Captain’s Column: Relaxing, Fly Fishing, and Ice Fishing
With the nicer weather this week most of us can finally see that spring is just around the corner in Montana. Last week I spent the last of a 10 day vacation in Hawaii. I traveled to Maui with my girlfriend Bernadine, we then met up with my brother Dan Ward and his wife Mary who are from South Dakota. It was the second annual trip that we all have taken together. This time is was especially enjoyable because we did next to nothing every day we were on the island. Outside of doing a couple of tourist things we just layed on the beach and did a little bit of snorkeling. Mostly we just enjoyed the beautiful weather with the temperatures in the low 80’s for most of the trip.
The warm weather I experienced did get me to start thinking about doing some spring fishing in Montana. There is still ice fishing on selected lakes but with warmer temperatures in store for most of the coming weekend stable ice will start to disappear so be careful. There are reports that Georgetown Lake still has 30 inches of ice and the trout are biting. The latest report out of the Helena Regulating Reservoir is the kokanee fishing has been red hot. Anglers are using an orange, black, or pink jig head tipped with a maggot or corn. The fish are being caught in 25-30 feet of water and the ice thickness is 12-14 inches. Rainbow trout fishing through the ice on Pond 4 on the south end of Canyon Ferry Reservoir has also been good. The trout fishing on Hauser Reservoir in the causeway has been slow but some anglers are doing okay fishing the open water by York Bridge. Holter Reservoir has ice on the north end by the dam but the ice is to stable to fish. Shore and boat anglers are having little bit of luck fishing for trout by the Gates of Mountain. The walleye and perch fishing has been slow on all three reservoirs.
River fishing is really picking up with the warmer temperatures. Look for the skwala stone fly hatch to kick in on the Bitterroot River. Scott Anderson from the Montana Fishing Company recommends to fish the trout on the tail-outs of deep runs, when doing so try a patts rubber legs or a bitch creek of any size and color and you should do well. On the Clark Fork River try using a san jaun worm or any stone fly nymph pattern. Anderson also reports that Noxon Reservoir still has 10 inches of ice and the northern pike fishing continues to be good.
A couple of sportsman reminders you now need a 2012 Montana Fishing License and the Montana Elk and Deer big game application deadline has been moved up and is March 15th this year, which is next Thursday. Another sure reminder that spring is coming! This Sunday March 11th at 2am you need to move your clocks ahead one hour as we spring forward to Daylight Savings Time.