Can we talk about Montana?

I was wondering if we could talk about Montana on here. I would give anything to go one day even live there. It seems like there is great paddling and so much more. Is anyone from MT? Has anyone taken a trip there recently? or paddled there? What is it like?

We get up to Montana every year, since we have family in Missoula. It is an interesting place. The economy is not that great. Ted Turner and other celebrities have bought up some of the big ranches. Missoula is the liberal college town. In eastern Montana, a rural area, the locals thought that the Californians had moved in, because they suddenly saw coffee bars and people in bicycling shorts. But they were just folks from western Montana, heading from the more developed section of the state to the more rural areas, trying to get away from the crowds. I think it is a funny story, but maybe you had to have been there. Montana is in some ways like Alaska, not too developed and kind of a rugged individual area. The western part of the state is more mountainous, while the eastern part is part of the Great plains, but a little less boring. (apologies to Nebraska and Kansas).

I have done quite a bit of fly fishing in Montana, but I get skunked a lot more often than I actually catch fish. I have paddled relatively little in Montana, only a little on the Missouri near Wolf Creek. I hope to paddle the Smith River this July, good for paddling and fishing, as someone I know has a permit.

I am not going to attempt to talk about the various rivers, I am sure that you could get better information from other sources. Lewis and Clark paddled some of the major rivers, especially the Missouri. The white cliffs section of the missouri river is famous for scenery, looks about like it did 200 years ago. I have not paddled it yet.

I don’t think that you said what kind of rivers you were interested in, I kind of interpreted your request to be for any kind of info about Montana.

I like Montana, we could move there, but a bit too cold for us. I think of it as similar to many of the other states in the Rocky Mountains, I don’t see it as totally unique.

As always, your milage will vary, and you need to see it for yourself.


i only paddled on the Missouri while in Montana…

if ya ever get the chance, paddle the “gates of the Mtns” and “the wild and scenic river section” which has the white cliffs and hole in the wall… both on the upper MISSOURI

we met some great people in Montana, dont get me wrong, but in general it seemed like people would only talk to us if they were making money off of us… prolly just a tourist thing

Did a section of the Missouri in…
2001 (was it really that long ago?)

I posted a write-up here at See a link below:

It’s Being Developed
Western Montana is being devolped by the rich. You’d have trouble finding property there at a good price. Many of the lakes are hard to access because of private property concerns. Flathead Lake is breath-taking but you have to deal the all the develoment around it. Missoula is the best little city I’ve ever seen. Temperatures there are superior to the windy plains. I used to live in Salmon, ID 135 miles south of there and would visit whenever I got a chance.

If you don’t have to worry about finding work I’d suggest you look at Challis, ID. It’s close enough to Montana to visit, has the Salmon River and is 56 miles from the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. You have alpine lakes and class 1 to class 4 stretchs of river to choose from. Then there’s the Snake River in easten Idaho and western Wyoming. Pinedale, WY near the Wind River Range has great places to paddle. Fremont and Green River lakes plus the Green River aren’t to shabby.

I live there.
I live on the Yellowstone River the LONGEST FREE FLOWING RIVER IN THE LOWER 48.

Montana is great. The total population of the 5th largest state is about as much as Tampa has.

Plenty to do and see. Thousands of miles of backpacking including the Continental Divide Trail. Yellowstone Nat and Glarcier National Parks as well as the Missouri Breaks National Monument. Good paddling on the Missouri, Madison, Yellowstone, Flathead, Smith, Dearborn, Marias, Flathead, Bighorn Res and others. Still find some great deals on land. A fixer upper house in town cost about 50 grand to 80 grand. You can still get 20 acres for around 100 grand in beatiful valleys. Why am I telling you this? I dont want you to move here.

Salmon Idaho, home of one of the best hamburger joints in the country… “the BurntBun”

I rented a cave for a month at the Salmon river Cavemans ice caves… in spring 03 what a expierence that was :slight_smile:

poeple sure know how to party in IDA-HO!! Great place

That was exactly the type of information I was looking for. I want to hear about where your favorite spots in the state or bordering states are. Not as year round but I was hoping as a vacation retreat sort of place to get away from it all. National Geographic Adventure published an article in sept 04 about top 10 great adventure towns. The number one town was sort of obvious, Asheville, NC. I have been there many times and it doesn’t seem like it really is a country getaway unless your last name is

Vanderbilt. I will look into Challis, ID and Salmon.

I am really into touring and not too big into whitewater but thats not a big deal.One thing that I have never dealt with are bears. I can not honestly say they don’t scare the crap out of me. But can say I am fine with gators.

Seen some of the real estate in Flathead and the northwest part of the state. I think the best part might be around Dillion,Pray,Columbus,Roundup, Livingston, or St. Ignatius. But the possibilities seem endless.

Other then the Eastern half, where maybe is the cheapless land at that offers great recreation and mountain views?

You can probably get 40 acres for under 90 grand and an acre for a few thousand around columbus, big timber etc. Near the yellowstone river and views of the Crazy and BearTooth Mtns.

I’m only
gonna say this once. Fort Benton. And thats all I’m gonna say.

A paradise for paddlers
I live along the yellowstone in eastern montana. Montana is a playground for outdoor types. Hiking, fishing (fly and bait) climb, hunt, this is the place. It’s really great for paddlers cuz of our stream access laws. Pretty much anything below the high water mark is public. It will be a dark day when that gets changed and people have tried, so far so good. So many great rivers here. You could stay busy for a long time.

Good work here is slim. Unless you’re already good financially, you’re probly gonna have to deal with a crappy (or a couple of crappy) jobs.

when you have a great day on a river tho it really seems worth it.

I didn’t know cave people knew about computers. Dugout is s trip ain’t he. If you partied there then you might have gone to Elk Bend. We might have met. I don’t drink but enjoy playing pool. I usually wore a straw hat during summer days. If you ever saw someone on the river in a red/yellow SOT that was me.

The Salmon is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 BTW.

The Salmon is class 1-2 from Burnt Creek just down from North Fork. That’s well over 100 miles of river touring. I’ve seen more wildlife along that scretch than anywhere else I’ve paddled. Deer, elk, big horn sheep and numerous birds can be spotted. In August you can spot chinook. Access is excellent. There plenty of boat docks as well parking right along the river. There’s steelhead fishing too.

stream access laws
What are your stream access laws? Does that mean your allowed to paddle on all rivers and streams in the state even on private property? Does that include your allowed to fish also? I saw something about having paid your state park fees through drivers registration or something that seems like a good idea. Wish they had that here.

The laws say that you can paddle and fish on navigable streams within the high water marks meaning where the vegetation changes. As long as you are within those perameters it’s public property. There are some exceptions like on Indian Reservations but even then you can get permits sometimes. You can’t cross private property to access a stream without permission.

You can access a river from a bridge but that’s hard sometimes.

I don’t know about the state park fees. Personally I don’t frequent any state parks here cuz theres so much other public land like national forest and rec areas and BLM.

And there’s all that river bottom!

Navigable stream means any stream that will float a 6" log during high water. High water is often above vegetation lines. In Idaho paddlers and fishermen have the right to cross any fence stretching across streams. Now agencies are placing hanging fences, with panels that swing back and forth, across streams.

5th largest?
I give up, what is 4th? I know about Alaska, Texas, California, ??? Always thought Montana was fourth (just as long as Alaska dosen’t split and make Texas the third largest :slight_smile:

State Park access
is free for vehicles with Mt lisences, but if you camp you still have to pay the daily camping fee. The Forest Circus (Federal)access areas vary, some with facilities of some sort (camp sites, out houses, etc.) require fees, others don’t ??

Re: Dugout Dick
LOL yea he sure is a trip … im amazed he was still driving the last i saw him in spring 03.

ElkBend? mmmmm i think i remember, isnt it the only local bar near the caves that sold takeout?

We drank a bottle of high quality tequilla with “Outlaw Johnny” at the caves one night… he is 10 times the trip dugout is… i would pay big money to expierence that again!!.. you know of him?

I live in Montana
I have a rafting business near Missoula. Love it but it is very hard work to get enough customers, or to just make a living. A 2 bedroom apt is 650 here and 650 near Phily Penn. We have many well educated making $7 /hour for the privledge of living in Montana. Our land is going for $60000 for a couple of acres, underdeveloped. Your choice. Make a million and come visit. Live in poverty but live in paradise.