Spring fishing is certainly in full swing both on the rivers and the lakes in Montana. The weather has played a big part in the moving up some of the good fishing. For example a couple of weeks ago Dick Zimmer left me a voice mail that said he had just heard from a guy who was fishing East Polson Bay on Flathead Lake and was just hammering the perch. This annual spring bite has normally taken place around the middle of April, but here it was starting in the middle of March. That perch bite has continued and probably will for a few more weeks. Zimmer and Marlon Starblanket headed out last week and filed a 52 quart cooler with perch in about 4 hours of fishing, in all 269 fish. Some folks are worried that with the fishing pressure keeping a large number of fish will eventually hurt the fishery.
This is Zimmer’s take on the subject, “If it concerns you that such larger numbers of fish are being taken consider that for the last 3 years more and more pressure has been applied to this fishery and the number and size of these fish has not diminished but if anything increased. Because perch are so cannibalistic thinning the larger fish insures adequate recruitment of the smaller fish and also allows for increased growth rate”.
Jens Gran from Polson also has enjoyed some great days perch fishing on Flathead Lake, “The perch fishing has been the best that I have encountered in years and it seems that I am catching larger perch this year”. If you have a chance to go fishing for this great table fare now is the time to schedule a trip. It is also a fun way to spend the day with the kids as it sounds like there is a lot of activity to keep their attention. Speaking of Flathead Lake have you noticed the number of lake trout that have been entered in the first two weekends of Spring Mack Days? For the first two weekends 11,038 lake trout have been caught and entered so far as they are on pace to break the all-time Mack Days record of fish being entered. Spring Mack Days is on until May 15th. Log onto to mackdays.com to enter and for more information.
Here is the Missoula area river report from JohnPerryflyfishing.com, “All area rivers have been fishing pretty well the last week.
The mid Bitterroot and the Blackfoot have been producing with dry action-especially BWO patterns in the afternoons on the cloudier days. Some Skwala stonefly dry action but nothing predictable day after day yet-use your favorite Skwala patterns as searching flies and maybe drop off small bead head nymphs-vary the color, size and depth. Rock Creek still seems to be the best bet for pure nymphing. #10 bead head princes, hares ears, and red San Juan worms have been successful on Rock Creek. Also little slivers of March Brown dry activity on the lower end of Rock Creek. #14 darker bodied mayfly patterns are good representative flies for the March Brown mayfly. Anyway, lots of local fly-fishing opportunities for the fly fisher.