MT Opening Fishing Day: Captain’s Column 5.18.17
By angelamontana

Posted: May 18, 2017

Montana’s opening day of fishing officially kicks off this Saturday May 20th. The fact that Montana has a opening fishing day at all might sound a little strange to the casual angler. After all most of us have been fishing on Montana lake’s, river’s and reservoir’s all year long. The opener of fishing in Montana has more to do with the streams and tributaries that have been closed since last December 1st up until this Saturday. Since warm days or rain can affect the clarity of those streams fishing in those streams is always anybody’s guess in May.

I am sure some anglers have their favorite fishing hole that they go to during the opening weekend. Other anglers are more interested in what the main river conditions are for this time of the year. Carolyn Persico from Rock Creek Fisherman Mercantile reports that she and other anglers are now on the watch for salmon flies on the creek. This is the latest report from their web site as of Monday, “I would recommend not wading at all, but simply fishing the shorelines where the fish are likely holding.  There was a big hatch of Mother’s Day caddis around 6 PM Tuesday May 9th, so if you can find a spot where the river isn’t raging and perhaps has some clarity, fish those bugs or a large nymph like the Big Hole Crawler.  For the best odds, head up to the top of the Creek near Philipsburg or try the West Fork in the same area. The river flow on Rock Creek near Clinton on Monday was 2,220 cfs.” The creek’s medium flow for this time of the year is 1360 cfs so it is running quite a bit faster with less clarity, but Persico knows river conditions can change quickly, “Things will improve quickly, and big bugs are right around the corner, so stay tuned, friends”!

This report came from the Kingfisher fly shop web site on Rock Creek, “Rock Creek is high and dirty and much more of a boaters game right now. Every year the river changes, so if you are going to float use extreme caution. The upper end will be your best shot for wade fishing. The Missouri, Browns Lake, Harpers Lake, Beavertail pond, Warm Springs, and Frenchtown Pond are some of your other options.”

Georgetown Lake is one lake that has been closed but it opens this Saturday except for the south and east shore line area. That area includes all waters from the shore or within 100 yards of shore in the area extending from a point 200 yards west of Denton’s Point Marina to point 200 yards north from the mouth of North Fork Flint Creek.

Lake Mary Ronan is open to kokanee salmon fishing but as of Monday there has not been very many good reports. If you are looking to kokanee fish you might try Georgetown Lake or Placid Lake, which now has a 20 day limit and 40 in possession on kokanee salmon.

The lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake is still going good. Spring Mack Days concluded last Sunday with 37,195 fish turned in by 226 of the 633 anglers that entered this spring’s contest. That is the second highest fish total in the history of Spring and Fall Mack Days.

So, considering the current high water in Western Montana rivers, your best bet might just be fishing Montana’s fishing opener this year in lakes and reservoirs that have been open all year long.

(Written by Mark Ward – aka the Captain)
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