The big news in fishing circles this week is the salmon fly hatch on Rock Creek.
A quick reconnaissance drive up The Creek on Sunday revealed that the hatch is no secret. There were vehicles parked at every wide spot in the road, with license plates representing a good portion of the United States, and fly-casters pounding big, hairy salmon fly imitations into every pocket of the stream.
Doug Persico, owner of the Rock Creek Mercantile fly shop, says the hatch had progressed about 10 miles upstream from the mouth on Tuesday.
The Clark Fork River above Missoula, between Rock Creek and Turah, also has salmon flies out and about and producing some good fly-fishing, mostly for floaters.
The Bitterroot River is dropping dramatically and should be fishing well by the weekend, according to The Missoulian Angler fly shop Web site at www.missoulianangler.com.
The lower Clark Fork is still running high and murky, according to the Grizzly Hackle fly shop Web site at www.grizzlyhackle.com.
The Blackfoot River is also swollen and tough to fish right now, according to The Kingfisher fly shop Web site at www.kingfisherflyshop.com.
Here are some other angling opportunities in western Montana:
Missouri River - Dry-fly action is still spotty in the evenings and mid-day, according to The Kingfisher. For most of the day, however, the nymphing and streamer fishing more than makes up for what the dry-fly fishing is lacking.
Lake Mary Ronan - Fishing for kokanee salmon has been fair, reports Pete Jellar at Snappy Sport Senter in Kalispell. Anglers have been catching salmon by jigging and trolling flies.
Georgetown Lake - Casting Philipsburg fly-tier Bob Harris's "green nymphs" on a sink-tip line was productive for the author of this fishing report last weekend. Brother-in-law Tim and I had steady action on rainbows from about a foot long to over 20 inches. Other folks were doing just as well casting or trolling Panther Martins and Rooster Tail lures.
Clearwater River in Idaho - Salmon fishing has been outstanding, according to Stephanie Sweener at the Clearwater Drifters in Orofino. "Yesterday was one of the best days of the season," Sweener said Tuesday. "We had three boats limit out (four salmon apiece for two anglers) and all the other boats had near limits." Salmon are hitting eggs bounced along the bottom or Kwikfish and Flatfish lures with sardines tied on the back, and herring harness rigs. The chinook salmon are averaging 16 pounds, and running up to 22 or 23 pounds. The salmon are running as far upstream as Clear Creek and Kamiah.
Flathead Lake - Jellar and other anglers have been catching some nice mackinaws by fishing just inside the "mud line" from the Flathead River inlet at the north end of the lake, from the mouth of the river to about two miles out. Jigging and trolling has been effective, Jellar said. One fisherman boated a 25-pound lake trout last weekend, he said.
Thompson chain of lakes - Middle Thompson has been fishing fairly well for kokanee, according to Jellar. While bass and pike fishing has been OK at all three Thompsons. Bass fishing is catch-and-release until July 1.
Koocanusa, Ashley and Bitterroot lakes - All three have been producing good catches of kokanee for trollers and jiggers, said Jellar.
Flathead Valley small creeks - Brook trout are biting at the area streams, which are running low and clear now, reports Jellar.
Foys Lake - Fly-casters using nymphs and trollers using small lures are hooking some nice-sized rainbows and kokanee, said Jellar.
Seeley and Salmon lakes - Pike fishing has slowed down as the pike sulk on their spawning beds, according to Joe Bender at High Basin Sports in Seeley Lake. A few pike have been caught on big spoons, he said. But the fishing should improve in a couple of weeks as the spawn ends and water warms. Spearing pike has been effective for a few folks brave enough to get into the cold water, Bender said.
Seeley and Alva lakes - Trollers are taking good catches of kokanee salmon lately, according to Bender. The salmon are hitting Wedding Rings trolled behind cow bells and five or six colors of leaded line during the day. In the evening, anglers are fishing closer to the surface.
Alva, Rainy lakes - Fly-fishing for cutthroats has been good for fly-casters using nymphs, said Bender.
Harpers Lake - Patient bait-fishers are hauling in some big rainbow brood stock on nightcrawlers and Power Bait on the bottom from the shore, Bender said.
Upsata Lake - Catch-and-release bass fishing has been very good, and perch fishing has been fair, according to Bender.
Reporter Daryl Gadbow can be reached at 523-5264 or at email@example.com.