Last Saturday morning, I was invited to do my statewide hunting and fishing show, the Montana Outdoor Radio Show, live from Wise River, Montana. It was a great opportunity to learn about this area in Southwest Montana that has a rich history that dates back to the 1800’s. The 153 mile Big Hole River flows by Wise River the town, and that is the spot that the Wise River dumps into the Big Hole. The on line Wikipedia breaks the Big Hole down into three sections when it comes to the species of fish that are in its waters. From Skinner Lake which is the headwaters to Fish Trap the river is home to a few remaining native Fluvial Arctic Grayling and a good population of exotic Brook trout. Rainbows and browns are few in this section. As the Big Hole flows on down to Melrose you will encounter boulder pocket water as the Big Hole flows through a narrow canyon. This is excellent stone fly water. This section has 5 public access sites and is dominated by Rainbow trout with 3000 fish estimated per mile and as the Big Hole River flows from Melrose to Twin Bridges that stretch is dominated by Brown trout.
So, if you would like to have an opportunity to fish the multiple species that this unique Montana river has to offer the next three months should be the best time. I did not have a chance to fish on my trip but fishing for artic grayling certainly has peaked my interest. Wade Fellin of the Big Hole Lodge who was one of the locals that were guests on my show told me that he is taking day trips through May if you just want to make it a one day affair. Fellin can be reached at 406 832-3252 where he also offers fishing and lodging packages.
If you interested in fishing and just need a place to stay and eat, then the Wise River Club built in 1896 is a great place to headquarter during your stay. The Wise River Club is the only building that survived the 1927 flood that was created when the Pattengail Creek Dam in Beaverhead County failed. During my stay my accommodations were a two bed cabin that was clean and rustic with running water and electricity. Call the owners Tom and Lynda Davis for more information 406-832-3258.
In other fishing news I spoke with Dick Zimmer from Pablo and he reports that anglers are still fishing perch in the East Polson Bay of Flathead Lake. The days the weather co-operates and warms up have been productive and Zimmer says that he has seen 30-40 boats on the water. “I found out a new way to fish for lake trout”, added Zimmer, “A guy was using a set-up that had a fly about a foot above a lure like my lead-a gator and then a fly about 6 inches to 18 inches below the lure and both of the flies were tipped with a little piece of cut bait”.
Arlyn Lemer and I made the trip to Noxon Reservoir last week and had some luck pitching Kits Tackle blue and chartreuse jigs for walleye. Lemer caught and released a couple of nice looking 25 inch walleyes. The walleye fishing seems to be hit and miss this time of the year on Noxon. We did well one day and the next day we caught just one fish as the reservoir dropped about a foot overnight.
(Written by the Captain – aka Mark Ward)