Where the Fish are Biting: Captain’s Column
By angelamontana

Posted: July 25, 2013

If you can handle the hot weather, you might find that there is some good fishing around Western Montana. If you want my recommendation, I probably would try to fish early in the morning till around 11am and then early evening till sunset. If you are fishing the rivers, make sure that you are aware if there any hoot owl restrictions from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks on the river that you are fishing. Water temperatures are getting higher everyday with the hot daytime temperatures, and these restrictions can be put into place at a days notice.

The lower Flathead River has been a good bet for both smallmouth bass and northern pike. Fishing is better in the morning. Try fishing the deeper holes for the bass, and troll the weed lines for the pike. The whole bait set-up is working well now on lake trout. Anchor in 85 to 100 feet of water. Look for drop-offs around the lake points, that seems to be where the larger lake trout are feeding. Lake Mary Ronan might be a good place to try and catch some perch. I have heard that the perch are biting and that you also might be able to catch some kokanee salmon trolling. If you try to jig for the salmon make sure you are fishing in 30 feet of water, most likely the deepest part of the lake.

Holter Reservoir trout fishing was slow for Steve Hellegaard of Missoula last week. If you are going to fish any of the reservoirs over by Helena for trout, I would suggest to troll about 25-30 deep. Adam Strainer FWP had this fishing report from Canyon Ferry Reservoir, “Some rainbow trout are being caught mid-reservoir to the Dam trolling attractors, tipped with worms, at depths around 20 feet or by using worms from shore. A good walleye bite continues to be the story with the sustained warmer water pattern. Fish from the south end to mid-reservoir by trolling worm harnesses, cranks or slow death rigs, tipped with worms or leeches, and try jigging bay points, in 5 to 45 feet of water, from mid reservoir to the Dam. A few large perch continue to be caught.”

The Mountain Man -John Perry had this report for Georgetown Lake and area rivers in Western Montana:

“Still good fishing out there for the fly fisherman. Georgetown Lake is probably the best place to go for rising fish in Western Montana. Slender and sparsely tied damsel dries are very effective now. Best fishing seems to be between 11 and 4 pm. The fish are cruising in certain areas and are readily taking the dries. Sometimes you may want to drop a small bead head nymph off of the dry-maybe 18 inches. Best colors are green, red, and purple. Best size is about 14 or 16. The upper part of Rock Creek is spotty-with dries – but nymph fishing is producing small cuts and lots of whitefish in the right runs. Bitterroot River is still unpredictable for most fly fishers and The Blackfoot is still good early morning to early afternoon with large attractor patterns. Lots of tubers on the Blackfoot-so pick your time and your section wisely to avoid the crowds”.

(Written by the Captain; Cover photo: loveyourbigmuddy.com)