June 6, 2008 Montana Fishing Roundup

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This is a brief synopsis of fishing conditions and reports from select waters across the state.   For more detailed information, contact a fly shop, bait store, or boat marina for the particular water.   For detailed information on river flows, visit:   http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mt/nwis/current?type=flow

What makes for a “normal” year of river flows and fishing?   If you go back over the past 25 years or so, conditions for spring of 2008 are not out of the ordinary.   Compared to the past eight to ten years though, this has been a cold, wet spring, and there is no end in sight to the high water.   Rivers are high and muddy, and many reservoirs are either filling fast, or have already filled and are still muddy and full of floating debris.    Conventional wisdom says this is the time of year to concentrate on lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and wait to fish the rivers until the waters have cleared, dropped and warmed up.   No matter where you choose to fish though, be extra cautious.   There is no substitute for safety, and no safety rule is more important than this one:   wear your life jacket!      

  Some of the best fishing bets right now:

  Beaverhead River – This tailwater fishery has escaped the high flows plaguing many of the other nearby waters.   Either flies or spinning tackle are a good option

  Fort Peck Reservoir – There is always something biting on this huge reservoir, and right now, the fishing is good for some big walleyes.

  Lake Koocanusa –   Worth a try if your looking for kokanee salmon.

  Nelson Reservoir – A wet year means the mosquitoes will soon be a force to reckon with along the Hi-Line, so bring your insect repellent when you head to Nelson to enjoy the good walleye fishing.

  Rock Creek – The bigger rivers around Missoula are not in good shape right now, but Rock Creek is probably your best option if cabin fever has set in.   Salmonflies will be starting soon—but BE CAREFUL!

  Swan Lake – Cool water temps may keep the pike in shallower water, and more active. Flyrodders are learning to enjoy catching toothy pike on large streamer patterns, but a smelt fished below a bobber is always a good bet too.

  Tiber Reservoir – Both the walleye and northern pike bite are starting to pick up.

  Tongue River Reservoir – Spring in southeast Montana means its time to head for Tongue River Reservoir.   There are few places in the state better suited to catching lots of fish- especially hungry crappies than here.  

  Wadsworth Pond – While normally not considered blue ribbon water, Wadsworth Pond, located just outside Great Falls will once again host the largest kids fishing clinic in the state this weekend (Saturday June 7).   It’s a great chance to learn about fish and fishing in Montana, and an opportunity for the entire family to spend a little time fishing together.

  Willow Creek Reservoir:   Good fishing either from shore or from a boat, casting or trolling lures, or just still fishing with nightcrawlers.