Weather slows start of hatches on local rivers
By Hookemharry

Posted: March 12, 2009

Recent cold weather has certainly affected the local river and stream fishing.

“Fishing traditionally starts on the Bitterroot River when the skwala stoneflies start hatching,” said Doug Persico from Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile. “Once this hatch starts there will be a mass exodus from all over the west and the Bitterroot will be crowded with both float and wade anglers.”

All the other area streams will be a week or so behind the Bitterroot River’s stonefly hatch with a hatch of their own. “I think when the March Brown hatch on Rock Creek is one of the best hatches of the year on the creek,” said Persico.

Rock Creek also has a good skwala hatch that has gotten better over the last couple of years.

The perch fishing is still good on Rainey Lake in about 20 feet of water. On Lake Inez in the Seeley Swan area, Tom Jenner says in his weekly fishing report that you can drill a hole just about anywhere on the north end of the lake and catch perch in about 12 feet of water. Most of the perch will be small but you can catch some really nice ones too.

“Placid Lake has been a disappointment this week as I have been there twice and have not been able to locate big perch,” said Jenner, “I did however catch some nice brookies and a bull trout along with some small perch.”

Jenner has been using small dark-colored jigs or spoons tipped with maggots.

The fishing report out of Seeley Lake has not been promising. Jenner says that what he has seen and heard is that the northern pike fishing is very slow but a few are still being caught on smelt in about 25 feet of water. Salmon Lake also seems to be slow for northern pike with some nice 10-12 inch perch being caught.

Spring Mack Days starts this weekend – or, to be precise, on Friday Mar. 13, on Flathead Lake. The annual derby runs Friday through Sunday and ends April 26.

The derby is sponsored by the Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The purpose is to gradually decrease the number of lake trout in the fishery and increase the native bull trout and westlope cutthroat trout numbers.

All it takes is one fish to win cash or prizes which will total over $45,000.

To enter, log onto There is no entry fee.

If you want some good pointers on how to catch lake trout on Flathead lake in the spring, I would recommend calling Dick Zimmer at 675-0068 for anglers fishing the south end of the lake and call Matt McCombs at Mo Fisch Fishing Charters at 261-6980 for anglers that intend on fishing the north end of Flathead during the derby.