Georgetown Lake

Nestled in the Pintlar Mountains near Philipsburg, Montana. Watch the Video View Fishing Report


Georgetown Lake is Montana’s preeminent public flatwater fishery. Rimmed by the Pintler Mountains, it’s also among the state’s most beautiful. But what attracts us are rainbow trout in the 16″- 24″ range. Yes, we said 24″ rainbows. As if these giant rainbows weren’t enough – we catch numbers of brook trout over 16” and several every year exceeding 20”! You don’t need to travel to Labrador to see fish like this – they live here – and plenty of them.

Special regulations imposed nearly two decades ago, continue to pay huge dividends. Much of the lake shore is closed to fishing before July 1st to maximize rainbows’ opportunity to grow well into maturity and anglers can only keep one brook trout per day. As the water warms in June, these leviathans fresh off the spawn gorge themselves on damsel fly nymphs, leaches, callibaetis mayflies, scuds, giant olive sedge and midges. We typically pitch small buggers and leaches to single cruisers and across spring holes through the month. Later in July continuing on into September we rarely fish a nymph or streamer. We’re sight fishing to them in just inches to a few feet of water. If you’re a saltwater angler, it will remind you of polling the flats scanning for bones, but instead of them rooting out crabs they are toilet bowling dries on the surface.

Blanketing damsel fly hatches, early morning callibaetis, gulping midge clusters and the giant olive sedge skating across the water just before dark are the occurrences you don’t want to miss! There is nothing else quite like it in Montana.  Poor river fishing conditions with bright days under high sun are often the best here.  Trips to Georgetown Lake are timing sensitive so when your guide recommends you take a day to fish there – don’t make a mistake – take them up on it.

The Stats

  • Typical Catch

    This is a big fish trip with real opportunity to catch a rainbows over 2' long with plenty ranging 16"-20". In addition, the lake has a number of exceptional brookies from 14'-18" (some over 20") and smaller kokanee salmon under 13".

  • Total Area of Drainage

    About 30 square miles.

  • Total River Miles We Guide

    We guide the entire lake when open but focus on the sections that open July 1st.

  • Travel Distances from Missoula

    Just under 2 hours from Missoula, or 25 minutes from our shop in Philipsburg.

  • Bank-side Accommodations

    There are houses and cabins for rent right along the lake or stay at our rental home in Philipsburg and enjoy the nightlife there.

  • Primary Style of Fishing

    Sight fishing far and fine is our goal with dry fly casts to 50'+ plus to cruising fish. When the fish are being snooty we'll pitch and strip olive buggers. If you’ve bone fished before, you get the picture.

BRO’s Top Six Patterns for Georgetown Lake

  • Parachute Purple Haze #16-14
  • Zebra Midge #20-18 (olive or black)
  • Blue Damsel Adult #8
  • Richards Seal Bugger #10-8
  • Parachute Mahogany (trust us here!) #16-14
  • Elk Caddis #10-8 (olive)