Sunday, April 18, 2021

Fishing, a sure cure for the blues!

| April 30, 2020 1:00 AM

I doubt that is a newsflash for anyone, but in times like these, sometimes it pays to state the obvious.

I am almost embarrassed to say it, but after my last trip on the ice almost three weeks ago, I hadn’t been fishing until this week! But with the weather changing, and some much-needed upkeep accomplished on the boat, being back on the water with a fishing rod in my hands sure does take a load off my soul!

If you have been in the valley for at least a couple of years, you were probably surprised to see just how low Flathead Lake got this spring.

Getting within just a few inches of the absolute bottom pool of 2893 feet in elevation, it was the lowest I have seen it, certainly in recent memory. The operators of the dam must really feel like there will be some serious snowmelt (that could come off fast) but I haven’t seen it this low since we were in the 150-175% of normal snowmelt.

It will be up to almost 2,896 feet by the time you read this, still a long way from full, but more normal for this time of year.

Speaking of Flathead Lake, there are a lot of lake trout slowly working their way north along the edges of the center bar, as they do every year, once the river starts flowing harder.

A LOT of fish will begin to congregate along the mud line that develops as runoff begins in earnest. The warmer weather this week, accompanied by forecasted rains this weekend will really start to liven things up.

Until then, troll flatfish and other plugs, as well as big flies baited with some cut bait, right on the bottom on either side of the center bar and you will score.

Bass anglers are finding area smallmouth hungry and eager to take a tube or other crawfish imitators up shallow, as they prepare for their spawn, as evidenced by some absolute giants caught by anglers participating in last weekend’s Big Bass Bash on Echo Lake. Twenty-five anglers took to the water in the event promoted by Chancy Jeschke from Snappy Sport Senter, and some serious bags were weighed!

Congratulations to Jason and Annie Crone for first place with a great weight of 16.63 pounds!! They also took big fish with a giant 4.75-pound smallie that Annie caught!!

Second place went to Grady Floyd and Jacob Bell with 15.81 pounds. Third place went to Drew and Tiffany Forster with 15.72 pounds. Great job anglers and very cool to see the ladies getting it done!

The annual yellow perch spawn bite is in full swing down in East Bay on Flathead Lake, with some good numbers of jumbos filling coolers. Cool mornings with afternoon warming are just what these fish like, and now with the lake rising, access will get easier.

Once the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe decides to open the launches that are on Tribal Land to non-members, look for the launch at the Kwatuknuk to return to its very busy ways. Slip bobber rigs can be very effective here, as can small spinners and blade baits or a small jig with a fly about six inches above.

They aren’t very particular most days.

Lastly, the kokanee bite on Lake Mary Ronan should be gearing up, with bonus catches of nice yellow perch there as well. Look to the deeper areas for the kokanee, with the perch below the salmon, or slightly shallower.

State campgrounds are slated to be reopened tomorrow, Friday, May 1, so maybe this will be a great weekend to spend down there!

We are open and conducting charters, so let’s get you on a bite somewhere!

I’ll see you on the water.

Howe is the owner/outfitter at Howe’s Fishing, A Able and Mo Fisch Charters. Call 406-257-5214 or at