Wild & Native

Wild trout mean a lot of different things in Montana — a cartwheeling rainbow after a Royal Wulff on the Madison, a native cutthroat grabbing ‘hoppers on the Yellowstone, a rare grayling flashing at an elk hair caddis on the Big Hole, a trophy brown trout sipping tricos on the Missouri or a big lake trout chasing a silver spoon on Flathead Lake. But, at some deeper level, all these wild trout represent the same thing — a commitment to a fishery based on self-sustaining populations and natural reproduction, not on hatchery supplementation or stocking.
Indeed, Montana and wild trout are synonymous.

Montana’s fishery managers learned decades ago that if we provide trout with cold clean water and prime habitat, the trout repay us many times over. They provide us with recreation, humility, sustenance, companionship and above all, a special natural heritage. Anyone who has fished Montana knows the difference between wild trout and hatchery fish. There is no comparison.

We Montanans have worked hard to develop and implement our wild trout philosophy. We are justifiably proud of our accomplishment. The philosophy has given our state the best fishing in the world and anglers from around the globe come to enjoy it.

Wild trout are the reason that we in Montana have taken the threat of whirling disease so seriously. Our wild trout cannot be easily replaced without jeopardizing our fishing heritage and uniqueness as a fishing destination. Anything that we undertake will be consistent with an overriding goal of maintaining and restoring our wild trout resources.