My Top 5 Drive Up Fishing Spots Near Billings

If you read very many of my posts, you know that I love to fish. It’s a chance to get outdoors and experience the area, but at the same time you get to catch dinner. While it is true that fishing the backcountry lakes is often more exciting, and the fish you get are bigger, there are times when you just can’t afford the time to hike in 8 miles to fish. Instead, there are a lot of drive up fishing spots nearby that you can spend an hour or two and still have fun.

Yellowstone River

Of course the first on my list is the river that runs right through our backyard. Fishing on the Yellowstone River is easy to do from shore, and you can go to just about any public access spot and find a good hole. So hit up Duck Creek Bridge, Riverfront Park, or head out toward Huntley. Chances are with a bucket of worms and a couple hours you will come home with at least a few fish.

West Rosebud Lake

West Rosebud is the trailhead for a lot of great hiking in the Beartooths. West Rosebud Lake is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon fishing, or just admiring the mountains. The lake is packed full of trout, and you can catch them all year round.

Wild Bill Lake

Wild Bill Lake is my favorite lake to take little kids to. With a great pathway that goes all the way around the lake and a

20 yard hike from parking lot to the water, it’s a fun place for the whole family. If you go to fish, don’t plan to keep anything. It’s stocked with brook trout and fished so heavily you will be lucky to get something bigger than 7 inches.

Greenough Lake

While Greenough Lake isn’t technically a drive-up spot, it is still on the list because it’s a short ¼ mile hike along a road from the parking lot to the shores. Since there is this “hike” it is a little less crowded that Wild Bill Lake, so you can get away a little better. Of course this isn’t true during the busy summer weekends; the campground will be packed. But hit it up during a weekday and you can enjoy some relative quiet.

Bighorn River

I can’t put together a list of the top 5 places without including the world famous Bighorn River.  Some of the biggest trout I have seen came out of this river, primarily due to the fact that the water is “warm” all year round. This allows the bugs to thrive and the fish to feed heavily regardless of the season. If you hit up the river, you will want waders and be prepared to walk quite a bit.

If You Go

It was actually a lot harder than I expected to put together a list of my top five favorite fishing holes than I thought it would be. I had to leave out areas like Rock Creek, the Stillwater River, and Newlan Creek Reservoir (which I should have put on the list, maybe it will be the top 6 places). Regardless, the fact is we have a lot of places to go and play within a couple of hours of Billings. If you have yet to experience some of these areas, fall is an excellent time to fish. They are active and hungry, so your odds of catching a few are even greater than before.

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