The Memorial Day weekend is finally here. With the unseasonably cool weather we were having up until last weekend, it actually seems that the first holiday weekend of the summer kind of snuck up on us.
Nevertheless, it is here and most folks that I have talked to are ready to get out and do some fishing. The spring run-off has made fishing the area rivers a little tougher but there is plenty of lake fishing to be done.
The best bet, in my opinion, has to be the lakes over at Helena for trout fishing. All three reservoirs, Holter, Hauser and Canyon Ferry, have been excellent for trout fishing. Boat anglers are trolling a J5 or J7 black/silver rapala, orange/white rapala, or brook or rainbow trout rapala and having good success. It doesn’t seem to make any difference if the rapala is a countdown or jointed.
Depending on the cloud cover, long lining just below the surface at about 5 feet or putting it down 16 to 20 feet with leaded line is what most anglers recommend.
Walleye fishing has been slow on all the lakes but will start to pick up as the daytime temperatures start to stay warmer. There have been reports of anglers catching walleyes of the south end of Canyon Ferry but they have been small.
With the spring run-off in full gear look for the water level to rise on Canyon Ferry and the south end of the lake to be muddy.
Salmon fishing was slow on Lake Mary Ronan last weekend but should start picking up by this weekend. I fished Bitterroot Lake west of Kalispell for kokanee last weekend and it was slow for me which seemed to be the case for all the other anglers I spoke with.
Most local anglers think that the kokanee fishing on both lakes will improve by this weekend.
Tom Jenner from the Seeley Lake area e-mailed me that Salmon Lake has been fishing well for northern pike using smelt, but hardware has not been working. Rainey Lake has been fishing well for cutthroat trout using small kastmasters and small Thomas cyclone spoons in the rainbow patterns. Perch fishing has been good on the north end of Lake Inez using small jigs tipped with a bit of a night crawler.
Shore anglers are still doing fairly well for trout with power bait, marshmallows and nightcrawlers on Harpers Lake. The same is true for shore fisherman on Lake Como south of Hamilton.
Another good bet for trout fisherman should be Browns Lake. The lake has been hot and cold for trout anglers but as the weather stays good the fishing should follow the same.
The water level is coming up on Flathead Lake and the lake trout fishing is still good. The perch bite on in east Polson Bay should be winding down but is always worth a try.
As always try and take a kid fishing this weekend as they will remember the great time they had for a lifetime.