High water hurting king fishermen
By Hookemharry

Posted: June 6, 2002

Local rivers do not have a monopoly on high water when it comes to affecting fishing conditions.

In Idaho, on the Clearwater River, king salmon anglers have been forced off the river a number of days this past week as well because of high water.

Heather, at Riverside Sport Shop (208-476-5418) in Orofino, says the Clearwater River is high, but is a bit clear. Where the difficulty lies with anglers is navigating the debris that is coming down the river.

On Monday, she said it would be hard to predict when the river would come down enough to make it better to fish. She did tell me that there were only a couple of boats that she could see fishing on her drive from Orofino to Lewiston.

Healther also told me that the North Fork of the Clearwater was offering decent fishing for kings. In fact, one angler brought in a 27-pound king the other day.

Fishermen are using Kwikfish, if they’re fishing from boats, and are primarily using slip bobbers and jigs if they’re fishing from shore.

For anglers who head that way planning to fish salmon, but find water conditions poor on the Clearwater when they arrive, there is the possibility of sturgeon fishing on the Snake River.

That is what Bob Culp, of Frenchtown, and Dr. Joe Thompson, from Missoula, did and they caught and released a couple of dandy sturgeon. Culp was able to land an 8-foot, 1-inch sturgeon that weighed 275 pounds and had a 39-inch girth. Thompson hooked into a 9-foot, 3-inch sturgeon that weighed 440 pounds with a 48-inch girth.

Culp told me it took Thompson four hours to land his monster. Snake River Adventures guided Culp on his trip. Snake River Adventures can be reached at 800-262-8874.

Jim Farrington and his wife Chris, from Stevensville, fished Canyon Ferry for walleyes over the past weekend but didn’t have much success. The lake is still low because of construction of a boat ramp at Goose Bay.

Farrington told me that the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks did some of their regularly scheduled netting recently and reported large numbers of walleyes in the nets placed at Hole in the Wall and around the first dike on the south end of the lake.

The water temperature and level keeps coming up everyday and the hope is that the now-famous Canyon Ferry walleye bite should turn on by this weekend. Call Gary or Lisa at Silos RV 406-266-3100 for updated information.

Hauser Lake is holding its annual Sunrise Rotary Fishing Derby this Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets will be available at the Lakeside Resort boat ramp on the day of the tournament. The largest game fish taken will win a first place cash prize. For more information on the tournament, call Duey Bruce at 406-442-4490.

Trout and walleye fishing have been slow to fair on Hauser Lake, but rising water temperatures could turn that around by the weekend. I will be broadcasting live from the fishing derby headquarters from 6 to 8 a.m. Saturday on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show and should be able to offer you more information.

Trout fishing has picked up on all three big Helena area reservoirs with Holter probably your best bet right now.

Nancy Nelson e-mailed and told me the fishing at Tiber Dam was still slow but the lake was rising 4-5 inches per day. The water temperature was also on the rise and should start producing some pretty good fishing before too long. The Tiber walleye tourney is June 22-23. To enter or just get updated fishing information, call Nancy at 406-759-7100.

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