Captain’s Column: Opening Day of Fishing
By Kjel

Posted: May 17, 2012

It has finally arrived! The official opening day of fishing seasons begins this Saturday. All the creeks, rivers and some lakes that have been closed will now be fishable again this weekend. Well let me put this way; they will be fishable legally if you hold a Montana 2012-fishing license. The fishing will be one thing the catching will be quite challenging especially with most of the creeks and rivers. The opening this year has coincided with warm temperatures and that will certainly keep the spring run-off going strong in Western Montana Rivers. Lake anglers should not be affected by the high water but should enjoy the high-pressure system as it helps them reel in more fish.

The lakes over in east of the mountains north of Helena should continue to be excellent fishing. Canyon Ferry Lake is still producing trout as they cruise the shoreline on the north end of the reservoir. Walleye fishing are having continued success on the south end of the reservoir trolling worm harnesses and cranks in 10-18 feet of water.  Hauser Reservoir is still a good bet for trout below Canyon Ferry Dam. Holter Lake has been excellent for trout fisherman trolling Oxbow Bend into the main lake. Walleye fishing has been slow. Georgetown Lake opens this Saturday. Fishing should be good. Many anglers like to troll or use float tubes. It might be a good option for frustrated fly fishing anglers because of the high water they will be facing with the local rivers. Browns Lake might be another place to try some trout fishing. Anglers seem to be having luck trolling a leach type pattern fly two to three colors on a 40 to 50 foot leader. Midge wobblers are also working. Flathead Lake anglers can choose between perch and lake trout fishing. Now until the end of June lake trout will be feeding in the shallows on nearly the whole western side of the lake with Big Arm Bay, Elmo Bay, in between Cromwell and Wild Horse Island, the Narrows area, The Shelter-Cedar Island area, and the river mouth being good bets.  If you want to jig for the lake trout then use light head jigs baited with cut bait or with a whole bait fish 6-12 inches in length. West of the big lake Lake Mary Ronan might be a good bet to try the kokanee. The last couple of years on opening day it has been good for kokanee salmon. You won’t have any trouble finding out where the fish are on Lake Mary Ronan-just look for all the boats anchored and jigging for them.

Another good bet right now for kokanee salmon is Bitterroot Lake west of Kalispell. I have heard reports on that they have started to bite. Anglers have had the best luck trolling for them.

The Clearwater River in Idaho soon will soon be home to Chinook salmon if it isn’t already. The salmon run this year is expected to be as good as it has been in a longtime.

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