The warmer weather that Montana has experienced lately finally took the lake fishing up a notch. That, plus the opening of general fishing season, finally got some positive reports out of anglers.
The best report outside of Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake was from the opening weekend on Lake Mary Ronan.
"It was by far the best opening weekend we have had on Lake Mary Ronan for a few years," said Mark Thomas of Camp Tuffit. "The fishing was great both days with many anglers bringing in their limit of salmon."
Anglers were fishing three to four holes on the lake 22 to 29 feet deep, using No. 3 orange fluorescent glow hooks tipped with a maggot and corn.
"Just let it drop to the bottom and crank it up three cranks," Thomas said.
The foreman of Camp Tuffit went out Monday morning and caught his limit in 45 minutes. Another angler who does well on Lake Mary Ronan, Jens Gran, also caught
his limit of salmon Monday, but he had to move to a few spots before he found the fish. Gran was using a red needlefish and red glow hook tipped with white corn and maggot.
The walleye fishing is starting to pick up a little over on the lakes north of Helena. Holter Lake, where the trout are still biting, saw the walleye anglers come into shore with some positive news.
"The warm weather over the weekend seemed to get the walleyes biting," reported Paul from the Canyon Store at Wolf Creek. "A couple of anglers were able to catch two nice walleyes in the slot at 21 and 22 inches but they fished all over the lake."
The fishing below Holter Dam also saw some success. "Guys were using No. 7 and No. 9 rapalas in rainbow and brown trout pattern and having success casting from shore letting it lay then retrieving it," Paul said.
He also mentioned that he heard the caddis hatch was starting downriver on the Missouri and should be up by the Wolf Creek area by Memorial Day weekend. In the meantime, beadheads are working well for anglers on the river.
At Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Jen at Silos RV said the surface water temperature was reaching near 60 degrees on the south end of the lake. "Over the weekend we had nearly 100 boats a day because of the nice weather fishing for walleye," she said.
The bite isn't quite on yet, but a few anglers were bringing in some walleye with Pond 1 producing the best results.
Browns Lake is still producing some nice trout. "We fished Saturday afternoon and caught four trout with the biggest being 25 1/2 inches and weighing 7 pounds," reported my son, Harry Ward. You can view a picture of that beautiful trout caught by Cody Janes on www.
Mark Ward's statewide Montana Outdoor Radio Show airs Saturdays from 6 to 8 a.m. in Missoula on KGVO 1290 AM. E-mail Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.