(Here <above> is a Google earth map zoomed in on the north end of Canyon Ferry with the green lines indicating the best seven places to target spawning rainbows!! – photos courtesy of Trevor Johnson)
Who wouldn’t like the opportunity to have a chance to land 50+ rainbow trout in one day?? The north end Canyon Ferry rainbow trout spawn is the most prolific spawn in the entire world; ok I made that up but it can sure feel like it with non-stop jigging action. The awesome thing about this folly endeavor is that shore access is very available and anglers can get big rewards without a boat. This is single handedly some of the most exciting spring fishing Montana has to offer…especially if you’re a jig fisherman!!
I have a special connection with Canyon Ferry this time of year and chasing big bruiser bows on their beds…it is where I learned to jig fish. This is also where I acquired the famous “Johnson Jig” style that has filled the box time after time. There isn’t a nook or cranny on the shoreline I haven’t tossed a marabou jig into hoping for a line twitch. I can still remember my grandpa’s enormous smile when I would hook a big rainbow and the drag would start squealing…talk about a slimy Disneyland for kids!! So get down with your bad self this May and head to Canyon Ferry for some incredible jigging action for HUGE rainbows.
Rainbow trout build vast spawning beds and protect them with all their life. They actually place small signs written in finhili around the perimeter with the warning “all intruders will be devoured on site!” While fishing rainbows during the spawn most strikes come from irritation and not predation. So in other words, using bright colored visibly noisy jigs is your best bet to getting bit. For example, if I was to sneak through the woods quiet or wrap myself in chicken bones and blow my hoochie mama cow call which would lead to a better chance of a Grizzly having me for lunch…I think you get the point.
My two highest marabou color recommendations for spawning rainbows:
Egg Sucking Leech
Leeches are notorious for robbing nest…mama trout gets very angry when she sees a leech swimming off with one of her babies. The best way to describe what happens next…do you remember the game Hungry Hungry Hippos??
This color pattern is proven to set off the warning alarms on mama and daddy trout’s lateral line!!