Bighorn Lake in Wyoming & Montana

Boat fishing at Horseshoe Bend.
A fishing boat at Horseshoe Bend in the Lovell, WY District.


Whether you choose to fish from a boat or from the shoreline, Bighorn Lake provides abundant opportunities to catch numerous species of fish while being surrounded by some of the most beautiful outdoor scenery in the northwest United States. The information given below will give you a good idea of the opportunities for fishing either from the shoreline or a boat.

For general fishing information including rules and regulations see the fishing page.


Things to Remember

Remember when in the canyon portion stay with your boat if you have engine trouble; do not try to climb the canyon walls to get help. Most of the shore line in the southern portion of the lake is suitable for beaching your boat if needed.

Some fishermen like to use an anchor or windsock to keep the boat in position when fishing the south portion of Bighorn Lake. Small boats or jet boats work well south of the causeway in the shallow water and the river channel. These can be launched from the Kane, South Causeway and ML ramps except during the ice period.

Horseshoe Bend Fishing Dock

At Horseshoe Bend beach is a large floating fishing dock that has pole holders, benches and a handicap ramp. This is a great place to fish for all the species of fish in the lake. One can drive right up to the walkway in your vehicle for easy access. The catching is usually good from this dock!

Pond Fishing

The Yellowtail Unit has ponds for fishing too. Pond 5 and Cemetery pond provide shore and small boat or canoe fishing. You can catch large mouth bass and trout in Pond 5. Cemetery pond provides bullhead, crayfish and cat fishing.

Fishing For Carp

The large carp population in Bighorn Lake and the other ponds provides a great opportunity for bow and fly fishing. This can be done by wadding in the shallows or with a push boat setup. Carp are a supreme fly-rod challenge equal to or excelling trout or bone fish according to many fly fishing magazines. Each year many carp fly fishing tournaments are held with the number of fishermen competing increasing!

Game Fish To Be Caught

  • Lake Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Channel Cat
  • Ling
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Yellow Perch
  • Walleye
  • Sauger
  • Bullhead
  • Shovelnose Sturgeon

Learn more about the types of fish located within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation area.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing at Bighorn Lake is an over 40 year winter tradition for many families in Wyoming and Montana. You will find groups all over the South District, from Crooked Creek Bay to Horseshoe Bend, all the way down to the east shore areas off the John Blue Canyon road. Learn more about ice fishing.

Last updated: February 23, 2020

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area South District Visitor Center
20 US Hwy 14A

Lovell, WY 82431


307 548-5406
(307) 548-5406 is the South District in Lovell, WY. (406) 666-9961 is the North District in Fort Smith, MT.

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