Spring is in the air for fishermen
By Hookemharry

Posted: April 17, 2003

Spring weather has started to get things moving and growing across Montana.

Trout are starting to cruise the shorelines on lakes and the recent moisture that the Western Montana area has received has started to green things up on the lake shores.

On the streams, spring spawning trout like rainbows and cutthroats are brightly colored and are making annual spawning runs toward the gravels where they’ll deposit eggs to start the next generation of fish.

As of Monday, the precipitation year to date was exactly two inches above normal according to The Missoulian weather page. That’s good news for our lake and stream fisheries.

On the hunting front, spring turkey season opened last Saturday and many turkey hunters had success. The spring bear season officially opened in much of the state on Tuesday. The big game applications for the fall seasons are out to license agents with the first deadline for moose, bighorn sheeps and mountain goats on May 1. Stop by your local sporting store and get you application.

Back to fishing.

Gerald Steinbrenner of Missoula to a break from practicing law and headed for Browns Lake over the weekend. Steinbrenner reported the fishing to be great from shore. “We caught about 10 fish in about 3 hours ranging from 3-8 pounds,” he said.

I mentioned last week that Bob Culp, from Frenchtown, fished Holter Lake last week and did very well on trout. He also caught a couple of nice kokanee salmon in process. “We were fishing with Rapalas and having good success with them on trout when we caught a couple of nice three-pound salmon,” said Culp. They were fishing quite a ways from their camp when they caught the salmon so they didn’t go back and get salmon fishing gear to see if they might catch some more.

I tried to get the exact location from Culp on where he caught the salmon, but he would only say that it was somewhere between Split Rock and Oxbow Bend. It would be good news to hear anglers catching more salmon on Holter Lake and Hauser Lake this year. Salmon fishing has tailed off there in recent years.

Culp and friends weren’t the only anglers catching their share of trout on Holter recently. I was e-mailed a picture from Glenn Siroky, from Roy. In the picture, it showed his dad Frank and himself holding up some nice rainbows they had just caught over the weekend.

Canyon Ferry Lake is also producing some good trout fishing, according to Lisa at the Silos RV Park. Walleye fishing on all three lakes north of Helena has been poor.

The perch bite still has not materialized on Flathead Lake, at least as of earlier this week. Dick Zimmer says that the water surface temperature needs to be 55 degrees or higher for the best results. The cooler air temperatures have slowed down the warming of the water. Plus, the lake water level is higher this year than it normally is so it will take a little longer than usual for water to warm up.

The lake trout fishing continues to be hot on Flathead Lake, with anglers doing the best at Rocky Point. Zimmer recommends using an all-glow #05 green chartreuse and glow lead-a-gator below it. The fish have been holding at depths of 180-215 feet.

If you want to fish a smaller lake, try Crow Reservoir. Crow has a smorgasbord of fish species and many of then have begun to be active. A single angler has caught smallmouth bass, northern pike, rainbow and brown trout all in one day, according to Zimmer. Trolling or casting the shore the shoreline have both proven to be effective.

Local river fishing has been good by boat on the Bitterroot River. Many local guides have been doing well with their clients.

There are plenty of places to go and plenty of hunting and fishing to do. Have a Happy Easter!