It's always fishing season here in Big Sky, Montana. Home to some of the most stunning fishing experiences in the world. Big Sky is on every fly fisherman's bucket list. Come and enjoy the pristine waters and healthy trout populations of southwest Montana, but to ensure these fisheries thrive for generations to come, catch-and-release fishing is essential.


Catch and release is a simple practice: you skillfully hook a fish, admire its beauty, and then carefully release it back into the water. Done right, it has a major positive impact on the very fish we cherish.

Being hooked can stress fish, reducing their ability to fight predators and reproduce. While some stress is unavoidable, proper catch-and-release techniques can significantly improve a fish's chances of survival.


Here are six tips to ensure that you practice proper catch and release fishing techniques:
  1. Land the fish quickly and do not play it to exhaustion.
  2. Wet your hands before handling the fish.
  3. Keep the fish in the water as much as possible where it gills can absorb oxygen.
  4. Minimize the time out of water for photos.
  5. Remove the hook gently. Use of artificial lures, single and barbless hooks can make hook removal faster and easier.
  6. Let the fish recover before release. If the fish is hooked deeply or bleeding, you may have to snip the line at the fish’s mouth, or consider keeping it if regulations allow.


Hiring a local guide is a great resource for both experienced and new anglers alike. Local guides have knowledge about the area and proper catch-and-release technique.  Their expertise can help minimize stress on the fish you catch, enhancing your overall day on the river. 

To explore more about fishing in and around Big Sky, and to view our listing of local guides, click the button below.