The first three day holiday weekend is fast approaching. This Memorial Day Weekend should offer some good fishing opportunities for families on lakes across Montana. The National Weather Service is forecasting warmer temperatures and that the rivers, which are already high, will continue to rise into the weekend. Fishing on the rivers will be tough because of the high water conditions. The one river that might be an exception is Rock Creek, east of Missoula. The salmon fly watch is officially on, check with Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile (406) 825-6440 for river and fishing conditions on the Creek.
There are, however, many lakes to try your luck on and maybe take the family on an overnight camping trip. The first lake that comes to mind for me is Lake Mary Ronan, as my son William and I spent last weekend fishing for kokanee salmon. It is, without question, one of the prettiest lakes in Western Montana and caters to anglers of all ages. It is not uncommon to see boats loaded with anglers, young and old, reeling in nice size silvers from 9-12 inches. Every day on Lake Mary Ronan, the salmon seem to want something a little bit different. One day last weekend, it was raw shrimp with a splash of shrimp oil, the next day it was maggots with a splash of shrimp lotion. We had luck with orange and pink colored Swedish pimples but Dick Zimmer who joined me one day used his own set-up from Zimmer Tackle and he did even better with the color green. Most every angler uses glow hooks with about four to as much as 10 inches of leader below their weight. Last weekend, the salmon seemed to be at 24 feet, but with the warmer temperatures, they might be a little deeper this weekend.
Browns Lake is another very popular lake this time of the year. Bob Culp from Frenchtown and Denny Bedard from Corvallis went last week and caught 7 nice trout. “It was slower for us but the fish that we ended up catching were nice sized trout”, said Culp. He also added that there were probably 20-25 boats on the lake which is quite a few especially for a Thursday, the day they went.
Ken Ault and his dad Jim from Missoula went fishing on Flathead Lake last Saturday for perch and it ended up being an unbelievable day. “We were the only ones fishing in East Polson Bay and the perch were really biting”, said Ault. They were throwing one in every six perch that they caught back because of the size so most of the perch were in the 9-13 inch size.
Trout fishing on Holter Reservoir has also been good. This time of the year the trout move from spawning close to shore out into deeper water, but they still run from 5-18 feet depth in 90 to 100 feet of water. Trolling the jointed rapalas of orange, fire tiger, gold, and brown and brookie color seem to work best for me in those suggested depths. A green needle fish or long line a gold Thomas Cyclone also will produce fish.
The walleye fishing should start to pick up on Canyon Ferry Reservoir any day nowm so it might be a good idea to give that a try on the south end of the lake. The lake water elevation is on the rise, so the boat ramps should be above the minimum launch level. For daily information on the boat ramps, call the Silos RV at 406-266-3100.
(Written by Mark Ward)