Helena Area Fishing Report Breakdown by Trevor Johnson of Kit’s Tackle!
Gates of the Mountains (Holter): WIDE OPEN all the way to the Oxbow bend from the Gates of the Mountains ramp. The ramp at the Gates of the Mountains on upper holter lake north of helena is the ONLY ramp open on the Holter lake system.
Trout (Browns and rainbows): ON FIRE!! From American Bar (the river mouth) all the way to Willow Creek is on fire for AMAZING rainbow and brown trout action. These water beast are targeting the warmer shallow water to hunt forage. Crayfish and Perch colored jigs with NO bait is your best option here. My personal favorite this time of year is the brown/ornage marabou or the Yellow Perch Glass Minnow. Cast you jig just inches from shore and jig back towards the boat.
Perch: Good pre-spawn perch reports around the cottonwood area in 20-30 FOW. Remember to let the eggladen females go so they can spawn.
Walleye: Always going to be a tough bite in 36 degree water but this is the time of year to catch a fish of a lifetime. Reports os a few big fish coming from down river around cottonwood to the oxbow bend. Target these big pre-spawn tanks with Glass Minnows and nightcrawlers or salted sucker minnows. These big fish will be in the 14-22 FOW range. Remember this is a patience game and always bring a soft measuring tape…so you can get a replica made of your monster!! If you catch a few smaller males they make great table fare out of cold water.
Hauser Lake: Riverside boat ramp under canyon ferry all the way to Devils elbow is rampable. This is the best time of year for great action on rainbow and brown trout. Fishing jigs close to shore just like mentioned at the Gates of Mountains. The bonus here is the lack of boats…a very peaceful time of year to cruse hauser.
(Feature photo was taken in mid-December at Holter Reservoir)