July Fishing Can Be Hit or Miss: The Captain’s Column
By Kjel

Posted: July 19, 2012

Fishing in July can be hit and miss, especially on the rivers with these warm days that we have been experiencing. Quite a few Montanans have friends or family visiting this time of the year. Some of the folks visiting might want to try their hand at fly fishing some of our local rivers or lakes. I asked two area outfitters what bodies of water they might suggest. John Perry from Johnperryflyfishing.com wrote this in an e-mail. “Fishing on Georgetown Lake has been awesome with dry damsel fly patterns-best time is during the heat of the day.  A slight twitch is like ringing the dinner bell-many fish in the 16 to 18 inch range.  Dry fly fishing on the big rivers around Missoula has been fairly good in the mornings-but seems to slow down quite a bit during the heat of the day.  If you are new to the area or just visiting you may want to try smaller streams like upper upper Rock Creek or Fish Creek west of Missoula.  Also, try some very small streams like Mill Creek by Frenchtown or some of the smaller streams in the Bitterroot Valley.  The shaded canopy of trees really cools you off even on extremely hot days.  If you can travel and want to fish for rising fish – I would suggest the upper Missouri River by Wolf Creek-tons of tricos are out.  You may want to use a dry trico cluster to try and fool them or give them something a bit larger than a trico.  Hopper season is right around the corner-it’s probably about 2 or 3 weeks away.  Anyway, pray for rain and cooler temperatures”.

Scott Anderson from Montana Fishing Company had these suggestions in an e-mail, “The Missouri you can walk/wade or float.  The action is unreal.  Thousands of fish rising to dry flies!  A word of caution, use a subtle hook set or you will break off every fish that eats your dry fly! The Thompson River is doing great in the morning and afternoon. Walk wade only.  Forget fishing in the mid day 100 degree hatches.  The only thing you will get is a sun burn! The Bitterroot River is great now for float fishing and will only get better. All rivers will see about the same flies hatching on the water with, pmd’s, caddis, green drakes, yellow sallies”

Last week I mentioned that Jim Vashro thought that the whitefish bite on Flathead Lake might be good this year. Unfortunately the weather in June might have adversely affected the perch spawn a key to getting the whitefish bite in place. This is what Vashro had to say about that “In June the weather turned horrible. My concern is that I still think we got a decent perch hatch. But June was cold with lots of high flows and turbidity moving through the lake. That could have seriously delayed zooplankton development. Small perch don’t have any fat reserves so they could starve to death in pretty short order. So, I’m still hopeful but not as much. Keep your fingers crossed, we’ll know in a couple of weeks”.