Resting in the shadows of the rugged Tobacco Root and Highland Mountains, in the historic and lush Jefferson River valley, lies the Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch. The Jefferson Valley is a peaceful and vibrant rural community that lies but a figurative stone’s throw from the airports and social and cultural amenities of both Butte and Bozeman. It offers gorgeous scenery and miles of river and restored spring creek fishing, as well as productive pivot irrigated farmland. Wildlife includes extensive local and migratory waterfowl, excellent pheasant populations, and plenty of trophy whitetail deer providing spectator and hunter alike with hours of enjoyment. The well-balanced agricultural operation helps this outstanding recreational ranch sustain itself financially.
Just the Facts
- 15 minutes south of Whitehall and a 45 minute drive from commercial airports in Bozeman and Butte
- 714± deeded acres
- 2± miles of restored trophy spring creek fishery and .5± mile of spawning habitat
- .75± mile of Jefferson River frontage wih a private boat launch
- Two trout ponds with fish caught and taped at over 27 inches
- Four pivots with a mix of barley hay and grass alfalfa
- Small, balanced cattle operation
- New barn, calving facilities, corrals with two shops, and additional older barn
- Refurbished two bedroom, one bath ranch house and new, handcrafted one bedroom, one bath cabin with loft
- Habitat has been enhanced for wildlife
- Excellent for whitetail deer and pheasant hunting
- Tremendous waterfowl hunting on both the spring creek and ponds
Expansive fields of small grains and alfalfa hay under four pivots offer quality production as well as excellent food sources and habitat for the wildlife living on the Circle 9. Abundant water resources include approximately two miles of restored spring creek with about one-half mile of restored spawning habitat and nearly three-quarters of a mile of Jefferson River frontage with a private boat launch, two ponds, and variety of wetlands and waterfowl ponds. This healthy water system, combined with heavy cover and widespread food sources, creates the ideal habitat for the incredible wildlife found throughout the property. The spring creek has been fully restored into an outstanding fishery and dramatic increases in both adult and juvenile trout have been seen every year since the restoration project was completed. The current owner runs a small cattle operation that provides return and management for the ranch.
Production and habitat have been enhanced by implementing four pivot irrigation systems and engaging in ongoing restoration projects along the spring creek. The ranch is a haven for wildlife including pheasants, Huns, trout, deer, and waterfowl all offering opportunities for tremendous and varied hunting experiences. By fencing the entire spring creek corridor and irrigated crop ground, the wildlife and fishing habitat has expanded and improved considerably.
Abounding with wildlife, a world-class spring creek, and unbelievable sporting opportunities shared with working attributes make Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch a golden opportunity for a very fortunate owner. It is easily managed, remains lightly touched, and embodies a synergy of recreation, agriculture, and beauty.
Learn about the locale
Waterloo, MT is a friendly farming and ranching community located within a few miles of the Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch via county road. Named for a large ranch home that was used as a stagecoach stop, Whitehall, MT is approximately 12 miles north of the ranch and offers all amenities, as does Dillon, MT 40 miles to the south. Helena, MT, the state capital, is within 90 minutes and Bozeman is within an hour. Helena, Butte and Bozeman all offer commercial airline services within 1.5 hours of the ranch.
Twenty miles upstream of the Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch is the confluence of the Big Hole, Beaverhead, and Ruby rivers forming the Jefferson River near the town of Twin Bridges. Twin Bridges (pop. 400±) offers grades K-12 and is home to fine dining and family style restaurant experiences, small grocery, Winston Rod Co., custom-made hat shop, summer farmer’s market, the county fairgrounds, and the privately owned historic State Orphan’s Home.
Bozeman, home to Montana State University, is a vibrant university town (pop. 45,000± plus 16,000± students) and in recent years has received national accolades for its scenic location, limitless outdoor activities and historic downtown area. The cafes, restaurants, and boutiques have become favorite places for individuals who love the fishing, hunting, skiing, mountain biking and hiking available in the surrounding area. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport serves Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier and United Airlines.
Dillon, MT, the Beaverhead County seat, is a classic western town and home to U of M Western. The Montana Handbook describes Dillon as “Filled with historic architecture but kept young by the presence of students at Western Montana College, blessed with fine restaurants, and faithful to the old bars that—then, as now—have consoled cowboys, sheepherders, and miners, Dillon is one of Montana’s most bewitching cities.” It is also the gateway to the famous Beaverhead River. Bannack State Park is a quick trip away, as is the famous Big Hole Valley with fly fishing opportunities and the Clark Canyon Reservoir.
Helena, MT was founded during the late 1800’s during the gold rush in Last Chance Gulch. Now serving as the state capital, Helena is home to Carroll College and offers small-town western flavor in a big Montana way. Canyon Ferry Lake, located between the ranch and Helena, is a recreational mecca providing a place for summer and winter activities. Helena Regional Airport services include Alaska, Delta and United Airlines.
Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch is in an area with annual average rainfall estimated in the 13 to 15-inch range. The ranch elevation is 4,400± feet.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded Acres: 714±
Total Acres: 714±
Built in 2005, a comfortably-appointed one bedroom home with loft cabin overlooks the fish pond. With grand views of both the Tobacco Root and Highland Mountains, this idyllic setting affords one with complete pride of ownership. The 1940’s era two bedroom one bath ranch house has been renovated with new roofing, flooring, windows, water treatment, appliances, and more to bring it up to today’s standards. Working improvements consist of a newly constructed barn and calving facilities, eleven separate pens and two holding lots. Additional outbuildings include a new machine shed/shop, storage shed, two grain bins, and an older refurbished barn.
Copies of the water rights are available upon request. All water rights are subject to an ongoing statewide adjudication process by the Montana Department of Natural Resources.
Learn about the recreational amenities
Traveling at times swiftly and then slowing as if to enjoy its own puzzling behavior, the restored 2± miles of Scotch Spring Creek has trout exceeding 25 inches pushing through its depths and feeding off its fertile waters. One may spend their entire life searching for the private and challenging experience that only a spring creek such as this can offer. The angler becomes the hunter as he stalks the sipping giant residents seeking refuge in the cool spring creek. Armed with 11’ leaders and size 22 patterns, the hunter has to make a perfect presentation. Only when cast placement is perfect and the drift is true will the lunker test his fate and reward the angler. It is this experience that every die-hard angler desires that makes Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch such a rewarding opportunity.
Circle 9 has a private boat launch located on its .75± miles of Jefferson River frontage offering not only good opportunity for sizeable browns and rainbows, but also solitude from the flotilla of fishermen found on some of the area’s other rivers. The Jefferson River has both rainbow and brown trout with average fish sizes ranging between 12 to 15 inches with many fish over 20 inches. Additionally, during the fall significantly larger brown trout are common, as are large rainbows in the spring. These fish move into the Jefferson and its tributaries, including the spring creek on the ranch, to spawn and many take up permanent residence. With the recent attention and focus of Trout Unlimited, the quality of the Jefferson River continues to advance. Several projects, including one completed on the ranch, have been overseen by Trout Unlimited. These projects, combined with the excellent stewardship of the Seller and other landowners in the valley, continue to brighten the future of this spectacular river.
There are two fishing ponds located on the property with tremendous populations of both rainbow and brown trout.
In an idyllic location, the ranch lies just 20 minutes from the town of Twin Bridges where the Jefferson River is formed by the confluence of the Ruby, Beaverhead, and Big Hole Rivers, all of which are world famous trout fisheries. Additionally, the Madison River is an hour away to the east. The famous Holter Dam tailwaters stretch of the Missouri River is an easy 2 hours away and the Yellowstone is 1.5 hours to the east.
Within a four-mile drive from the ranch is the Mill Creek Canyon forest service access to the magnificent Tobacco Root Mountains. The Dry Boulder Lakes forest service access is less than 20 miles from the ranch offering access to high alpine lakes brimming with wild cutthroat trout
The Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch offers a well-balanced and diverse hunting experience. A healthy riparian bottom, together with willow and buffalo berry thickets, provide tremendous habitat and cover. A variety of different crops under pivot throughout the entire property further enhance the wildlife numbers. These are all key ingredients for attracting and sustaining wildlife populations. This area supports abundant populations of whitetail deer, pheasant, upland birds, waterfowl, and sand hill cranes. With careful thought and rest and restoration, the ranch has become a true demonstration of complete trophy management. With trophy class whitetail, vast flights of waterfowl and strong populations of pheasants, the Circle 9 Spring Creek Ranch affords the owner a prestigious and absolute hunting experience.
Learn about the general operations
There are four pivots on the ranch rotating from barley hay to grass alfalfa mix. The grass alfalfa mix yields four-and-a-half to five tons annually in two cuttings. The ranch has historically been used as a wintering place for cattle for five to six months each year beginning in December or January.