Lakes In Good Shape–River Flow, Below-Average: Captain’s Column (6.23.16)
By angelamontana

Posted: June 23, 2016

The spring run-off has ended a couple of weeks earlier than many expected, so the river flow on most rivers around Western Montana is below average for this time of the year. That might mean bad news for fishing in the heat of mid to late summer, but for now anglers are experiencing some pretty good fishing. Here is the latest report from my friend John Perry from John Perry,

“This past week water levels have been dropping very quickly.  This has been great for fishing on Rock Creek the Bitterroot River, and the Blackfoot River.  The best and most consistent dry fly fishing has been on Rock Creek and the upper Bitterroot River.  Anglers are having great success with a variety of green drake patterns, medium sized golden stones and caddis patterns like the goddard’s caddis and the simple Elk hair caddies. Attractor patterns like the Lady Bugmeister, Royal Wulff, and yellow humpy have been great as well. If you can find the right spot on the Blackfoot-you also may run into a 2 hour window of excellent dry fly action with the green drakes.  The Blackfoot River has also been great with small girdle bugs, prince nymphs, and pheasant tails.  Take advantage of the cool water now-because heat is coming”.

The lakes are in very good shape with water levels on holding reservoirs remaining steady and close to full pool. That means that the walleyes are in their summertime feeding patterns as they begin to school up. Chances are if you catch one you will catch more. Fish early in the morning and late afternoon and early evening for best results. Steve Hellegaard from Missoula went fishing with Gregg Cooney from Missoula and David Shields from Plentywood on Holter this past weekend. Hellegaard reported that they had one of their better days walleye and perch fishing before a big storm blew in Saturday, “We were fishing by Oxbow Bend in 13-16 feet of water and caught 12 nice 16-19 inch walleyes along with a bunch of 12 inch perch using night crawlers or a leech on a floating jig head”.

On that note, here is this weeks Holter fishing report from FWP Troy Humphrey:

“Rainbow fishing continues to be good between Split Rock and Holter Dam while trolling cowbells or perch colored crankbaits.  Shore fishing for rainbows is slow.  Perch are being caught around the docks and bays in the lower reservoir in 10 to 15 feet of water.  A few walleye are mixed in with the schools of perch. Humphrey also added this fishing report from Hauser, “Shore fishing for Rainbows is slow with a few being caught at Riverside while using worms or power bait.  Rainbow fishing is good for boat anglers while trolling cowbells around the White Sandy and Black Sandy area. The Causeway arm is producing decent results for walleye while trolling bottom bouncers with a leech”.

This weekend marks the annual Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival on Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Close to 150 2 person teams will be competing for a $10,000 first place cash prize. The walleye fishing on Canyon Ferry has been picking up but most of the fish have been small according to Bob Culp from Frenchtown. In the past the Missouri River that feeds the reservoir has produced some nice fish for tournament competitors but that won’t be the case this year as it will be closed to tournament fishing. So it will be interesting to see the weights that the anglers are able to catch. Adam Strainer from FWP will be our guest this Saturday morning on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show as we broadcast live from the waters of Canyon Ferry from 6-8am. For a complete listing of stations that carry the show across Montana log onto