Fishing Dog Days of Summer: Captain’s Column (8.13.15)
By angelamontana

Posted: August 13, 2015

We are now officially in the fishing dog days of summer. Good fishing reports keep coming in but it seems it is tougher to duplicate a day of good fishing with another. The whitefish reports on Flathead Lake are a perfect example of this. Jim Johnson and Denny Peterson of Lincoln went fishing on the first Saturday of the August. The day started off slow for whitefish early in the morning. They then switch to trolling for lake trout for a couple of hours with the same results. They then decided to go back to the river delta north on Flathead Lake where they started fishing in the morning. It was now about 1pm and they anchored in 43 feet of water over a school of fish and started to haul them in, 30 in all in two hours. There was a boat close to them that was having the same luck. They headed back a week later optimistic they would eventually get into a nice bite like the Saturday before. The conditions were right low wind, high pressure but the fish didn’t cooperate. “We tried fishing in depths from 40-55 feet along the river delta anchoring every time we came across a school of fish”, said Johnson. “We knew the whitefish were in there looking for those young of the year perch because the ones we caught the last week were full of perch”. The whitefish fishing reports that I have heard from Flathead Lake are all similar to Johnson and Peterson’s. Find a school of fish anchor over them and if you get lucky they will start to bite. More and more anglers are using their I-Pilot anchor system on their minnekota trolling motor. While this is convenient for the anglers it might not be as effective as actually dropping an anchor according Alan Tabish from Missoula who has a had a place on Flathead Lake for years, “I heard from some guys that had a camera down when they dropped their anchor that the anchor hitting the bottom actually attracted the whitefish”.  The good news in my opinion is that the whitefish this year are biting the not so good news it doesn’t happen with any consistency. This is also the time of the year that the lake trout bite starts to kick in with the whole bait set-up. The larger lake trout in the 25-35 inch range can be caught by laying a whole pike minnow on the bottom in 80-110 feet of water.

As we all know Flathead Lake isn’t the only place to wet a line. Reports out of Georgetown Lake have been very good for trout. Float tubers fishing a damsel fly pattern have been producing.

Fishing over in the Helena Reservoirs has also been good especially for perch on Holter Reservoir according to Troy Humphrey from FWP, “Abundant perch are being caught on jigs and worms in 20 to 25 feet of water around weed beds and the mud line around the clay bluffs in lower Holter. Some walleye are being caught mixed in with the schools of perch. Jigs and bottom bouncers seem to be working equally well for walleye. If you are going to try Canyon Ferry Reservoir for walleye Adam Strainer says mid lake and deep might be the trick, “Anglers are having success trolling worm harnesses in 20 to 35 feet of water, tipped with night crawlers or leeches, and crank baits (orange, white, green, and silver) at similar depths.  Jigging bay points, mid-reservoir to the dam, can also be good early morning or late evening this time of year for walleye. Trout fishing is slow to fair on all three reservoirs.

(Written by the Captain)