This Saturday marks the official opener of the fishing season in Montana for all rivers, streams and lakes. It’s a bit of a misnomer, of course. There are a lot of waters in Montana that are open year-round.
But anglers after some brookies and other western Montana trout will be out and about in their favorite fishing hole.
If the stream that you are planning to fish is high and muddy, then look for some back water eddies. That’s where the fish go in those conditions.
Lee, from Bob Wards in Hamilton, has a few creeks to fish that are really fun. “There are a number of creeks that would be good to go to,” Lee said. “For cutthroat fishing, go to Skalkaho Creek or Blodgett Creek. You might also catch a brown or rainbow trout.”
Another creek in the Hamilton area might be the West Fork of the Bitterroot River above Painted Rocks Reservoir. For more information on how best to fish these bodies of water, contact Lee at Bob Wards 363-6204.
Another popular lake that opens for fishing this Saturday is Lake Mary Ronan. Anglers will be sure to try their luck on kokanee salmon, perch, and bass on this beautiful body of water just west of Flathead Lake.
Georgetown Lake also opens this Saturday except for the south and east shorelines. Read the regulations for the specifics on the areas still closed.
With that in mind, make sure you pick up the new 2010 fishing regulations book. It is important to keep the book handy throughout the year. Some waters are protected and it’s a good ideas to keep the book in your tackle box or boat for easy reference.
In the Western District, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has made some changes in the fishing regulations to protect bull trout.
In the Clark Fork River drainage on Fish Creek and its tributaries, only artificial lures are allowed, including within a 100-yard radius of the mouth of Fish Creek. On the Flathead River, from the mouth of the Stillwater River downstream to Flathead Lake, no maggots and no scented artificial lures are allowed. On Hungry Horse Reservoir a bull trout fishing closure on Wounded Buck Bay was lifted.
Of course, there are other lakes that are open for fishing year-round that are also a good bet this weekend. Flathead Lake is one that comes to mind. It’s still fishing well for lake trout and you might even catch the tail end of the perch bite in Polson Bay.
Paddlefish season started May 1 in the Missouri River above Fort Peck Reservoir. Paddlefish season on the Yellowstone River and in the Missouri River below Fort Peck Reservoir opens this Saturday.
Earlier this month, a 16 year old angler, Alex Mergen from Rapid City, S.D., broke the North Dakota state paddlefish record. It was 74 inches in length and weighed 130 pounds. Just in case you are wondering, the state record paddlefish for Montana is 142.50 pounds and has stood since 1973, taken from the Missouri River near the Fred Robinson Bridge.