Montana's Fishy Watering Holes

Approaching Joe's Bar on a happenin' summer night.

Approaching Joe's Bar on a happenin' summer night.

It’s that time of the year when we are thinking about skiing trips, Belizean flats, and summer time risers in the southern hemisphere. However, don’t let that mind wander too far from planning this summer’s fishing trip to Montana. That will be here before we know it and while it might seem far away, this is the time to secure a prime date on your favorite stream. Since part of a fishing trip goes beyond the river, here are my favorite fishy spots around Montana to hang out after a great day on the water.

1.     Joe’s Bar in Craig- Also known as the Craig Bar, Joe’s, or just the bar. This is your one and only stop for after river drinks in the thriving metropolis of Craig. There is nothing quite like a game of pool at this fine establishment after catching sippers on the Missouri all afternoon.

2.     Willies Distillery in Ennis- Located a stones throw away from the Ennis boat ramp, this is probably the only place in the world distilling alcohol adjacent to a blue ribbon trout stream. Go in to try a sample or two and then head across the street to the Gravel Bar for dinner. I recommend trying the big horn bourbon, you wont be disappointed.

3.     Murray Bar in Livingston- This place is a Montana classic and a favorite with local guides. It also happens to have some great pizza, which really hits the spot after a day of tossing streamers on the Yellowstone.

4.     The Stray Bullet in Ovando- A great place to mix it up with the friendly local folks in the valley, this is the only breakfast place that makes the list. It’s my favorite place to grab some eggs and bacon while waiting for the excessively cold waters of the Blackfoot to warm into that prime late morning temperature.

5.     MAP Brewing in Bozeman- It’s hard to beat a bite to eat and a delicious draft beer while sitting back and enjoying majestic views of the Bridger Mountains through the window here. With a great location just outside of downtown, this is a great spot to relax while swapping stories about the days fishing.

6.     Blackfoot River Brewing in Helena-Last, but not least on the list. A summer time beer on their upstairs patio is my favorite place to relax after a great day on the river. The IPA here is excellent and there is nothing like being with fellow anglers and guides to enjoy some “real good beer, made by real good people.”