This Memorial Day Weekend should offer some good fishing opportunities for families on lakes and rivers across Montana. Rock Creek might just be the one local river that might be in prime condition as the famous salmon fly hatch watch is on. The blue ribbon trout stream east of Missoula could be right in the middle of the salmon fly hatch by the time the weekend is here. Check with Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile (406) 825-6440 for river and fishing conditions on the Creek.
Lakes this time of the year are always a good bet. The long three day holiday makes it possible for families to spend time together while they enjoy camping and fishing. For just a great family camping /fishing experience the first lake that comes to mind is Lake Mary Ronan. The kokanee fishing is normally good while young and old anglers can enjoy catching salmon while they anchor their boat over a school of fish. It is without question one of the prettiest lakes in Western Montana. 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. It might be raw shrimp with a splash of shrimp oil; they might prefer maggots with a splash of shrimp lotion. Most anglers will have asset up that consists of a colored Swedish pimple followed by a glow hook with about 4 to as much as 10 inches of leader below the Swedish pimple. My son William, Devin Huntley, Alex Jehle of Missoula and I had good luck on Lake Mary Ronan last weekend jigging in 27 feet of water. Trollers like using a flasher with a wedding ring that is tipped with a maggot. Bring along night crawlers because Lake Mary Ronan can also offer up some great perch fishing.
Browns Lake is another very popular lake this time of the year. Try trolling a midge wobbler or a mepps spinner, some anglers also seem to do well trolling a wooly bugger about 5 to 10 feet below the surface. Anglers like to go to Georgetown Lake where the kokanee salmon and trout are usually on the bite during Memorial Day weekend. Don’t forget about Lake Como south of Darby is another lake with fishing opportunities and magnificent scenery. Salmon lake, Placid and Seeley lakes are great places to enjoy camping or just a day trip fishing. I fished for kokanee salmon on Salmon Lake Monday at 5pm and had my limit of 5 fish in less than an hour trolling a wedding ring with a flasher two colors
East of the mountains Holter, Hauser and Canyon Ferry might be the place to go with the long weekend ahead. This time of the year the trout are running from 5-18 feet below the surface. 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, a gold Thomas Cyclone or a fire tiger Lindy Viking spoon will also produce fish.
The walleye fishing should start to pick up on Canyon Ferry Reservoir any day now so it might be a good idea to give that a try on the south end of the lake. On Holter Reservoir the perch fishing has been very good.
If you want to go after king salmon then head to the Clearwater River in Idaho. If the river doesn’t blow out like it did earlier this week with rain then the salmon fishing should be excellent.
(Written by the Captain-aka Mark Ward)