The hot weather leading up to this 4th of July holiday has made some of the recent outstanding fishing fizzle a little, but there is still fish to be caught with milder temperatures in the forecast for the weekend. Rivers and lakes around Western Montana should still be producing the only difference is anglers might want to start early in the morning, take the midday and heat of the afternoon off, and then fish about an hour before sunset. That fishing pattern should be especially true on the local rivers.
The Blackfoot River will be taken over by recreational floaters during the day but some of the other local rivers should give anglers a little more solitude, but they also won’t be void of the floaters having fun tubing down the river. I received this fly-fishing report from local outfitter John Perry from johnperryflyfishing.com, “With this hot weather the fishing has really changed from a week ago. Lower parts of Area Rivers seemed to have slowed with dry flies upper Rock Creek is still good with caddis and small stone fly patterns. The bigger fish on most parts of the Blackfoot seem to have lock jaw. The upper Clark Fork is very warm and full of river salad! Upper Bitterroot is still good with drake patterns and small yellow and golden stone fly patterns. Georgetown Lake is pretty good with various dry flies patterns-if not too windy. Let’s hope for rain and cooler temps”. Georgetown Lake is a good idea and quite a few fly fisherman love to fish the lake in a float tube.
Turning to area lakes. The whitefish bite has not started yet on Flathead Lake according to the local experts, if the bite does materialize this year, we are still a couple of weeks away. Chancy from Snappys in Kalispell had this report on montanaoutdoor.com, “ The Lower Thompson been excellent for pike down around the East End fishing smelt or whole fish under a bobber, and Rapala X Wraps or Husky Jerks are working real well also. Another good spot is the Flathead River Sloughs been quite a few in the 20lb mark and some up to 30”. Bill Brown from Bob Wards in Missoula reports, “The kokanee salmon bite has slowed down on Bitterroot Lake and Lake Mary Ronan but it is still a fun way to spend the day with family and friends either trolling or jigging”.
Over by Helena the walleye bite can be no-where to be found or excellent. “I noticed that when the barometer moves the fish start to bite and they bite pretty well on the south end of Canyon Ferry,” report Jim Farrington from Stevensville who fishes the lake regularly.
Holter is another popular 4th of July destination and the trout are still biting but to be successful you better go down to 20 feet. “ Rainbow fishing is still good while trolling cowbells tipped with a worm or Little Cleos from Split Rock to the Dam,” says Troy Humphrey from FWP, and he also reports that Hauser might be a good bet for walleyes this weekend, “ Walleye fishing is getting really good in the Causeway and around Devil’s Elbow using bottom bouncers or jigs with a Mr. Twister tail”.
Where ever you spend the holiday weekend fishing good luck and have a Happy 4th of July!
(Written by the Captain; Cover photo: commons.wikimedia.org)