Fishing in Montana

Montana offers many different types of fishing opportunities, from fly fishing, drift boat fishing, trolling on open water, shore fishing, to salmon snagging in some areas. Fishing in Montana is a great way to spend quality time with friends or a great way to get away to yourself. Fishing is not only fun but can supply you with food and many memories. Just remember to get proper licenses before fishing and have a great time! Here at Northwest Sports Center we stock all kinds of fishing supplies and sell fishing licenses six days a week. We recommend a local lure kit we've put together based on what local fishermen use -- Local Trout Lure Kit. Visit us in our store or online for some of the popular local lures mentioned in the paragraphs below. When you stop in, ask us what the fish are biting on in the local lakes near Eureka.

Fishing Mountain Lakes in Montana

The favorite type varies from person to person, my favorite is fishing from the shore on small mountain lakes. It is a great time to get out into the wilderness and do some trout fishing. All you need is a light to medium pole with a small reel filled with 6 lb line and an assortment of small lures. Once you have arrived at a small lake, look for sign of rising fish or use polarized sunglasses to actually see the fish swimming around in the water . Thatís where you need to start fishing. The best lures for trout in the smaller lakes are small, shiny, fluttery lures. My personal favorites are Panther Martin in a blue/silver pattern , Lil Jake-silver, or a Fish Creek spinner. If you cast the lure where you can watch the fish, they will usually follow your lure in until to see what it is and seldom are they able to resist biting it. If casting to the deeper areas of water does not work, try casting along shore where you can see submerged logs. Trolling on the bigger lakes is also very popular, and drift-boat fishing on some of the more shallow rivers. Of course, this requires a boat, so may not be as accessible to everyone. That is why shore fishing is so popular in Montana --anyone can do it with very little equipment.

Fly Fishing with a Regular Pole

I also like fly fishing with a regular rod and reel. Just put a fly on the end of your line and use a water- filled clear bobber about 3 feet from the fly. This method lets you get some distance on your fly cast and gets the fly out where the fish are swimming around. The fly naturally floats on the surface. On some days, flies work better then underwater lures. Watch what the fish are doing. If they are jumping and eating bugs either on the surface or flying low then try using the fly fishing technique. The fish in the upper mountain lakes seem to bite best in the early day hours or late in the evening. But you never know, so give it a try any time. The fun is in the fishing, after all, not just in the catching. Nothing tastes better then fresh-caught fish fried over an open fire. Mmmmmm. What a way to end a great day of fishing in the mountains of Montana!

Salmon Snagging in Montana

The other type of fishing I really like is snagging salmon in the fall. We have a limited season that opens September 15th and runs through the end of November. However, the fish run out long before November. Here in Eureka, the Koocanee salmon are smaller salmon, usually 7 to 11 inches long. They live in the Koocanusa Reservoir and in the fall, swim upstream in The Tobacco Valley River, to spawn and die. Thatís why we get to snag them, as they are going to die anyway. They generally start running near the end of August or early September and can also be fished at this time. They do not feed when in the spawning mode, so to catch them you have to upset them to get them to bite. I find a bright orange or red glow hook, or panther martin spinner will do the trick: just keep placing the hook in front of them and they finally will bite it just to make it stop bothering them. Once snagging season opens, the best way to snag is off a bridge since you can see where your hook is. Use a heavy pole with a reel spooled with 10 lb line or heavier. A weighted 6/0 or 4/0 treble hook is the hook that works best. Just let out some line and throw the hook into a pool of salmon, pause for one to swim over your hook, and then jerk back. You should have no trouble getting your limit of 20. Once you have mastered the technique, then you make it harder by picking a particular salmon to snag and go after him. This is harder and more sporting. I take my salmon home , clean them, smoke them for about 4 hours and then can them. It is a great treat in the middle of winter to open a jar of canned, smoked salmon! As I eat them, I remember the fun time I had snagging them with friends.


--Tammy Owen, Northwest Sports Center in Eureka, Montana

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