Montana Outdoor Report by Neal Cote with Bob Ward’s 9.4.19
By angelamontana

Posted: September 5, 2019

Definitely feeling like fall in the mornings!!!! You know what that means, bulls sounding off and big fish starting to put on the feed bag getting ready for winter!!! Time to get out there!!!!

Lake Fishing

Flathead Lake- Whitefish bite has changed, and the fish are really starting to move around, and the Lake Trout fishing is really good on the upper lake. Trolling Dodgers and flies or Hoochies is dynamite right now for the Lakers. If you are wanting to get into the Whitefish, target points from Rocky Point on the west side to Woods bay on the east. 50-65’ has been the depth, and Rattle De Zastors, Castmasters, and bigger Swedish Pimples jigged right on the bottom are the ticket.

Salmon- Pike fishing is still slow, but as the days get shorter, those big girls are looking to put on the pounds for fall. Look for baitfish schools and target the edges of the schools with big offerings. This is the time to throw the biggest stuff like Magnum Rapalas and Large Spoons.  Perch fishing always improves here the end of August, target deeper weed transitions with a 1/16 ounce jig head tipped with a crawler piece or a Berkley 2” Gulp Minnow.

Seeley-Same as Salmon, Bass fishing has improved. Pike fishing is still slow, but if the weather cools down, it will improve.

Placid- Kokanee fishing is slowed way down, looks like they are starting to stage up for the spawn here. Trout fishing has started to get better in the early mornings, and trolling gold spoons is the ticket. Think Thomas lures!!! 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. You only have until the Waterfowl opener to fish here, so if you are thinking of going, now is the time. Top waters and plastics are your go to’s here.

Pablo- Same as Ninepipes, it closes when Waterfowl season kicks off.  

Georgetown- Is starting to pick up for trout. It will be a streamer bite with bigger buggers and Zonker patterns for the active fish.  Some are still searching for Damsel Fly Nymphs and adults on top. Look for caddis hatches in the evenings to dark.

Browns- Starting to be a little productive, especially in the early mornings. 

Holter-(Upper) Walleye fishing has started to show some life. 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. Target the deeper edges in 20-25’ and fishing low light periods. Perch fishing is picking up on the 18-20’ drop offs near weed beds. 

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. Use Berkley Flicker shad in smaller sizes either on leaded line with 3-5 colors out, or 20-30’ down off the down rigger.

Hauser- Below Canyon Ferry Dam, open water fishing for Trout has picked up a little. 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- Bass fishing has started to pick up again, and the fish are keying on the 15-20’ drop offs and transition. Water clarity is decent, and should stay ok as long as Avista doesn’t get greedy and keep messing with the water levels. A few decent sized pike are starting to show up, but the Walleye bite is still slow.

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 Tricos are now 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. 

Rock Creek- Fishing is good for Tricos but make sure to lengthen your leaders!!!! Fish are pretty picky and if they see your leader, you’re done. Also have some Hoppers, Ants, and Stimulators!!!! 

Bitterroot-Fishing is decent with hoppers and PMD’s. Tricos in the afternoos as well. Nymphing with your choice of bead head nymphs in sizes 14-18 will also produce. Look for the mornings to be best.

Blackfoot-Fishing is fair here, hoppers and Attractor patterns and start stripping big streames. Spruce Moths are here as well. Lower river DEFINATLY seeing the Float Tube hatch, so you might pick some higher floats if you fish here.