Hunting and Fishing Opportunities

This portion of Montana, in particular the Rocky Mountain Front, has a greater diversity of fish and wildlife than any other state. The area provides yearlong habitat for the grizzly bear, black bear, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and antelope. Grizzlies and black bears are known to roam eastward from the mountains along many of the rivers and streams that form the headwaters of the Missouri River. The phenomenon of grizzlies using prairie habitats during the spring and summer is unique to this part of the world.

The white-tailed deer and mule deer are found along major drainages and foothill habitats. Furbearers such as beaver, mink, muskrat, otter, weasel, badger, coyote, lynx, bobcat, mountain lion and wolf are all found within a 100 mile radius of Shelby. A visit to the Shelby Area Chamber of Commerce / Visitor Information Center will provide a glimpse of the size, power and beauty of a mountain lion that ventured into the city limits in August of 1996.

Fish species abundant in the area include Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Arctic Grayling and Kokanee Salmon. Anglers preferring warm water fish have several opportunities for Shovelnose Sturgeon, Paddlefish, Northern Pike, Walleye Pike, Channel Catfish, Burbot, Perch and Sauger.

The Marias River, south of Shelby offer warm water fishing opportunities, as well as two lakes in the area, Lake Francis and Tiber Reservoir (Lake Elwell). Numerous public and private fishing ponds scattered throughout northern Montana are stocked with trout and warm water species. Streams and rivers draining eastward from Glacier Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness (Lewis and Clark National Forest) provide lots of additional fishing recreation.

Waterfowl species migrate along two major flyway routes in this area of Montana. Ducks, geese and swans are harvested by hunters each fall along the Marias River, Tiber Reservoir and numerous other streams and ponds. Pheasants, Hungarian Partridge and sharp-tailed grouse are commonly hunted in the same areas. Upland game birds available on National Forest and adjacent private land include Rough Grouse, Blue Grouse and Spruce Grouse.

Hunters harvest antelope, mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk in the Shelby area. Black bear, grizzly, bighorn sheep and goat hunting are allowed along the mountain front.

In general, the outdoor recreationalist can hunt and fish the year round in Montana. From ice fishing to archery, the Shelby area offers maximum opportunity to enjoy our abundant fish and wildlife resources.