Archery and Upland Kick Off: Captain’s Column
By Kjel

Posted: August 30, 2012

The final holiday weekend of the summer is coming up. If you are an outdoor person who likes to hunt and fish then you won’t have any problem finding something to enjoy. Hunters are looking forward to the General Archery Season that opens Saturday. Also on tap for hunters this Saturday marks the opening of upland bird and fall turkey seasons in Montana. The temperatures forecast for the weekend are normal for this time of the year, but the lack of rain we have received this month has left the countryside very dry.

So while some folks turn to hunting others will have good fishing opportunities to take advantage of on the rivers and the lakes. Lake trout fishing has started to pick up recently on Flathead Lake. The Great Montana Mack Attack/Whitefish Jigfest was held last weekend on Flathead Lake and it was a success according to Gen Fincher. “We had 138 anglers entered and the fishing was pretty good despite the choppy water conditions that anglers faced early in morning on Saturday and Sunday,” said Fincher.  The largest lake trout was turned in by Ron Catlett of Kalispell, the fish that was worth $1000 weighed 19.43 pounds and was 38 ¼ inches long. Randy Gembala caught the heaviest lake trout under 28 inches it weighed 7.91 pounds and Hunter Roderick caught the largest pike minnow it weighed .72 pounds. Fincher said that most of the successful anglers were trolling for the lake trout.  Maybe the biggest story during the two-day event came out of the whitefish category. “We had close to 40 whitefish turned in both days with all the winning fish entered on Saturday”, said Fincher. Most of the anglers turning in whitefish were fishing in 60 feet of water and most of the activity was on the river delta on the north end of the lake. Marlene Tucker caught the largest whitefish it was 23 inches long and weighed 3.83 pounds. So yes there are anglers catching whitefish but not in huge numbers.

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good on the lower Flathead River with the northern pike fishing reported as fair. Seeley Lake is seeing some good early morning and evening northern pike fishing. Trolling swim baits and rapalas seem to be working the best. There also have been some reports out of Lake Mary Ronan that angler are doing good on kokanee and perch.  Georgetown Lake has been producing smaller fish. “We were using the grasshopper pattern when we fished Georgetown the other day but the fish were small”, added outfitter John Perry of JohnPerryFlyfishing.com, “the flying ants are now appearing on the lake and that usually means the bigger fish will start to get active again”. If it is windy on Georgetown try to find a calm bay out of the bay. The Blackfoot River has been inconsistent, but with the smoke haze blocking out the sun the fishing on the upper Bitterroot River has been good for smaller fish according to Perry.