Hebgen Lake Boating & Fishing

One of the most popular boating and fishing lakes in Montana, Hebgen Lake offers spectacular scenery, great fishing, boating, and camping opportunities. The access to Hebgen Lakeside is excellent. Located just north of the Idaho border in the Beaverhead National Forest and off MT Highway 87 and Highway 287 leading to Ennis, Hedgen Lake is about 15 minutes drive north of the city of West Yellowstone and just 3 miles east of Yellowstone National Park. Additionally, several other roads lead to the south side of the Hebgen Lakeside, where you can find numerous campgrounds.

This man-made lake is more than 15 miles long and measures up to four miles at its widest point. With such a great location, scenery and an abundancy of water activities, Hedgen Lake provides a perfect vacation spot not far from Yellowstone National Park. Its nearby spots include the earthquake area visitor center and beaver creek recreational area.


With the national forest next to it and the surrounding breathtaking mountain scenes, Hebgen Lakeside offers some of the best and unforgettable boating and fishing opportunities in the state of Montana. Be sure to rent or bring your canoe, kayak, or sail, motor, or fishing boat and enjoy your day on the crystal pure water. Several Hebgen Lake Marinas have docks and great boating and fishing supplies that can be either purchased or rented.

What makes Hedgen Lake even more attractive is that there are fun activities not only in the summer, but throughout the whole year, even winter, when among other activities, you can plunge yourself into ice fishing.

Boating at Hebgen Lake

Being over 4 miles across at the widest point, Hebgen Lake is a large lake, which makes boating a real pleasure and an unforgetable experience. You can choose to sail under the sun or if it’s not too windy, water ski or paddle around in a canoe or kayak. Crystal pure water, combined with scenic environment and convenient location near West Yellowstone, Montana, makes Hebgen Lakeside a popular destination for anyone.

The best time for water activities at Hebgen Lake is from July to late September. And if you are going out for fishing, consider using any other boat than float tubes. Because of its location on a high plateau, Hebgen Lake Montana can be rather windy at times, and float tubes become very dangerous in the unprotected sections of the lake. However, with such a great choice and boating options (canoe, inflatable kayak, sailers, pontoon boats, or motorboats), there’s no real reason why a little wind should stop you from goint out and boating.

Fishing at Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake arguably offers the best fishing opportunities in the state of Montana. With its healthy population of big browns, rainbows, and cutthroats, the lake makes your fishing experience unforgetable. Some people say that Hebgen Lake Montana is the best lake for fishing in all of North America. Indeed, you will get successful results and a great catch no matter what fishing supplies you use, be it dry or wet flies. Hebgen Lake is open throughout all seasons, and in the winter you can do some ice fishing.

The trout are found in abundance in Hebgen Lake and mostly in a sporting size. This is a good reason explaining the popularity of this West Yellowstone fishing location. The average brown trout ranges from 16 to 18 inches and rainbow trout runs between 14 and 16 inches, although lucky anglers can occasionally catch a 20-incher.

Montana Hebgen Lake offers two distinctive hatches. From late spring to early summer, the lake has great hatches of Tricos, while late in July and early August, you can find plenty of chironomids. All this may provide excellent fishing unless the winds are strong. With such a prolific midge hatch, the trout can be found on top in the different shallow bays and along the shoreline. The second hatch of Trico, Callibaetis mayflies and Caddisfly regularly occur in the middle-end of August, thus the trout often can be seen feeding on surface flies, which provides an oustanding opportunity to catch large-sized fish right from the shoreline. Anglers can also use standard fly patterns such as the Parachute Adams to catch the trout around the inlets to the lake and in its various bays. During the summer, the Madison arm of Hebgen Lake, in particular, is an ideal place to dry fish.

If you are new to fishing at Hebgen Lakeside, it will be a good idea to either follow the crowds or get a guide to find the best fishing spots. As Hebgen Lake Montana is such a big lake, it is very easy to miss the best fishing spot and come home with nothing, but frustration.

In overall, there’s no other such lake in the world as Hebgen Lake, which is arguably the finest fishing lake in the world!

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