Western Montanans discover walleyes
By Hookemharry

Posted: June 19, 2003

Western Montana anglers are starting to discover walleye fishing. If you’d like to join that growing group, now is the time of the year to take action.

Late June and early July are prime time for walleyes in Montana. The fishing has been excellent for the most part and you don’t have to drive too long a way to fish for them.

Canyon Ferry Lake has turned for fishermen on the south end of the lake recently. Anglers are reporting catches of 3 to 50 fish for some boats. Remember Canyon Ferry Lake still has a daily limit of 20 fish per day, unlike most other Montana waters where 5 fish per day is the limit per angler.

Near the dikes on the south end of the lake is where most of the anglers are fishing. Some weekends, more than 200 boats have been on the water so if you don’t like crowds, then you might want to fish somewhere else.

But if you are a novice walleye angler, this might be the best place and time of the year to learn a few techniques on fishing walleye. Lisa at Silos RV has daily updates at 406-266-3100.

The Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival takes place June 28-29th. Call Doug Breker at 406-266-5279 if you would like to enter. Entry fee is $200 per team and the first place prize is $10,000.

Holter Lake is also producing some nice catches of walleyes. Just like all lakes, however, the bite can be good one morning then turn off for the next day and half. Don’t get frustrated ,just stick with it and plan on spending some time on the water. Call Paul at the Canyon Store for daily updates at 406-235-4111.

Tiber Dam just concluded its annual walleye tourney. Lucky and Lance Bethel from Great Falls caught just over 18 pounds of fish and the $5000 first place prize. The walleyes on Tiber run a little smaller, but you also have a chance to catch some bigger ones too!

You can use minnows for bait in Tiber and you can get them at the Oasis Bar in Shelby or you can get them in Chester at the Hi-Line Cleaners. Roberts Bait and Tackle also carries minnows in Great Falls. The Marina at Tiber, as of now, is still closed so be sure to bring bait and have enough gas for you boat. Leeches and nightcrawlers are also very popular with walleye anglers and can be bought at most sporting good stores.

Lake Frances is slow for walleyes right now, but the northern pike have been biting pretty well. One Stop Conoco at 406-279-3600 has daily updates. The water level at Lake Frances is full pool. So the campground boat ramp is usable.

Spring Mack Days concluded last weekend on Flathead Lake. A total of 200 anglers competed and caught 1,052 lake trout over 15 days. Doug White registered the most fish in the lottery with 126 and Dick Zimmer caught 86 lake trout.