Sometimes predictions are wrong, and sometimes they are correct. Well, a month ago I wrote that I thought that this year’s Chinook salmon season on Fort Peck Reservoir would be the best they have had since then mid 1990’s. I was correct and for good reason. There are still a few anglers still around that remember the great salmon fishing back then and the ones I have spoken with believe this year it just might be the best, based on their catch rate the past few weeks. I didn’t fish salmon back then on Fort Peck but I have more than made up for it this year.
For the past 4 weeks I have been fishing salmon every chance I get. My 5th wheel RV has been my home away from home this past month in Fort Peck , in fact I have spent more nights in its bed than I have in my bed at home in Missoula. The reason for this is simple. I like to fish when the fish are biting and chinook salmon are biting. I have always loved to fish salmon on Fort Peck but most of the time in years gone by I have not been rewarded like I have this year. I remember one year I traveled over to Fort Peck after hearing the bite was on and fished for 3 days, 12 hours a day and didn’t even have a release on my downriggers.
That is the salmon fishing I have been used to at Fort Peck and needless to say I probably missed fishing for a year or two because the salmon were to elusive. Last year was a good year for Downrigger Dale and I as we ended up boating 6 salmon in a 5 day period. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of fish to catch but when you get one of these aggressive fighters that can weigh up to 27 pounds take out line on your fishing reel drag, you get what I call Black Jaw Fever.
There is nothing quite like it, and it is hard to describe the excitement that you get by reeling one of these fighters into the net. It is truley Black Jaw Fever. This year I have fished with my girlfriend Berny, sister Debbie, brother in law Tim Frost, brother Dan, Downrigger Dale, and Steve Hellegaard. Everytime we have gone fishing we have caught not one salmon but usually multiple salmon. It has been a blast and it is about to come an end. The days are winding down and that is why I am writing about this now. The week leading up to Labor Day weekend will probably be the peak. If you are interested in fishing Fort Peck for salmon next week then I would get your reservations for your accommodations now.
If you plan on staying in a motel and want to stay by the lake then I would recommend The Lakeridge Lodging and Bait shop as well the Historic Fort Peck Hotel. If you have an RV then there are public campgrounds as well as the Lakeridge and the Fort Peck Marina that offer camp sites near the lake and the main boat ramp. There are also boats for hire if you want to learn how to fish for salmon or would like to hire an outfitter. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to help you. Good Luck and here is hoping you get “The Black Jaw Fever”
(Written by the Captain – aka Mark Ward)