It’s a brand new year! That is if you are an angler in Montana because you now need to get your 2016-17 fishing license. Your old license expired on Monday. The fishing on rivers and lakes has been good too!
Here is a fishing report from John Perry from JohnPerryflyfishing.com on the rivers around Missoula, “We wanted to send out a quick update. A lot of the lower level snow has melted and the clarity of the water on the Clark Fork and Bitterroot is great! We have been catching some very nice fish with small streamers on the Bitterroot. This past week we saw our first adult Skwalas of the year. We’re still excited about this bug, and we’re expecting the fish to get tuned into it sooner than you think. And this means fantastic fishing is on the horizon… perhaps your best chance of catching your largest trout of the year on a dry fly”.
Perry also had this report from the Missouri River below Holter Dam, “Fishing has been consistent and steady for hearty anglers. CFS for the Missouri is about 3600 to 3700. Nice fish are being caught using nymphs, streamers, and some dry midge activity. My suggestions for nymphs would be pink scuds-#14-18, hot bead patterns-#16 and 18, zebra midges-#18 and 20, thin red san juan patterns-#10-14, and purple glints-#16-20. Good sized rainbows and browns can also be caught using slender streamers-#8-12. Off white streamers and black leech patterns are working! Try to swing your fly slowly at first and then add a few strip pumps and then stall your fly and repeat. There is actually a pretty fair amount of midge activity on the river now. Size 18 parachute midge patterns, Griffith’s nat-#18, and even small -#parachute patterns may work during the hatch. Also try dropping a #20 zebra midge about 10 inches or so off the small dry. If the weather stays good I would suggest to try the Missouri”.
I was attending the Great Rockies Sport Show in Helena last weekend and there was a lot of talk on how Holter Reservoir was completely ice free. Some boat anglers were using the ramp at the Gates of the Mountains and going up river toward the dam and some anglers were fishing down river all the way to Log Gulch Campground. Bill Scullion from Florence told me that last week he had better luck fishing then this past weekend on Holter, which is typical for this time of the year. Many of the anglers are trolling spoons at 1.7 to 2 miles per hour or tossing glass minnow jigs tipped with a piece of night crawler toward shore for best results.
The 2016 Perch Pounder was a huge success. They had 189 ice anglers who caught a lot of large perch because of their underwater cameras. The overall winners were: 1st place – Russ Geldrich 2.020, 2nd place – Dutch Turner 1.878, 3rd place – Andy Lefebrve 1.812, 4th place – Wayne Schlegel 1.680, 5th place – Gary Hembd 1.656
(Written by the Captain-aka Mark Ward)