It all began when my son Harry and I were riding back from Fort Peck Reservoir after attending the Fall Classic walleye tournament during the first part of August.
During the eight-hour drive back to Missoula, we came up with the idea of having the first ever Fort Peck Fish-A-Thon.
The family and friends fishing derby would take place Aug. 29 on Fort Peck, out of the Fort Peck Marina. And, many species of fish would be involved in the one-day fish-a-thon.
There would be a point system awarded for each fish caught. King Salmon would be worth 10 points, lake trout 5 points, walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass would be allotted 2 points with an additional 10 points awarded to a walleye that measured 25 inches or longer.
Participating would be the collection of family and friends. Brother Dan and his son Jon Ward would travel from Bryant, S.D. John Buck, Mike Barker and Mike’s son Adam Barker would also come from Bryant.
Brother-in-law Tim Frost and his son Michael would travel from Rapid City. Finally, Bob Culp would come from Frenchtown and Harry and I would come from Missoula.
We arrived last Wednesday and our first pre- fishing day was Thursday. It was slow for the most part with the exception of a 29-inch lake trout caught by Mike Barker who was fishing with John Buck in Bob Culp’s boat.
On Friday, fishing started to pick up but not until the afternoon. All three boats fished over 10 miles up the main lake on the various points that make Fort Peck such a great lake to fish. It was on one of these points up Gilbert Creek that I caught and released a hefty 28.5-inch walleye. It was the highlight of the day.
During the course of Friday, two of the boats caught over 10 walleye along with some northern pike and smallmouth bass. Things were looking up.
On Saturday morning, before we headed out for the day of the tournament, I asked my brother Dan where we should start and what species of fish we should target first.
“I think we should go back to the spot where you caught the big walleye,” he said. It proved to be the correct choice.
After the 30 minute boat ride, we started to fish. Within two minutes, I had a double hookup, and we were on our way. Before noon, our boat had 10 walleyes in the livewell along with a couple of pike.
In the afternoon, we topped off our catch for the day with another pike, two bass and one lake trout. All those fish added up to 35 points, enough to win the first ever Fort Peck Fish-A-Thon.
Fort Peck is truly an amazing lake for anglers to fish. In one 45-minute drift, we caught two walleyes, a northern pike and two smallmouth bass. It’s truly a diverse fishery.
It was great to hook up with some of my friends and family for a few days fishing and fellowship. And it’s certainly something you can plan for yourself and your family and friends. Just write up the rules. Pick your favorite water. Then, have fun.
You can view some of the highlights of the Fort Peck Fish-A-Thon by logging onto www.montanaoutoor.com.