Lost Lake in Glacier National Park

Fishing Lost Lake in Montana

Lost Lake is a relatively small mountain lake located near the much larger and better known Saint Mary Lake in Montana. Despite the name, Lost Lake is in fact very easy to find. It is just off of the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. This Lost Lake is not to be confused with the lake of the same name near Red Lodge, Montana.

Surrounded by natural beauty and large waterways, Lost Lake gets very little attention from anglers. Or anyone else for that matter. It is quite possible and even common to have this lake all to yourself when fishing for the many trout in Lost Lake.

Fish species in Lost Lake

Brook trout are the only species of fish anglers will encounter in Lost Lake. Of course brook trout are not native to Montana, and trout are not stocked in Glacier Park. So these brook trout are the descendants of fish stocked many years ago.

The brook trout share Lost Lake with the rare Rocky Mountain capshell limpet. Lost Lake is thought to be the only body of water in the United States where this small snail species can be found in abundance.

brook trout in lost lakeAn average Lost Lake brook trout

Brook trout are also abundant in Lost Lake. The don’t get very large however. An average Lost Lake brook trout is between five and nine inches. They are around the same size as brook trout found in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and throughout most of the Appalachians.

Although the introduced brook trout in Lost Lake tend to stay on the small side, they are eager and aggressive. So Lost Lake is not a bad place to fish by any means. And although the lake has a very convenient and easy to reach location on the side of a well traveled road, it does not get a lot of angling pressure.

Fishing in Lost Lake

The brook trout in Lost Lake might not stand out to the casual observer. But the fish are there in good numbers. They are also aggressive feeders that take advantage of the limit opportunities they have to gobble up prey. When the water is open the brook trout in Lost Lake are usually pretty easy to catch.

Lost Lake in MontanaThe view from Lost Lake

Spinners and spoons are probably the most effective lures for spin fishing in Lost Lake. With these lures you can cover the entire water in a relatively short amount of time. Just make sure you don’t go too big on the lures or hooks. Spinners like Special Spins from Thomas Lures and Joe’s Flies Short Strikers with gold blades work well. So do small 1/16 ounce Little Cleo spoons in Yellow Rod Diamond color. Use a clear, light line in the 2-4 pound test range and vary the speed of your retrieve until you find out what works.

When it comes to fly fishing, streamers and midges work best. On many days, the classic Mickey Finn pattern in size 10 is all you need to catch a lot of trout in Lost Lake. Retrieve with a stop and go strip. Or you can slow things down and fish a midge pattern like a size 16 Zebra Midge with a hand twist retrieve. Of course fishing a size 10 Yellow Woolly Worm will often work just as well.

Lost Lake Fishing Regulations

To protect the aforementioned Rocky Mountain capshell limpet, water entry is prohibited in Lost Lake. That means things like wading or swimming are not allowed. This is not much of an impediment on fishing however. It is quite possible to fish the entire lake from the shore. Entering the water would only spook the fish anyway.

Otherwise, Lost Lake falls under the general fishing regulations that apply to Glacier National Park as a whole. That means Lost Lake is open to fishing all year. Fishing must be done with artificial lures or flies. The use of any kind of lead is prohibited. So are felt soled waders. There’s no limit on brook trout as they are non-native fish.

To the best of my knowledge, this is accurate as of the time of writing. Of course regulations are subject to change at any time. For current regulations be sure to check the Glacier National Park website.

Lost Lake fishing at a glance

Fish species present: Brook trout
Closest tackle shops: St Mary Grocery
Recommend line: 2-4 lb monofilament / 3-5x leader
Recommended lures: Special Spin, Joe's Flies Short Strikers, Little Cleo spoons
Recommended flies: Mickey Finn, woolly worm, zebra midge
Nearby hotels: Super 8 Cut Bank

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