Hunting, Fishing and More Fall Activities


Hunting, Fishing, and Other Fall Activities

Originally published October 2016

What’s Your Favorite Fall Activity?

Living in Billings, we have access to some amazing resources. With mountains, rivers, cliffs, hills, and prairies nearby, it’s all within your reach to get out there and have some fun exploring the area.

Each season offers a different activity, and as we get well into the fall, here are some that you may love to get out and do.

Go Fishing While the Trout are Spawning

Fishing is great all year round, even in the winter (as long as you have the proper clothing and gear!). But during the fall is when you can load up on trout. It’s this time of year that the brook and brown trout are spawning. The brook trout will feed during the spawn and the brown trout only before and after.
Both species are incredibly hungry as the flies and bugs are dying off due to cold night temperatures, and you can catch your limit pretty easily!

Just be sure to check the regulations wherever you’re going. And check them each year. This year I thought I knew my limits, but I could have kept an extra three fish because the restrictions were lifted on the creek I was fishing.

Harvest Some Antibiotic and Hormone Free Big Game

In mid-October rifle season opens for deer and elk (check Official Dates Here). Thousands of Montana hunters will be hitting the mountains in search of their trophies. I love hunting, and if I could shoot an animal with big antlers it would be nice. But I’ll take what I can get because what I’m truly after is the meat.

When I describe hunting as an economical way of providing food, some people like to scoff and say, “When you add up all the costs, it really isn’t.” They go on to describe some hyper-inflated numbers. But let’s do the math real quick.
Suppose you harvest 250 pounds of meat off an elk and the entire trip costs $1,250 (including amortizing the costs of your gun and other one-time purchases). That comes out to just $5 per pound of meat. Buying hormone free, antibiotic free, organic beef will cost you around $8-$35 per pound (depending on the cut).

Hunting, even strictly by the numbers, is economical. Add in the value of experiencing the Montana Mountains, and it’s a really good deal.

Take a Hike, Ride, or Drive

Perhaps hunting and fishing really aren’t your thing. There’s nothing wrong with that! There are plenty of great outdoor activities that are perfectly well suited for the cool days of autumn.

Go Hiking – Some of my favorite backpacking trips were in the middle of October. You throw on your backpack and trek a few miles into the woods and you get pristine views. The mountains are capped with snow, the lakes are cold and clear, the trees are changing colors, and best of all: not a person in site.

Even some of the most popular destinations are pretty well cleared of people as soon as the temperature drops.

Go Riding – Billings is home to miles upon miles of bike trails. Choose one that you like, and then start pedaling.
You could go for an hour or for a day and see some views of your city that you’ve never seen before. The world is different from a bicycle.

Go Driving – We have about 3 more weeks before the trees will be barren. If hiking and biking don’t sound like fun, then go for a drive!

The cottonwoods along the Yellowstone are a golden yellow, head toward the mountains and the aspen trees are too.
Even driving through the neighborhoods is a splash of color.

Check out 5 places nearby that you can see the colors.

Go Do Something

Just because the nighttime temperatures are getting lower doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be outside. 60 degrees is a great temperature as long as you’re moving around and getting some exercise. Go find a new place to explore, see a new site, and experience a new adventure. 

by Scott Sery
Scott is a writer, outdoor enthusiast, beer snob, and woodworker. When he is not out exploring all of the wonders around Billings, he loves to sit down for a frosty brew at one of the many great breweries we have available to us. You can read about most of his adventures, and many of the fine brews he has sipped right here. Find out more about Scott at