Folks in Western Montana know that Lake Mary Ronan can be a great fishery for kokanee salmon, trout, perch, and largemouth bass. Last year in July the lake made the news when an angler reportedly caught two northern pike-one of the fish got away at the boat but the other made it in the net. That was not good news to anglers who love to fish the cozy little lake just west of Flathead Lake by Proctor Montana. Pike potentially could destroy the excellent kokanee salmon and trout populations in the lake. Lake Mary Ronan is again in the news this time it is good news from an angler that caught a 21.5 pound rainbow while he was kokanee salmon fishing. 72 year old Jim Lowe from Grey Cliff Montana hooked into the monster of a trout on August 5th. “Jim’s family has been coming to vacation on the lake since the early 1930’s”, said Mark Thomas of Camp Tuffit, the iconic resort established by his grandfather Charlie in 1917, “they were one of our first guest way back then, Jims grandfather knew my grandfather”. Lowe was fishing in 30 feet of water when the whopper of a trout bit. He took the fish back to Grey Cliff a small town by Big Timber and had weighed on a certified scale. It was 34 inches long. The fish was a Triploid Arlee Rainbow. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks started planting triploid Arlee rainbows in 2008 when the natural run failed due to perch competition and predation. Former fish biologist Jim Vashro explains the process of creating a triploid Arlee rainbow, “In a hatchery, fish eggs are treated after fertilization with precise heat and pressure at precise intervals so the resulting fish have three strands of chromosomes (triploid) instead of the normal two (diploid) strands in their DNA. Triploid fish appear normal but can’t reproduce so it is hoped they will grow longer/larger, their numbers can be controlled and they won’t interbreed with other reproducing fish. Triploids in general haven’t done much but in some cases triploids – and Arlees – make a breakthrough”. You may view the huge rainbow on montanaoutdoor.com
The Chinook salmon bite over on Fort Peck Reservoir has been going strong the last week. The landlocked salmon that are planted every year by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks can get as big as 31.13 pounds, which happens to be the Montana state record and was caught at the face of the dam on Fort Peck way back in 1991. This year the salmon are running as small as 5 pounds and as big as 22 pounds. Todd Young from Glasgow and a couple of his buddies, Heath Headley and Kirk Boyer, went fishing a week ago Sunday and caught 6 Chinook salmon and then on the same day they landed over 20 lake trout. “We were trolling in 80 feet of water over 150 feet”, added Young, “We were using a blue flasher and a glow squid to catch the salmon and a spoon to catch the lake trout” Last Saturday young went out and caught 3 Chinook salmon before they were blown off the water by high winds.
My son Harry and his girlfriend Stephanie Klimaszewski and RJ Wimett went fishing with me on Flathead Lake Monday. We ended up with 7 lake trout using the whole bait set-up with a 9 inch pike minnow in 94 feet of water.
(Written by the Captain)