It appears that summer has finally arrived, just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. Temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 80’s for the next few days and that should be good for fishing on rivers and lakes around Montana. River fishing has been improving with dry flies beginning to be the method of choice for fly fishers. My old pal the Mountain Man, John Perry e-mailed this report on where he might suggest that you spend your time fishing this weekend, “ Rock Creek excellent fishing/caddis, green drakes, and various sized golden stones-also PMD’s at times. Blackfoot River- very spotty-not consistent. Lower Clark Fork River- spotty and very high. Georgetown Lake-good to very good with small red droppers. Missouri- very good on small dries and nymphing below the dam – expect many people-no solitude! My favorite place to fish now is Upper Rock Creek”!
The Blackfoot River might be a good place to try rapalas according to Bill Brown from Bob Wards, “The water is still cool from the recent rains and colder temperatures in June and the fish are a little more active on the Blackfoot so I might suggest trying a rainbow colored size 4 rapala while you are fishing this weekend”. Bass fisherman should experience some good fishing this weekend on Ninepipes and Kicking Horse as reports from anglers have been good using spinner baits. The lower Flathead is still flowing above normal but anglers looking for northern pike might have luck fishing some of the backwaters and if you are fishing for smallmouth bass try working the rock piles with tube jigs tip with a night crawler.
Lake Mary Ronan anglers are enjoying a good perch bite. “The perch are running 8-11inches with some nice size fish for eating being caught”, said Chancy from Snappy’s in Kalispell. The kokanee fishing on the lake has slowed but if you are spending the weekend there and would like to give kokanee fishing a shot try jigging in deeper water on the bottom from 25-30 feet with a Swedish Pimple and glow hook tipped with maggots or raw shrimp. Largemouth bass fishing can be good and the daily possession limit is now 5 bass with one over 22 inches.
Some folks will be spending their weekend on Noxon Rapids Reservoir where the perch fishing has been good and the northern pike are beginning to be more active.
The fourth of July holiday beings a temporary halt to tournament fishing around Montana. Last weekend the Canyon Ferry Walleye festival was held and 142 two person teams competed for the $10,000 first place cash prize. The weather was good for the first day of the tournament as it took over 20 pounds of fish to be in the top three places. The two person teams are allowed to weigh their top 5 fish each day. The second day however the anglers were greeted by strong winds which made fishing more difficult. A local team from Townsend ended up winning tournament, Kirk Flynn and Sean Dolan of Townsend caught 36.06 pounds of walleyes. The 19.24 pounds they had the first day placed them in 3rd place after day one, so they had a great day two considering the windy conditions they faced last Sunday. For a complete listing of fishing tournaments in Montana check out the Tournament Tracker page.