Montana’s Best Time of Year: Captain’s Column (8.27.15)
Sportsmen and women are about to enter one of the best times of the year in Montana. It’s the time of the year that you start to pick up your bow and shotgun, but you still keep your fishing pole close by. Tuesday September 1 the grouse and partridge seasons begins along with the fall turkey hunting seasons. Then next weekend September 5th the general archery season kicks off for deer, elk and lion. “Every year that we have a lot of smoke in the air from fires it seems the elk rut starts a little early”, said Shawn Plakke our local elk expert on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show. Plakke thinks that with the lack of water that Western Montana has experienced this year it will result in elk congregating more at the fewer watering holes that the drought has created. “It is still going to be challenging as it always is for archery hunters but I think the elk will be active a little earlier this year so I am excited for the season to begin”, he said. I have been getting ready for the archery season with daily walks and flinging arrows in anticipation of opening day as have most of the bow hunters that I know. The opener is still over a week away so now is the time to get in shape and start flinging arrows. Get out your range finder, carry your binocular and practice your elk cow calls and bugles before opening day so you can take advantage of the first opportunity that comes your way.
Heading into September also brings with it some excellent fishing opportunities as the water starts to cool down on the rivers and the lakes. I love fishing over at Holter Reservoir in the fall because it provides anglers with three species to go after. The fall rainbow trout are bigger and more aggressive as it is not uncommon to catch a limit of 18-21 inch fish trolling. I have always had very good luck with J-7 rapalas in fire tiger and orange/white. Green Needle fish have also produced as has a fire tiger colored syclops. The perch fishing is still great on Holter and the I have heard that the walleyes are also biting and are a little bigger than they have been in past years. Perch fishing on Flathead Lake by the Polson Docks has been very good according to Dick Zimmer from Zimmer Tackle in Pablo, “It takes a boat to get to the weed beds where these fish reside.
Immediately west of the center of the new City dock in a 13 to 14 foot depth and centered between the boats launch dock and the new dock in about the same depth. Both places have high weed beds. Surprisingly the best set up has been: two plain size 10 hooks above a bottom weight bait with maggots. Night crawler and cut bait don’t seem to work quit as well”. Zimmer also said that they caught and released a number of smaller size small-mouth bass as they were fishing for perch. There is currently no limit on perch on Flathead Lake but Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is proposing a change for perch on some lakes in the Western District. This proposed change, while not imposing a total daily or possession limit, will make a 10 fish over 10 inches per day possession restriction on Flathead, Smith and Lower Stillwater Lakes. Comments will be taken thru September 12th… Go to www.fwp-mt.gov for more info.
(Written by the Captain aka Mark Ward)