June is a great month to go fishing. Whether you are taking advantage of the famous salmon fly hatch on Rock Creek, east of Missoula, wading a small creek, or spending time on your favorite lake, it is just a great time to fish.
Yes, fishing is generally better during June than in almost any month and, with school getting out, it is also a great opportunity to take a kid fishing.
Fishing derbies are another way Montana anglers spend their time on the water enjoying the sport this month.
No matter what your angling pleasure, you have your choice of a few fishing tournaments to participate in this month.
The Mister Pike Classic will be held June 10 and 11 on Salmon and Seeley lakes. The entry fee is only $25 and includes the big fish pot. Plus, each contestant will receive a limited edition Mister Pike T-shirt and a beverage of your choice.
Anglers can pick up registration forms at one of the local sporting good stores. Or you can go online and register with www.misterpike.com. Organizers will also take registrations at the Filling Station Restaurant in Seeley Lake from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 9.
If the warm weather holds and a high-pressure system stays in the area for a few days leading up to and through the derby, northern pike fishing should be excellent.
If walleye fishing is your choice, then enter the Tiber Walleye Tournament to be held this weekend on Tiber Dam June 10 and 11. This is a fun tournament and fishing this time of the year on Tiber Dam is very enjoyable.
The weather is usually fairly good and the fishing starts to turn on making June one of the best months to fish for walleye on the lake I like to call a mini-Fort Peck.
Tiber is located just 80 miles north of Great Falls and is just about 25 miles east of Lake Frances. There are plenty of places to camp and the marina is also open seven days a week and has gas and bait along with selected food items. Call 759-7100 if you need more information on Tiber Dam and the upcoming walleye derby.
Other tournaments this month include the Montana Pike Masters Fort Peck Tournament to be held on June 24-25 out of the Rock Creek Marina on the Big Dry Arm. For more information and an entry form, go to www.pikemasters.com.
The Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival will be held on June 24-25, but the field is already full for that one.
Wayne Knudson (Walleye Wayne) and I just went fishing for the first time on Bitterroot Lake. The lake is located west of Kalispell on Highway 2 about 20 miles and is just north of Marion.
Bitterroot Lake is known for salmon fishing. It also has Kamloops trout in it but according to locals, it takes about 50 hours of fishing on average to hook one.
The kokanee salmon fishing is another story. A couple of years ago, anglers were catching salmon in the 2 to 3 pound class. Each year since they seem to have gotten smaller.
There were several anglers fishing on the lake the day we were there. Most of the salmon that we saw caught were in the 8-to-10-inch class. Occasionally anglers would hook up to a larger salmon but it was the exception not the norm.
We only boated 7 small salmon but lost at least twice that many after the hook-up. Most of the salmon that we caught were by trolling a flasher and a wedding ring tipped with a maggot. Jigging is also a great way to get on top of a school of fish.
It seemed to us anyway that the chances of catching a larger fish were better jigging.
Bring along some Zoom cereal or corn to help keep the fish under your anchored boat. A Z-Ray and a glow hook about four inches from the Z-ray tipped with a maggot seem to be the choice of local anglers.
This natural lakes water level fluctuates and sometimes during the year it might be tough to launch a larger boat.
If you are an ice fisherman then this lake should be good for at least one trip. The local sporting good stores like Snappys and Sportsman’s Skihaus in Kalispell will have current lake and fishing conditions.