If you’re a summer fisherman, this is usually the time of year when all you can do is get your gear in shape. But being an eternal optimist, I set out on the phone earlier this week to get some information so you can, in fact, quit wishing and go fishing.
How about turning your fishing thoughts westward toward Idaho and thing of some prime steelhead?
At Orofino, Idaho, Stu Kestner from Riverside Sports (208-476-5418) told me that the area has received a lot of moisture over the past week just as we have in Western Montana.
Because of the snow and rain, the Clearwater River turned muddy Monday. Kestner did not look for the river to clear anytime soon and recommended that you call before heading down.
“If they want to try the North Fork of the Clearwater River, they might have some luck”, added Kestner, when the main river blows out it will sometimes push steelhead into the North Fork.”
A slip bobber and a jig seems to still be the anglers’ choice for the steelhead. A bucktail and maribou jig tipped with shrimp was also working well before the river turned muddy.
Kestner added that where he lives, about seven miles out of Orofino at about 2,700 feet of elevation, they received about 18 inches of snow during the last week. Temperatures are forecast to be in the 60’s by the end of the week.
Dick Zimmer (406-675-0068) says that Flathead lake should be good by Gravel Bay and Rocky Point. Anglers fishing from boats should find the lake trout in 20-100 feet of water.
Zimmer also told me that anglers have been doing well on the lakers on the north end of the lake by the river delta. “The ones that have been doing the best have been fishing the mud line in 20-50 feet of water,” said Zimmer. “Both trollers and jiggers have been catching some lake trout with the jiggers doing the best.”
The boat ramp in Yellow Bay is always accessible and the ramp at Blue Bay might or might not depending on how much water has been released and how much the lake has been lowered.
Lake Mary Ronan has been slow for perch,according to Jay Redbelly from Mountain Meadows on the lake. With the warmer temperatures later this week and high pressure coming in, things might pick up. The ice is still good and should be ice-fishable for a least the next couple of weeks.
Lisa, at Silos RV (406-266-3100) on the south end of Canyon Ferry Lake, reports anglers are catching a lot of small perch but every once in a while someone will hook on to a pound-and-a-half perch. Anglers are also catching a ling every once in a while and one angler weighed in a five-pound ling at the store last week.
The ling and perch are being caught in about 20-40 feet of water. Trout fishing has slowed from its fast pace from a couple of weeks ago on Canyon Ferry. “The ice is about 14-18 inches, but with the warmer weather, we are advising anglers to stay half mile from the east-side,” says Lisa, “In fact, we just tell them to stay on the west-side. That’s where we have found the most consistent ice”.
Neil Jannusch, from Neil’s One Stop in Valier (406-279-3600), reports the fishing for perch on Lake Frances has been the best it has been in a long time.
“The ice is good and anglers have been catching a few nice perch, too,” according to Jannusch. The northern pike fishing has also been better than average, but the walleye fishing has been slow on the lake, which sits just south of town.