Get Out And Fish this Fourth of July Weekend: Captain’s Column

This weekend marks the start of the Fourth of July weekend for many Montanans, with the holiday falling in the middle of next week on Wednesday. No matter when you plan to take time off, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to go fishing.

For river and stream anglers, this is the time when spring runoff recedes and the water begins to clear, and it’s prime time for dry-fly fishing. Whether you’re floating or wading the Blackfoot, Clark Fork or Bitterroot rivers, you’ll find the dry-fly fishing to be excellent. Look for golden stones, and green or gray drake patterns to produce.

The lower Flathead River might be a good place to fish for smallmouth bass and northern pike. Also, don’t forget Noxon Reservoir, where anglers have a good chance of catching bass, northern pike and walleye.

Trout fishing on many lakes continues to be good, especially in higher-elevation places like Georgetown Lake. Lake Mary Ronan can produce catches of kokanee salmon and perch. The lakes west of Kalispell are all very good to try this next week, including Little Bitterroot Lake for some nice kokanee. Seeley, Swan and Salmon lakes might be a good bet to try your luck on. Call Bill Brown at Bob Ward and Sons, (406) 728-3220.

If you are after walleye, you might have to travel, but if you can camp a couple of days it might make more sense.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir is probably one of the more popular lakes to catch a walleye. The fishing is easier on the south end with fewer snags. It is a lot of fun if you’re fishing when that south-end bite comes on. Call The Silos, (406) 266-3100.

Holter Lake continues its strong trout bite, and the walleye bite picks up as the water warms. Call the Canyon Store in Wolf Creek, (406) 235-4111.

If you’re willing to travel a little farther, Lake Frances by Valier always seems to be good this time of year for both northern pike and walleye. Call One Stop Cenex, (406) 279-3600. Tiber Marina, east of Shelby, also is a fun lake to fish for walleye, and the recent tournament there produced some nice weights.

And don’t forget about the big pond in eastern Montana — Fort Peck Reservoir.

This 134-mile body of water is good fishing in just about every area, especially this year with the high water level. Walleye, northern pike, lake trout and smallmouth bass all are biting right now.

If you plan on spending a few days on Fort Peck, I recommend you call ahead to find out where the fish are biting. Marinas include:

  • Hell Creek – (406) 557-2345, 25 miles north of Jordan
  • Rock Creek – (406) 485-2560, on the Dry Arm of the reservoir
  • Gene Moore at the Lakeridge – (406) 526-3597, the dam at Fort Peck

Wherever you go, have fun, take a kid fishing and have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

-The Captain