Fishing season officially opens May 15
By Hookemharry

Posted: May 13, 2004

The fishing seasons officially open this Saturday, even though most Montanan fishermen have already been fishing somewhere this year.

Whether it was at a lake (most are open year round) or catch and release fishing on a river, anglers have been there. But the opening of official Montana fishing season enables anglers to start fishing some of the smaller creeks that have been closed for a few months.

Often these can be secret little spots. Some anglers will keep their creek fishing spots secret, much the same as an elk hunter keeps his hunting spot as secret as possible.

There are ways, however, of finding a good spot for Saturday’s opener if you don’t know of one already.

Most of the local sporting good stores are great sources of information of where the fish might be biting. When you buy your fishing license or get your gear and bait for the upcoming weekend, just visit with the store’s staff for a while.

Neal Cote reports that the northern pike fishing has really picked up on Seeley Lake and Salmon Lake. Cote e-mailed a couple of pike pictures that you can view on from his efforts over the past weekend.

Cote, if you recall was featured in the Missoulian Outdoor Section a few weeks back, as the angler that specializes in using flies when going after northern pike.

Cote says the numbers of pike he was catching was good and most of the pike he caught were smaller males. The bigger female pike are right in the middle of their spawning and should be ready to bite your offering as soon as the spawn is done and the water starts to warm up.

Mike Violette from Missoula also e-mailed me a nice looking picture of a Salmon that he caught last weekend in the Clearwater River in Idaho. Violette did say that the huge salmon run that everybody was talking about just a month ago might not materialize.

The fishing was slow and many anglers, according to Violette, were not having much luck. The next couple of weeks will tell the tale if the salmon will show up.

The perch bite on east Polson Bay of Flathead Lake has been good. The biggest problem has been the size of the perch being caught. Anglers are having a tough time catching anything that they can put in the frying pan. This year’s class just seems to be smaller.

The reservoirs over in the Helena area still seem to be a good bet for trout anglers as the trout finish up their spawning activity. The walleye bite, though, still has not materialized to speak of, but could start anytime.

The salmon fly hatch should also start next week on Rock Creek, according to Doug Persico. “I think the famous hatch could start around the 19th or 20th this month, it should be early because of the weather we have been having,” he added.

The Ron Hoppe Memorial Trap shoot concluded last weekend and some locals did well in the competition. Winners from around the Missoula area included Chuck Clinkenbeard from Plains, Jerry Sisler from Stevensville, Brad Clawson from Missoula, Mark Ketcham from Missoula, Hugh Martinson from Missoula, and Norm Jones from Missoula. The three-day trapshoot was held at the Missoula Trap and Skeet Club and featured 350 shooters from around the northwest and Canada.