June is here and the fishing should be easy, right? Well not so fast. Whether you are fishing for trout, walleye, northern pike, bass, or perch May and June are two of the better months of the year to be on the water. Last week I spend my time on Fort Reservoir with Matt Mackinaw from Lolo, and we were joined by Casey Thomas of Jordan one day and Brett French the Outdoor Editor of the Billings Gazette for another day. Scott Arnold from Florence also was at Rock Creek Marina fishing for a couple of days. In the past this time of the year on Rock Creek has been very kind to me. For the last two years we didn’t have any trouble catching our limit of walleyes, it was mainly a question of how many walleyes we would boat over 28 inches in length.
Last year that number was at least 6 walleyes in that category with the largest being close to 31 inches. Fast forward ahead to this year and last week started of slow and got even slower as the week went by. Monday however I was lucky enough to catch and release a 32 inch walleye and Matt Mackinaw caught 4 nice eating size walleyes that day but that was about it for the week, until Arnold hooked into a 16 inch walleye late Thursday afternoon. “I have never been skunked on Fort Peck before”, said Thomas who normally places high in the local Fort Peck walleye tournaments that he competes in every year.
His statement might have been an omen for the rest of the week for us. Thankfully walleyes aren’t the only species in the lake, because what made the walleyes have lock jaw didn’t affect the bite for the northern pike and small mouth bass. The pike and bass fishing was very good. Instead of pulling bottom bouncers with smiley blades and slow death hooks tipped with a crawler as we did for walleyes we resorted to a different technique to catch the pike and bass. By casting into the rocky points with a Kits Tackle glassminnoiw jig tipped with a leach and also casting in a number 06 riprap Rapala lure we were able to catch a fair amount of nice size pike and bass. So that part of our fishing trip was easy when it came to catching pike and bass but the week still remains a mystery to me why the walleye bite shut down like it did.
I asked some anglers who I think should know the answer to that question but the most I got out of them was that there was an east wind for most of the week. You know the old saying “Wind from west fishing the best, wind from the east fishing the least”. Another thought was the everyday occurrence of thunderstorms that rolled through area had an effect on the bite. Another idea for poor fishing was that the lake might have turned over. When this happens it always effects the walleye fishing as they go deep and are tougher to find. The walleye fishing is bound to pick up soon, in fact the annual Rock Creek Walleye Tournament is scheduled for this weekend, so it will interesting to hear the results this Sunday night.
The Tiber Walleye tourney was held last weekend. 98 teams competed in the 2 day tourney and it sounded like the bite was on. First place went to Brian Olson and Casey Chovanak from Helena, with 38.7 pounds and second place went to Donald Beville and Ralph Bofwort – Bigfork with 33.82 pounds So June is here and the fish are biting somewhere. You just have to find them! I guess that is why they call it fishing.
(Written by The Captain – aka Mark Ward)