The Great Rockies Sport return to Missoula was greeted with record crowds last weekend. Folks attending the two day hunting and fishing expo were all smiles as they walked the floor of Adam Center at the University of Montana. Many of the folks that I spoke with were eager for spring fishing to get underway as soon as some of the more popular lakes get rid of their ice and say hello to open water. It will only be a matter of time before Holter, Hauser, and Canyon Ferry Reservoir boat ramps will be usable.
In fact, you can put your boat in at the Gates of the Mountains and fish a ways down river on Holter. Flathead Lake has open water and the lake trout are biting. The yellow perch bite in the east Polson Bay is still a few weeks away. Look for that bite to start happening around the third week of April. Angler activity on a couple of the local rivers depends on what type of spring day Mother Nature brings. The trout are biting on the upper Clark Fork and Rock Creek area according to Carolyn Persico from Rock Creek Fisherman Mercantile. The Bitterroot River this time of the year is home to a lot of drift boats and rafts. The fishing reportedly has been very good according to Bill Brown from Bob Wards in Missoula. Steelhead fishing in Idaho has been picking up. More steelhead are coming up river as the Clearwater River rises with spring run-off.
Some good news came out of Fort Peck Reservoir last week. John Daggett from the US Army of Engineers e-mailed me to say the water elevation on Fort Peck will be coming up the next four months. “The March basic forecast shows Fort Peck’s elevation rising about four feet through June and then starting to drop in July,” added Daggett, “Our basic forecast assumes average precipitation and we have cut our releases this month from 12,000 cfs to 6,000 cfs which has caused the reservoir to rise slightly”. Daggett went on to say that the drought in the Missouri Basin has seemed to ease slightly with recent storm activity but he said is still too early to tell how much the Missouri River reservoir system will be affected. Fort Peck Reservoir is on the Missouri River.
Another topic that was on a lot of anglers that attended the Great Rockies Sport that I spoke with was Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposed six year suppression of the walleye population in Noxon Reservoir. It is very apparent to me that the walleyes have become a targeted fish in the reservoir by many anglers and those same anglers cannot understand why FWP wants to kill the walleyes in Noxon. The best way to voice your opinion is to e-mail your comments to Kenneth Breidinger, Fisheries Biologist, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to P O Box 95, Thompson Falls, MT 59873. Breidinger can also be reached by phone at (406) 827-9320. FWP is accepting public comment on the Investigation of Suppression of Walleyes on Noxon through tomorrow Friday March 29th.