Labor Day weekend time to hit the waters
By Hookemharry

Posted: August 28, 2008

Labor Day weekend is a great time to be outdoors. For some of us, it is the last weekend that we have to spend time with the family fishing and camping before fall sport activities start to take over our lives.

The last holiday weekend of the summer normally brings some nice daytime and cooler nighttime temperatures.

The fishing should be good whether you are a fly fisherman or a boat angler. Locally the streams are fishing well as we head into the weekend.

Hoppers are still the main attraction. There seems to be bumper crop of hoppers all over Western Montana. All indications are that the hoppers will continue to be the primary “hatch” well into September.

Hoppers, however, aren’t the only hatch that dry fly anglers can imitate to catch fish. “There is always caddies flies out on our local streams,” said Doug Persico from Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile. “The size and the color of the bugs can change overnight but a tan or brown size 14 or 16 Elk Hair Caddis is a pretty good bet anytime in the late summer or early fall.”

The really good news is the premier fall hatch has started. Blue Wing Olives are hatching and can be counted on in the afternoon whenever there is a little cloud cover.

“Like most mayflies, they simply hatch better on cloudy even rainy days,” says Persico. For the most part you can go on almost any area river and have success by using these flies this weekend.

Last weekend the whitefish jig fest took place on Flathead Lake and the results kind of married the way the whitefish bite has gone this summer.

“Friday, the anglers really got beat up by the waves,” said Gene Fincher, the derby organizer. “They had to battle three foot rollers most of the day on the north end.” Saturday however turned out better with calmer winds so the 144 anglers entered in the tournament could stay anchored easier.

“Just about all the fish that made it on the board were caught Saturday,” said Fincher.

The derby paid 10 places with the largest fish weighing in at 6.27 pounds. It was caught by Wade O’Lexey of Kalispell. Second Place went to John Duncan of Somers with a 6.03 pound whitefish and Stacey Ross from Kalispell took third with a 5.33 pound whitefish.

“Most of the fish were caught at Woods Bay, the River Delta, and even some around Angels Point”, said Fincher.

Next week kicks off the fall banquet season. The Five Valley’s Pheasant Forever Banquet will take place in Missoula at the Hilton Garden Inn on Thursday September 4. The Crowing Hour is at 5pm with dinner served at 7pm. Contact Jon Lee for tickets and sponsor information at 721-9919.

Monster bull elk from six states are being featured in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2008 Great Elk Tour. “This is the first-ever tour for these particular bulls and spectators are in for an awesome experience,” said David Allen President and CEO of the Elk Foundation. You can see the display this Friday and Saturday at Bob Wards in Missoula.