Now that the boat and outdoor shows are in our rear view mirror it is time to get out and use that new boat and catch some fish. One of the annual fishing trips that I make is to Flathead Lake to try and get in on the spring perch bite in East Polson Bay. The perch normally move in that area of the lake to start their spawning process. Anglers that look forward to the perch bite usually plan on it about the middle of the April. This year Dick Zimmer from Zimmers Tackle predicted that the bite would be early and by all acounts he was correct as is evident in this e-mail I received from him on Sunday,“ The spring perch phenomenon on the far Eastside of Polson Bay is happening weeks earlier than normal. Last Friday, March 27, Marty Herrick and I took the afternoon to research this incredible fishing opportunity. First of all a temperature inversion kept fog on the Flathead to well afternoon so that the unfiltered radiant solar heat hadn’t begun to affect the water temperature. We couldn’t see the shoreline but the sun had some penetration. I was navigating by being aware of the sun position off my right shoulder but even at that we had to continually readjust to keep from running aground. Finally the sun burned through the fog and we were able to see our destination. Old school survived again without a GPS. As we approached ground zero for the schools of spawning perch we became aware that a fishery that at one time was little known has become wildly popular. I looked at Marty and said, “Welcome to Perch City”. There were close to 30 boats and probably 100 fishermen and women in a fairly tight knit group. As far as I could tell everybody was catching fish. Marty and I ended up with near a 42 Quart cooler full of perch with one nice small mouth bass.
This is what Zimmer was using: Because the water was slightly murky a setup with bright yellow flies was more visible and brought the fish in better than a plain hook. Marty was also having success bringing the fish close to the boat using a large silver Vibrax Spinner. According to Zimmer they were fishing in 3-6 feet of water.
River fishing around Missoula still is hit and miss as John Perry from John Perry Fly Fishing.com covers in this fishing report, “The Bitterroot has had some on and off fishing last week. Anglers have had a bit of success with Skwala stonefly patterns on the mid to upper parts. Inconsistant weather and high water levels have affected the fishing. Cloudy days have been better – especially if overnight temps were warm. A few reports of anglers seeing some neumora stones also. As many have heard-last week an angler drowned when thrown from the boat. The Bitterroot is a very dangerous river so pick your floats carefully or wade fish in safer parts of the river. Clark Fork River is extremely high for this time of year and not a good bet for fishing with dries right now-could change in a week or so. Rock Creek is high-but heard some good reports on the cloudy and windy days-small streamers-swinging and retrieving slowly”.
(Written by the Captain – aka Mark Ward)