Montana Fishing Update

It probably goes without saying that fishing the larger area rivers right now would be less than productive.

There's one exception: "We're the only game in town," said Doug Persico, owner of the Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile.

Rock Creek, says Persico, is fishable. "It's not pleasant," he said. "But it's fishable."

Flows on Rock Creek Tuesday were at 2,190 cubic feet per second, down from 2,900 cfs only 24 hours earlier, according to Persico.

He recommends hammering the banks with big, weighty, bitch creek nymphs.

"There are bugs (salmonflies) out on the lower six or seven miles," Persico said. "But the fish aren't tuned in to them yet. Unless we get a lot of rain or really hot weather, we're going to start seeing some boats up here in the next week. The outfitters are going to call up their clients and tell 'em to get out here."

Anglers might be better off turning their attention to the area lakes, many of which are fishing very well. Here's a rundown of possibilities:

n Georgetown Lake: Fishing cooled off along with the weather last weekend, according to Chris Dupuis of Bob Ward and Sons in Butte. "But it was pretty active when the sun came out," he said. Fly-fishers are tying into some hefty rainbows using egg-sucking leeches, other leech patterns or woolly buggers. Dry-fly folks were having pretty good success with a may-fly emerger pattern, such as a light Cahill emerger, Dupuis said. Worms and marshmallows have been the ticket for bait-tossers. Dupuis watched one angler catch a 6-pound rainbow last week.

"Most of the bigger fish are running 2 1/2 to 5 pounds," he said. "They're catching more big fish right now."

n Flathead Lake: Perch fishing in East Bay has continued to be good for the past two weeks, according to Rob Shrider at Ronan Sports and Western. "They're getting some nice-sized ones, too," he said. "That's going to taper off shortly. But (anglers) are still working the spawn. Lake trout are another drawing card for Flathead right now, Shrider said. "They're coming in closer to shore. People are trolling at about 45 feet or shallower, and they're starting to pick up some fish. The north end of the lake is muddied up pretty good, so the south end of the lake is a little better."

n Ninepipe and Kicking Horse: Bass fishing at the two reservoirs, which has been outstanding this spring, is still pretty good, Shrider said. "But it's kind of scary. There's not a whole lot of water in either reservoir."

n Lower Flathead River: Below Kerr Dam the river flows are high and northern pike are holding close to shore in backwaters and sloughs, creating some good angling opportunities, Shrider said.

n Crow Reservoir: Trolling has produced some good catches of rainbows and cutthroats in this Mission Valley reservoir, Shrider said. Fighting Fish and Phoebes are two hot lures, he said. The trout are running 12 to 14 inches.

n Seeley Lake: Pike aficionados are landing quite a few nice pike in the 7- to 15-pound range, said Joe Bender at High Basin Sports in Seeley Lake. The entire lake shore harbors pike, he said, but the river outlet is probably the best place to fish. Smelt is the preferred bait during the high water.

n Alva, Clearwater, Rainy: These lakes in the Seeley chain were fishing very well a couple of weeks ago, before the hot weather muddied them up with runnoff, said Bender.

n Canyon Ferry: Trout fishing has been good, either using marabou jigs along the shore, or trolling Rapala lures, according to Keith Goble of Bob Ward and Sons in Helena. Rainbow, perch and silver colors are top choices in Rapalas, he said. Walleye fishing has slowed after the spawn, Goble said. "They're not very active right now. They're scattered and hard to find."

n Hauser, Holter: Salmon fishing has been picking up at Hauser Reservoir, Goble said. "I think somebody caught a state record there two weeks ago. It was six pounds. Trolling hammered brass cow bells, trailing Wedding Ring lures in a variety of colors has been the top fishing method. The big kokanee are running 25 to 35 feet dee

p, said Goble. Holter has been producing "lots of trout" and a "very few walleyes," he said. The same lures and techniques that produce at Canyon Ferry also work here.

n Missouri River: The tailwater below Holter Dam is fishing fairly well now, with a flow of 7,100 cfs on Tuesday, according to Gary Stocker of Montana Fly Goods in Helena. "You'll want to stay above the Dearborn," Stocker said. "It's pumping a lot of mud into the river." A blue-winged olive hatch is providing some dry-fly action, he said, along with a sparse caddis hatch. Fly-casters have had more success with nymphs, however, using silver lightning bugs and bead-head pheasant tails.

n Ashley Lake: Salmon fishing has been hot at this Kalispell-area lake, according to Jerry DeVinney at Snappy Sport Senter. Trolling and jigging have both been effective, he said.

n Lake Mary Ronan: Salmon fishing has been good, DeVinney said. Trolling local favorite red or black flies, or jigging, will draw strikes, he said.

Thursday - 6/3/99

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