Some fishing options for the holiday weekend
By Hookemharry

Posted: May 23, 2002

Fishing reports from the lakes have reflected much better angling success in the past week – just in time for the Memorial Day weekend holiday.

I went fishing myself with Dick Zimmer from Pablo. It took a bit to talk him into going fishing because his tackle business is doing quite well and he has been busy filling orders for retailers around Western Montana.

But we took off for a little perch fishing in the East Bay of Flathead Lake. Perch fishing has slowed a little since the last time I went a couple of weeks ago. But we caught over 300 perch in about five hours and threw most of them back for lack of size.

At day’s end, we had just about filled a five-gallon bucket. Among the perch in that bucket, was a pound-and-a-half fish caught by Zimmer. He said it is the biggest perch he has caught in a few years on the lake.

How long will the good perch bite – the best in quite a few years on Flathead – going to last? It should go on at least until the end of the month, according to Zimmer.

Lake trout fishing has been hit and miss, Zimmer said. “Some days you can really get into the macks. Other days it just shuts off, which is typical for May,” he said.

Zimmer also told me that his fishing buddy, Doug White, continues to do well trolling for kokanee salmon on Bitterroot Lake, about 18 miles west of Kalispell. Zimmer also mentioned that he has had very good bass fishing on Crow Reservoir, west of Ronan.

Because of the long weekend, if you are looking to get out of Western Montana and go east for some lake fishing, I might suggest some lakes that have traditionally done well during this three-day holiday.

Tongue Reservoir, south of Billings, has been a hot spot for crappies on Memorial Day weekend and the bite has already started. Last year the crappie fishing was great with some nice hand size fish taken. This year, the daily crappie bag limit has been doubled from 15 to 30 per person.

Walleye anglers that travel over to Nelson Reservoir east of Malta (654-1442) have had success in past years on Memorial Day weekend as well.

Last year, the walleye bite turned on during Memorial Day weekend on Canyon Ferry Lake (266-3100). Reports out of Lake Francis (279-3600) have been better this past week for both northern pike and walleye. And Nancy Nelson tells me that Tiber Marina (759-7100) is open but the fishing has been slow.

Remember when you travel east of the mountains to call ahead for updated fishing and boat ramp information. Also, make sure you have your warm water fishing stamp for the waters that require it.

FLOAT TUBERS: Brent Gargermeier e-mailed me to let me know about an organization that might be of interest to you. The Handicapped Float Tubers Association (HFTA).

Gagermeier says their goal is to encourage, support and offer a little ray of hope to the physically challenged. The non-profit group works on field-testing products, fishing tips, recipes and more. They have members all over the world. You can log onto their web site at

TRAPSHOOTING: The Hamilton Trap Club will host the ATA registered World Doubles Challenge on June 28-29. Five members of the club will push the game of doubles trapshooting to the limit as they try to beat the previous record of 30,000 squad targets in twenty-four hours.

More important than breaking the record will be raising money for Camp Mak-A-Dream. To raise money, they will hold silent auctions, hourly raffles, door prizes and have a benefit dinner June 28.

Call Mary Gehl, the President of the club and the event coordinator, to see how you can get involved or make a donation. Good Luck on the record!

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