Open Water in Montana: Captain’s Column 3.30.17
By angelamontana

Posted: March 30, 2017

Open water is now becoming a reality on some lakes around Montana. The reservoirs over by Helena are fast approaching open water with Canyon Ferry and Hauser still claiming a little bit of ice but most of the ice should be gone by the time you read this column. Sharon from the Silos RV on the south end of Canyon Ferry says the ice is off but as of last Saturday the wind blew it into 3 foot piles on the west shore, “You can launch a boat now but you have to be careful because of the ice buildup but the ice should be gone completely by this week”. If you plan on fishing Canyon Ferry might be a good idea to call Silos RV 406-266-3100 before you head out. Also make sure you stop at the watercraft inspection stations, it’s the law. You will also see new decontamination-cleaning requirements at Canyon Ferry and Tiber Reservoirs because invasive mussels were detected in those two reservoirs last fall. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of Clean, Drain, and drying your boat after every use on waters in Montana. Here are a few tips I would like to pass along from FWP in helping you with that process:

CLEAN.  Completely remove all mud, water, and vegetation before leaving the access area. Inspect your boat, trailer, and all gear. Pay attention to crevices and hidden areas. Remove all vegetation (by hand or sprayer). Remove all mud (use a pressurized power sprayer, found at most do-it-yourself car washes).  The hot water kills organisms and the pressure removes mud and vegetation. No need to use chemicals or soap. Dispose of debris in trash or on dry land away from water or ramp. DRAIN.  Drain all water from watercraft and equipment.  Drain or remove water from boat, bilge, live well, engine, internal compartments, and bait buckets by removing drain plugs and lower your motors to drain coolant water before leaving the access area. DRY because aquatic invaders can survive only in water and wet areas. Dry your watercraft and fishing equipment thoroughly; this will kill most invasive species.  The longer you keep your watercraft, trailer, waders, and other equipment outside in the hot sun between fishing trips, the better.

I have received a few fishing reports out of Holter Reservoir and all the reports have been good. Jim Swanson from the Bitterroot went fishing on Holter last weekend with his son William and Swanson said it was very good, “We used a jig tipped with a piece of worm and cast it away from the boat. We were hooking a trout on just about every cast so the fishing was excellent”. Swanson launched his boat at the Gates of the Mountain.  Jim Johnson from Lincoln put in at Log Gulch campground which is down river from the Gates and trolled for trout and he also said they didn’t have any trouble catching their limit, “The fishing was very good for us as we trolled j-7 rapalas and small spoons in 9-15 feet depth over 60-90 feet of water, most of the trout that we caught were in the 2-4 pound range”. Johnson did say that the docks are not in yet on Log Gulch or the lower campground so you might bring your waiters or hip boots along to help in launching your boat if you use those to boat ramps.

(Written by the Captain – aka Mark Ward)
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