Where to Fish Musselshell River


The Musselshell River begins with the headwaters of the North and South forks in the Little Belt, Castle, and Crazy mountains in central Montana. Converging near Martinsdale, Montana, they form the mainstem, which flows east and north through a landscape varying from mountains to rolling plains and badlands. The upper, coldwater region of the Musselshell supports five species of gamefish, including native cutthroat and mountain whitefish. Abundant brush cover, good gravel bars, and clarity characterize the habitat of the South Fork. The North Fork's excellent willow cover and undercut banks provide favorable habitat for brown, rainbow, and brook trout. Averaging 60 feet wide at the juncture of the forks, the Musselshell draws extra water downstream for irrigation. Three storage reservoirs add to its flows, Bair Reservoir on the North Fork, Martinsdale Reservoir on the South Fork, and Deadman's Basin, a mainstem diversion. For the 50 miles from Barber to Roundup, the Musselshell widens, a number of irrigation diversions reduce streamflows, and the water becomes warmer. Riparian vegetation is commonly honeysuckle, wild rose, willow, and isolated groves of cottonwood trees. For its last 90 miles, the river broadens to 100 feet, accompanied by a rapid increase in turbidity. Vegetation adjacent to the river thins due to the arid climate, livestock grazing, and unstable and saline soils. However, the warmwater portion of the Musselshell supports a substantial resident fish population and provides spawning areas for sauger and channel catfish from Fort Peck Reservoir. The Musselshell River empties into Fort Peck Reservoir north of Mosby, 342 miles from its sources.

Mile Upper: 341.945
Mile Lower: 0.0
Mouth Latitude/Longitude: 47.4521 -107.89922
Status of the Fishery:
FWP Region: Region 4  Region 5 
County: Garfield  •  Golden Valley  •  Musselshell  •  Petroleum  •  Phillips  •  Rosebud  •  Wheatland
Fishing District: Central  •  Eastern
Click on rows to select them for use in other tabs.

Waterbody Section Field Form Type Date Purpose Species
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Species Count Avg StdDev Min Max AvgWgt StdDevWgt MinWeight S/L Sects Surveys Waterbody
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Waterbody Section Species Count AveLength StdDevLength MinLength MaxLength AveWeight StdDevWeight MinWeight MaxWeight
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams

Waterbody Year Section Species Count AveLength StdDevLength MinLength MaxLength AveWeight StdDevWeight MinWeight MaxWeight
To see this data, first select one or more rows from the Collection Info tab.
This is a preview, all fields will be visible by selecting a download option. For Comparative analysis all Length Units are millimeters : all Weights are grams.

Year Species Abbrv Length Weight M/C Count Sex Mort Hook Scar Disease Scales Otolith Fin Clip Tag Comment Genetics Age Stomach Intercept Slope Gear Equipment Trip Date Pass/Run Water Section Lat/Down Lon/Down Lat/Up Lon/Up Agency
Year River Mile Angler Days Std. Error
2017 7.58  to  250.61 730 366
2015 7.58  to  250.61 2059 1123
2013 7.58  to  250.61 2446 809
2011 7.58  to  250.61 2097 582
2017 250.61  to  341.94 2249 1274
2015 250.61  to  341.94 1341 440
2013 250.61  to  341.94 2348 851
2011 250.61  to  341.94 775 299
View the latest Montana Fishing Regulations.
Station Name RiverMile Website Link
Musselshell River nr Martinsdale, MT 340 Link
Musselshell River at Harlowton MT 306 Link
Musselshell River ab Mud Cr nr Shawmut MT 272 Link
Musselshell River near Lavina MT 225 Link
Musselshell River near Roundup MT 196 Link
Musselshell River at Musselshell MT 155 Link
Musselshell River at Mosby MT 70 Link