Spring fishing for walleyes is always hit and miss. At least it has been for Wayne Knudson (Walleye Wayne) and me. So when Marvin and Connie Loomis asked us to book a couple of dates on Fort Peck Reservoir in May with them we weren’t overly optimistic.
In fact we viewed it as a trip that would officially mark our first spring walleye fishing without having to use our own boat. Instead all we had to do was load up our fishing tackle and head east.
Loomis owns Trophy Fishing and their company is based out of Brusett, which is about 35 miles northwest of Jordan. From there, they transport their clients 18 miles to Devils Creek, where you then take a boat to two house boats.
One house boat is 20×60 and houses the kitchen, large kitchen table, the Loomis bed room and a hot tub. The other is slightly smaller and has enough room to sleep six guests comfortably. These two house boats along with a boat holding 300 gallons of gas and 300 gallons of diesel fuel and another boat holding a 20,000 watt generator are tucked safely into a bay to protect it from Mother Nature.
This unique set-up on the water is the only one offered by any guides on Fort Peck Reservoir. Marvin Loomis who is as handy as he is a good fisherman basically designed the on the water camp and has been fine tuning it over the past 10 years, each year adding something that makes the experience a little more comfortable. His wife Connie handles the cleaning, cooking, and in camp organization. In itself quite a job when they have six guests on board. She serves three meals a day breakfast, dinner, and supper, each featuring fresh baked breads, rolls, pies in Montana size portions.
It is from this convenient on the water fishing camp where we take off each morning in an 18-foot Crestliner boat to a fishing hole or holes that Marvin knows well. All that fishing tackle that Walleye Wayne and I packed didn’t matter because Marvin has his own proven method.
And even though Wayne and I are experienced walleye anglers we soon found out that when in “Rome do as the Romans do“, in other words follow Marvin’s lead. His technique is simple. A chartreuse football jig with a mister twister light or green tail, the jig is also attached with a fiber-optic fishing system called headlights. These headlights light up resembling eyes on the jig and along with a minnow tipped on the jig seem to be the key to catching bigger and more fish in the often muddy-murky water in spring of Fort Peck Reservoir.
“The headlights are a Montana made product from a company out of Bozeman” says Loomis, “I have pulled into areas where other anglers have been marking fish and not catching them and had immediate results”.
Ever the skeptic, Walleye Wayne would leave Marvin’s jig set-up on one rod and fumble through his tackle box in search of another winning combination only to come back to “The Headlights”. I tried to use plastic to imitate the live minnow that we were using and didn’t have much luck either.
The first day we caught and released a nine pound walleye and a six and four pound sauger. “Each client we take out can keep and mount any size walleye they think is a trophy”, says Loomis. As a rule they throw back any walleye that is three pounds or over to protect the future fishing.
The first day ended with enough walleyes in the live well to eat the next night for supper and about 3 nice ones to take home and eat. Day two was a little slower fishing but the day saw us catch and release the largest walleye of the trip a 12-pounder. We caught a few smaller walleyes that we would take home with us along with some crappies, which at times we couldn’t keep off our hooks. We also saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep Rams on the shore.
Day-three on Friday we were scheduled to depart in the afternoon to make way for 6 new clients so we only had until 1pm to fish. It was all we needed to get enough fish to secure our possession limit to take home. We also caught and released a 7, 6, and 5 pound walleye. Needless to say it was a lot of fun and capped off a great three days of fishing.
If you want more information on Trophy Fishing call 406-557-2787. Marvin and Connie also have a web site that they update periodically throughout the summer at www.fortpeckfishing.com. If you want more information on Headlights call 406-586-0747 or log on to www.headlightlures.com.