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout and Brook Trout show up with increased frequency. In the spring Rainbow Trout from the Yellowstone River enter the Stillwater to spawn, some traveling as far upstream as Nye. In the fall, Brown Trout also enter the river from the Yellowstone to spawn. It is during these seasons that larger fish up to 5 pounds can be more easily found. Despite its misleading name, the Stillwater's most popular stretches contain class II and III whitewater. While float fishing from a raft is a common way to fish the river, it is recommended that only experienced rowers attempt to navigate it.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The Duchesne River is a trout fishing treasure. Several Blue Ribbon stretches produce some beautiful Brown, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout. The Duchesne is a tributary of the Green River ... moreand is easily accessible from Salt Lake City or Park City Utah. The Duchesne River and its tributaries provide miles of fly fishing opportunities. The river is split into three sections, North Fork, West Fork and the Duchesne. The West Fork and the Duchesne river are considered one of Utah's blue ribbon fisheries. Native stands of cottonwood trees and willows grow along the river banks, while sagebrush and rabbitbrush fill the un-irrigated bench tops.

The West Fork flows approximately 16 miles from its head waters. This upper portion has public access through the Ashley National Forest. The lower portions of West Fork to the North Fork confluence flows through private property. There is however public access along the the lands that surround the river through private lands. At several good sized pull outs along SR-35 these access points are marked with small brown signs. The North And West Fork contain Bows, Browns, Brooks, Cutts, and Whitefish. Hatches include Caddis, Stones, and Western Green Drakes. Flies with good catch records are Para-Adams # 16 to 20, Sparkle Dun, olive # 14 to 22, Pheasant Tail Nymph # 18, BWO, olive # 18, CJ Nymph, copper # 14 to 18, and Black Wooly Bugger # 8.

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The upper river flows through alpine meadows and forested canyons holds native Cutts and Wild Brooks. It slows and meanders through farmland and pastures in the lower reaches of Tilly Valley and is home to skiddish and Bows and Browns. From June to mid July large stones, green drakes and PMD’s are active. Weighted nymphs would be successful. Streamer action is good here also during high water.

Most of the public access to the main Duchesne river has been closed. Acquired public access from the North Fork confluence to just below the Sand Creek bridge allows fishing on approx 3.5 miles of the Duchesne river. There is no public access to the Duchesne river below the town of Hanna.

In the river you'll find stoneflies, caddis flies, mayflies, diptera larva, water beetles, amphibians, dace, sculpin, small trout, white fish and suckers.

Via highway, Salt Lake City is 114 miles, Vernal is 58 miles, and Price 54 miles away. In the summer months I-80 east will take you from Salt Lake City to exit 148 Heber/Vernal. US-40 leads you to the Park City/Kamas/Francis exit. Turn left onto SR-248 towards Kamas/Francis. Approx 11.4 miles turn right onto SR-32. Follow SR-32 through town to a four way stop. Turn Left onto SR-35 and continue over Wolf Creek Pass and the river off to your right on the other side.

In the winter months continue on US-40 to Fruitland Utah. In Fruitland take a left on SR-208 towards Tabiona Utah. From SR-208 turn left on SR-35. Past Hanna Utah you will encounter fishing access locations.
The Weber River flows for 125-miles from northwest of the Uinta Mountains to the Great Salt Lake. The Weber River was named for American fur trapper John Henry Weber and is similar ... morein size to the Provo River.

A short drive from both Salt Lake City and Park City make this river a local favorite. The Weber flows south through two major reservoirs and has some incredible fishing on its way to the Great Salt Lake. Year round fly fishing can be found on the Weber, which is well known for producing wild brown trout that grow to trophy sizes well over 25 inches.

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Angling traffic is light compared to the Provor river and with just a short 20-minute drive from Park City and excellent access, the Weber River is a gem. It is well recognized for its abundant hatches, making for great nymphing year round. Summer months offer outstanding dry fly fishing on carpets of caddis and over-abundant hoppers. Late winter through May, fish gobble down blue wing olives and Mothers Day caddis.

The Weber is divided into three sections by two big reservoirs. Fish for really big browns in the section between Rockport Reservoir and Echo Reservoir.
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The Kootenay (spelled Kootenai in the U.S. and historically called the Flatbow) is a major river in southeastern British Columbia and flows through Montana and Idaho. ... more

The Kootenai River trout fishery begins below Libby Dam and stretches approximately 40 miles to the Idaho border. Above the Libby Dam, Lake Koocanusa Reservoir extends over 100 miles into the Canadian Rockies. The Kootenai’s wild and native rainbows are strong, hard fighters and are known to spool line off your reel only to put on a display of adrenaline pumping jumps. Streamers, fished deep produce native Bull trout up to the 10 pound range on the Kootenai. The Kootenai River is a classic dry fly fishery with long runs and flat pools that are perfectly suited for drifting a fly.

The Kootenai River is a bit off the beaten path, which make this the perfect getaway for those that enjoy a bit more solitude. Rainbow trout up to 33 pounds have been taken on the river. Hatches are prolific throughout the season and a steady release of water from the Libby dam provides for even flows. The Kootenai contains a native strain of rainbow trout, called Columbia Redbands and with 1500-2500 trout per mile there are plenty of fish that come to your fly. While waterflows can be an issue on other rivers during hot summer months, a steady supply from Lake Koocanusa keeps the local fish population of the Kootenai happy and cool.
One of the region's most popular rivers for white water rafting and float boating, the McKenzie also offers easy access to world class trout and steelhead fishing. At this site, just ... more30 minutes east of Springfield on Highway 126, don't be suprised if you find yourself sharing the water with osprey, great blue herons, and bald eagles. These and other species are featured at the accessible Silver Creek Watchable Wildlife Site near Vida.

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