Hebgen Lake Montana Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Hebgen Lake

Camp, boat, fish, and swim in Big Sky's go-to watering hole.  This 14-mile long lake is brimming with browns, cutthroats and rainbows.

  • 14 miles long and up to 4 miles wide, Hebgen lies just Northwest of West Yellowstone, 50 miles South of Big Sky
  • Boat, fish, and swim in cool mountain waters
  • Catch 14-18-inch brown and rainbow trout in one of the best dry fly fishing lakes in the U.S.

Overview

Just 50 miles to the South, Hebgen Lake is Big Sky’s go-to summer watering hole. Sail, paddle, fish, and swim in this 14-mile long mountain-lined lake. Hebgen has two distinct arms- the Grayling and the Madison arm – and Hebgen Dam marks it’s North-most point. Fed by the blue-ribbon Madison River, it’s not uncommon to catch a 16-inch brown or rainbow trout in Hebgen.

Location/Directions

50 miles South of Big Sky and 10 miles Northwest of West Yellowstone, Hebgen Lake is easily accessible off of US 191 and 287.

Seasons

Open year-round - Ice fish the frozen lake in the winter months, then hit the water come summer.

Activities

  • Fishing
    Late May through mid July brings the Chironomid hatch, bringing trout to Hebgen’s surface and making it one of the best dry fly fishing lakes in the U.S. Catch brown and rainbow trout, some upwards of 18 inches. While float tube opportunities exist in some of the smaller bays, motorboat, canoe, pontoon boat, or inflatable kayak would make a better craft choice for fishing the moving schools of trout and can be rented at local outfitters.
  • Boating
    Kayak, canoe, tube, or water ski: choose your preferred aquatic activity, then set out from any of the marinas that dot Hebgen’s shore, many of which rent boats and equipment.
  • Camping
    Choose from one of the designated campsites around the lake, or rent a room or cabin at a lake-side marina. For camping, try Rainbow Lake on the Grayling Arm of the lake, where you’ll find picnic tables, fire rings, and a boat launch (reservations required three days in advance, 406-646-1012).
  • Quake Lake
    Just five miles Northwest of Hebgen lies Quake Lake, named for the 1959 earthquake that created it. A 7.3 on the Richter scale, the quake caused an 80 million ton rock-slide to block the Madison River, creating a body of water almost 175 feet deep. 28 people died, and many Hebgen Lake summer homes were damaged or destroyed. Check out the natural wonder from the Earthquake Lake Visitor’s Center.

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