What’s Happening on Area Rivers and Lakes
By Hookemharry

Posted: April 19, 2001

It has been a couple of weeks since my last fishing report. That report focused on the local rivers. This one will take a look at lakes as well.

Doug Persico mentioned last time around that the Skwala hatch was going strong on the Bitterroot River. He told me this week that fishing is still good on the rivers. The Clark Fork has been producing well with some successful anglers using Green Drake patterns.

If the weather gets warmer, and the run-off starts, keep Rock Creek in mind as it is always the last to blow out from high water.

Now, let’s look at the lakes.

Dick Zimmer, from Pablo, reports that Flathead Lake is very hot for lake trout right now. He has been fishing off of Rocky Point using a 1/1/2-ounce, all-glow, Lead-a-gator or a 1-ounce all-glow Trilobite. Tip both with cut-bait.

Zimmer advises anglers to fish in 180 to 220 feet of water. Anglers have been catching quite a few lake trout in the 2-pound class.

If you want to try your luck from shore, I would suggest fishing off the City Docks in Polson.

Zimmer says the lake is about three feet higher than usual this time of the year. You can get your boat in the lake by using the Big Arm state boat ramp.

If your boat is 16 feet or smaller, he suggests the Walstad Memorial Park boat ramp. On the East Side of the lake both Blue Bay and Yellow Bay boat ramps are good to use.

Perch fishing should be starting up on Flathead Lake any day now according to Zimmer. He is expecting a good spring perch season, if the good winter ice fishing is any indication.

Reports out of the Thompson Falls area report good numbers of northern pike being caught. Ninepipes bass fishing has been slow.

If you’re looking to sneak over to Idaho, you just might find the best salmon fishing ever seen in recent times on the Clearwater River by Orofino. I talked to Stu Kestner at the Riverside Sports Shop there and even thought the season is not open yet the fish numbers point to an excellent year. The season opens this Saturday, April 21.

They are expecting close to 100,000 salmon this year. Last year, which was good according to anglers, saw around 38,000 reach the area. With two-and-a-half times that number this year, it should be fun catching these 12-15 pound salmon. Some reports say they might even run a little bigger.

Kestner also tells me that it’s the first time that he can remember the salmon and steelhead season will be open the same time through April 30th. Since both salmon and steelhead are fished with similar tactics, it should increase your chances of landing a good-sized fish.

Don’t think you need a boat to fish successfully either. Kestner estimates about 80 percent of the salmon caught last year were caught by shore anglers. If you can stand the crowds, your best bet for fishing from shore would be just below the face of the dam.