The watch is over! Yes, the annual fish watch by local anglers to hear when the now-famous Lake Superior whitefish are biting on Flathead Lake officially came to an end last Saturday.
Anglers knew that it was only a matter of time before these fun fighters started to move in and feed on the perch smolt.
I had to see for myself last weekend so on Sunday, my girlfriend Berny Croy along with my son Harry and Ryan Sharkey tried our luck in Big Arm Bay.
When we approached our fishing spot, just off the state boat ramp in 50 feet of water, Don and Nikki Peters from Lolo greeted us. The Peters were anchored in about 38 feet of water.
I asked Don how they had been doing. “We have been doing very well today and last night, about a hour before dark, the fish were just hammering the lures,” said Peters.
It was about 2 in the afternoon when we arrived, not the best time of the day to fish for whitefish. Normally, an early morning and early evening bite is best, but we were ready to try out luck.
Over the next four hours, we saw two wind changes, which made it difficult to keep anchored at our desired depth. The fishing was slower than we would have liked, but we managed to boat a half a dozen fish and had just as many on but couldn’t get them to the net.
Berny also caught a nice four-pound lake trout, which was the highlight in her day as it was her first.
We came away from our fishing with the thought that there would be some great days ahead on the water. Everyone on the boat was using a green Rattle-D-Zastor lure from Zimmer Tackle and we all a fly about 12 inches from the lure. We tipped everything with maggots.
With temperatures in the 90s and some days going over the century mark, I would recommend bringing along a lot of water so you don’t get dehydrated. Apply plenty of sunscreen and jump in the lake whenever you feel the urge. You won’t disturb the fishing and it will keep you feeling refreshed.
I think that Peters said it best when describing his fishing experience the previous couple of days, “I can’t think of a better place to be right now.”
To view a picture of Sharkey holding up some whitefish log onto www.montanaoutdoor.com.
Hot weather and a good walleye bite made for an interesting Montana Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament this year on Fort Peck Reservoir. A total of 70 teams fished the event last Friday and Saturday.
Mike Gibbs from Glendive and Reg Gibbs from Billings captured first place with two-day total of 66.72 pounds. They held off the second place team of Kevin Lynch of Huntley and Mike Bloch from Lovell, Wyo., who came in with 47.72 pounds the first day but managed just 10.85 pounds of walleyes day two.
The weight totals are the total weight of up to 5 walleyes each day for a total of up 10 walleyes.
Fort Peck kept its reputation intact for big walleyes, too! Day two saw the top four walleyes weigh in from 12.7 pounds to 13.69 pounds.