Paddlefish fishing in Montana is a test of patience.
The American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is one of the more unique and obscure fish species of North America. Many anglers have never even heard of them before. Much like the bowfin or alligator gar, they are a rather primitive-looking fish that first appeared on our planet when dinosaurs were still alive.
One of the reasons many anglers are unaware of them is because they cannot be caught using traditional fishing methods. American paddlefish are filter feeders that only eat plankton.
This means the only way to catch them is to snag them using large treble hooks and tackle that typically would never see use in a state like Montana. This video highlights the unusual nature, but fun time one can have on a paddlefish trip.
Make no mistake, it looks like a tiring way to fish. Those are some big rods and reels to be working all day like that. Targeting this species requires a good deal of patience. The reward when you finally hook into one makes it a very satisfying fish to catch. In some states it is also legal to target this species with bowfishing gear.
This is one of the few species that you can legally target using snagging. Most states have extremely short seasons, and they are heavily regulated because paddlefish populations are of some concern to authorities. Mostly because the species matures slowly, and many do not spawn every year. That is why fish and wildlife officials collect so much data on them from anglers.
As unusual as this fishing method is, that looked like a fun time camping on the river with friends. Those paddlefish are chunky things too. A good way to fill up your freezer with some caviar and meat in a hurry. Most people compare the taste of this fish as being close to that of catfish.