Western MT Fishing Report by Neal Cote with Bob Ward’s Sports & Outdoors 7.24.19
By angelamontana

Posted: July 25, 2019

Lake Fishing

Flathead Lake- Whitefish bite has started slow but is picking up at Elmo and Big Arm. Also look to the delta on the north in 40-50’.  Rattle Dezastors, Buckshot jigging spoons and Swedish Pimples all work.

Salmon- Water clarity is good until around noon, then the wakeboats and jet skis churn it up to a froth. Kokanee fishing is decent right now. Trolling Triple Teazers and NeedleFish 18 to 24” behind a small flasher 100-120 ft back works great. Trolling speeds 1.8-2 mph. As the warmer days stack up, look for them to drop down to the 20-30’ range. Downriggers and leaded line rigs are the way to present lures at these depths.  Pike fishing has slowed way down and only small fish are consistent, with the fish keying to the weed beds, and numbers have been hard to come by.

Seeley-Same as Salmon, with the Kokanee size a little smaller. Lots of non-fishing boat traffic. Pretty much a beer drinking and gas burning mess on the weekends.

Placid- Kokanee fishing is good. Trolling Needlefish, Teazers, and smaller spoons 5-15’ is working well. 100-120’ back and try to go 1.9-2.2mph. Make sure to troll big “S” patterns to speed up and slow down your gear and get more strikes. A fair amount of Cutthroat are also being caught. Bass fishing is decent. Don’t forget that it is catch and release only for Bass here. 

Ninepipes-Bass fishing has slowed, water level is decent on the reservoir. Here is the regulations: Taken from CSKT Regulations> From March 1-July 15 fishing is allowed in two areas along the shorelines as follows: (a) from the picnic area, located near the south west corner of the reservoir, north and east around the reservoir to the posted sign and; (b) from the Highway 93 bridge, located on the east side of the reservoir north and west around the reservoir to the posted sign.  The bass limit is 5 fish, with only 2 fish over 15 inches. Soft plastics fished slow are your best bet. Spinnerbaits are also good for covering water. Black has been the color of choice. Water levels make wading interesting.

Pablo- Regulations as follows: Taken from CSKT Regulations (iv) It is open the balance of the year along the north and east shorelines from the inlet canal to the south end of the dike as posted, The use of lead or lead-based lures or sinkers is prohibited.  The bass limit is 5 fish, only 2 over 15 inches, and all bass over 12 and less than 15 inches must be released. Pike flyfishing off the dike has slowed with the hotter temps, with lots of 18-26” males making up most of the catch. 

Georgetown- Fishing for trout has slowed right now. The weedbeds are getting pretty near the surface making fishing difficult. Fish are still searching for Damsel Fly Nymphs and adults on top. Look for caddis hatches to start up in the evenings to dark.

Browns- Once it got hot, the bite here died off. 

Holter-(Upper) Walleye fishing has slowed greatly. Jigging points with 1/8 -1/4oz jigs tipped with half a crawler or leech fished right on the bottom have been producing OK bites. Perch fishing is just OK on the 18-20’ drop offs near weed beds. Lower Holter is fishing slow, and the slime and moss are a big pain! 

Canyon Ferry- For walleye, jig points with 1/16-1/8 jigheads tipped with Berkley Fluke minnows. Use a fairly aggressive snap then fall. Berkley Flicker Shad and Rapala Shad raps fished right on the bottom or Crawler harnesses are the ticket to cover water. Look for fish to move deeper as the water temp climbs, and possibly suspend as they search out Hex Mayflies. Look for bait balls of baby perch to start a suspended bite.

Hauser- Below Canyon Ferry Dam, open water fishing for Trout has slowed way off. The walleye fishing is slow, but if you fish early in the day, you can get some fish Think Jigs teamed with soft plastics like flukes and grubtails. Don’t forget Rapalas and stick baits fished along rock breaks, these could get bit by Walleye, Browns and Rainbows and are great for covering water. 

Noxon- Water level has not been stable here all summer. You have to pick your battles and stick to the basics. Look for the walleye fishing to slow way down and the fish to be spread out. Pike fishing is very slow, and it doesn’t look to improve until fall at this point. With two winters of ice fishing, a lot of the larger pike are gone, and the ones that are left are pretty smart, and few and far between. Bass fishing is also slowing down, and the fish are moving deeper.

River Fishing

Clark Fork- Is fishing OK early in the day, but the afternoons are going to die off as the hot days stack up. Hoppers, attractor patterns, and PMD& PED’s are the dries of choice. Nymph fishing is also a good bet, with smaller sizes 16-18 bead heads being the best choice. If you are putting in at Kelly Island, be aware that there is a big snag just down river that has to be portaged around. Spruce Moths are starting to be reported as well. It is crowded on some sections, so be courteous and take your time.

Rock Creek- Fishing is decent, PMD’s and Caddis are making up the best choices. Also have some Hoppers and Stimulators!!!! Again, pretty crowded on the weekends, so make sure to scout out your spots early.

Bitterroot-Fishing is decent with hoppers and PMD’s. Nymphing with your choice of bead head nymphs in sizes 14-18 will also produce. Look for the mornings to be best, and the afternoons to be worst. Lots of pressure here with guides and local anglers, so have a second spot in mind if you pick a busy section.

Blackfoot-Fishing is fair here, with PMD’s and Golden Sally as well as hoppers and Attractor patterns. Spruce Moths are starting up here as well. Lower river is starting to see the Float Tube hatch, so you might pick some higher floats if you fish here.