(photos of the Captain and Brandt Hamernick at Fort Peck – courtesy of the Captain)
With a name like Rock Creek, fishing has got to be good.
Last week, I mentioned in my column that I would be fishing Fort Peck Reservoir leading up to the Rock Creek Walleye tourney, which was held last Saturday and Sunday. In the past few years, I have had some great fishing days on Fort Peck, but last week Brandt Hamernick, from Missoula, and I probably had some of our best fishing days ever.
The cold front that moved into Eastern Montana and dumped up to 4 inches of rain last week actually seemed to help the fishing. That is unusual because walleyes normally shut down with a change of weather and develop lock-jaw. It was cold and wet conditions as rain fell consistently on Wednesday and Thursday, but with the constant fish bite, we didn’t seem to mind.
Minnows were the bait of choice. When the minnow was tipped on a Kits Tackle fire-tiger ¼ ounce jig, it was irresistible to walleyes, smallmouth bass and northern pike. “Since Kit and Trevor won the Canyon Ferry walleye festival, their unique jig has been the choice of walleye and trout anglers, we have been selling a lot of their jigs in all of our stores,” said Bill Brown from Bob Wards.
We also caught a fair amount of fish trolling bottom bouncers with a green floating jig head tipped with a minnow. We lost count on how many walleyes we caught in the Dry Arm of Fort Peck, but I would estimate it to be close to 200 for the week. The biggest was 30 inches, but most were in the 18-20 inch size. The largest Northern Pike we caught measured 38 inches and Hamernick caught and released a 5 pound bass. You can view pictures of some these fish on montanaoutdoor.com.
The Rock Creek Tourney results were also very impressive. The winning team of Norm Sillerud and JR Rasmusan from Glasgow won the tourney with 88.9 pounds. That is an average of nearly 9 pounds per fish.
Salmon fly hatch is in full swing in another Rock Creek. This Rock Creek is the famous blue ribbon trout stream east of Missoula. The annual salmon fly hatch attracts fly fishermen from all over the state of Montana and beyond.
John Perry, from John Perry Fly Fishing, had this fishing report, “Lots of Salmon flies on the bushes up Rock Creek. The past couple of rainy days earlier in the week tend to stall the flying of the salmon flies-but there have been enough flies on the water to stimulate the trout. Most of the fish are ranging from 10 to 14 inches and the little browns seem to be plumper than the cutthroat. All kinds of darker orange salmon fly patterns are working-dead drifting and sometimes skittering. Good mid-afternoon hatches of green drakes on the slicks make for some fun fishing too. Best patterns reported seem to be green drake cripples, parachute olive Adams type patterns, and good floating extended body green drake patterns. Now that the water is fairly low-fisherman are finding that the fish are not just close to the banks-but out in the middle as well. Anyway, if you have a bit of time to fish-Rock Creek is an excellent bet now and should be for a couple of weeks”. You can reach Perry at 406-370-9183