The rivers in Western Montana are all running below their normal flows for this time of the year. These conditions may come as no surprise to anglers as the snowpack over the winter and the precipitation for May and June is way below normal. It is dry and we sure do need some rain but for now the rivers are in ideal condition to catch fish. I received this report from John Perry who we affectionately call the Mountain Man from Johnperryflyfishing.com . “Big changes in the fishing situation in the past week. Rock Creek’s water level is dropping very fast. Two weeks ago it was fairly easy to catch fish with a large salmon fly pattern. Now, fish are selectively eating small golden stones, caddis, and the occasional green drake pattern. Fishing reports for Rock Creek seem to be very spotty. Blackfoot has been dropping and clearing-about 3 feet water visibility. Fish are getting tuned into large skittering salmon fly and golden stone patterns. Look for fish behind boulders, snaky foam lines, and on drop offs. This is a great time to hit the Blackfoot. The upper Bitterroot above Hamilton is still high-but not for this time of year. Fishing is good to excellent with dry flies in late morning to about 3:30 pm and then slows down. Lots of fat cuts in the 13 to 16 inch range are being caught by anglers. The middle part of Bitterroot River is getting mixed reports-depends upon section fished, time of day, and patterns and techniques used”.
I went fishing last week over at Canyon Ferry Reservoir. The lake is now full pool and the fishing can be hit and miss on the south end for walleyes. Allan Evans and his 10 year old son Aden accompanied me and we hit it just right. Wednesday we must have caught and released nearly 40 walleyes. They were all small for the most part with only a handful in the 15 to 16 inch range. We did catch one that was 20 inches but that was the biggest fish we caught. The next day we went back to the same spot on the south end of the lake and the walleyes either left the area or weren’t biting. So we headed north to fish around Goose Bay and caught a few walleyes but once again nothing for size. I still think that the walleye bite will become more consistent once the water warms to 70 degrees on the south end of the lake. When we were there it was 62 degrees. One surprise that we encountered when we were fishing the south end was the trout bite. We probably caught 8 nice size trout while we targeting walleyes both days
The Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival is this weekend. I understand they still have openings for the tourney, which caps out at 150 teams. You can call 406-266-5700 for more information. The winning team will take home $10,000 cash prize. Sharon from the Silos RV campground on the south end of the lake told me that last week she saw 10 walleyes come into her store 30 inches or more. It will be interesting on how much weight it will take to win this year’s tourney. I will be broadcasting live from the waters of Canyon Ferry this Saturday on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show from 6a-8a. My guest on the boat will be Adam Strainer the fishing technician for the lake from FWP.
(Written by the Captain)