Smalley gets crowded at Echo Lake, skunked at Lake Francis

Print Article

Doggone it, I did it again! Every year we get high river runoffs, conventional fishing wisdom says, “fish lakes.” Many local anglers have been scoring good catches of kokanee salmon, but a person can only eat or smoke so many salmon.

One evening last week, in an effort to catch some bass, I pulled my small fishing boat to the public access on Echo Lake.

Trailer rigs were parked for a quarter mile on both sides of the county road! At 6 p.m. there was no way I was going to launch, then brave the scramble of crazies rushing to load their boats and go home.

So I drove home.

I’ve learned FWP paid $500,000 for that easement from DNRC, then another $250,000 to develop the site, but there’s on-site room for only 30 vehicles and about a dozen attached trailers.

The next morning I bought two dozen nightcrawlers and headed for Lake Francis, near Valier.

In doing so I had violated Chinook walleye guru Dallas Denter’s edict, “I don’t fish walleyes until after the fifteenth of June.”

Years ago, when I compiled a weekly state-wide fishing report, I relied on Denter for up-to-date reports.

Previous years’ fishing calendars show “very few” or “skunked” entries for the first week in June.

This year, it will be the latter.

I arrived about 10 a.m., planning to hang around until dark unless limited by noon, but my lofty anticipations were dashed.

The first guy I met said, “You’re wasting your time. I haven’t caught a fish since the wind switched to the east.”

I’d done some reading that, after spawning at a temperature of 45 degrees, females lose their appetite and hang out in deeper water, while smaller males may hang out around the reeds, even suspending.

I didn’t mark a fish on the bottom on my finder until mid-afternoon, when I found two or three small groups of suspended fish. Could’ve been perch.

Patience, Fishful. Give those walleyes another couple weeks.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

For cranes, a rest area preserved

September 22, 2017 at 5:00 am | Hungry Horse News You hear them before you see them, sandhill cranes, their prehistoric calls make you look up and take notice as they set their great wings and land in the fields surrounding the wetlands west of Kali...

Comments

Read More

Small swivels the cure for line twist

September 20, 2017 at 7:50 am | Hungry Horse News Few things are more frustrating to spin fishermen than line twist. Especially when fishing monofilament line, because monofilament line has memory. In other words, once twisted, the line retains th...

Comments

Read More

Wildfires and their impacts on fish

September 13, 2017 at 8:53 am | Hungry Horse News Recently I stopped at FWP Region One headquarters in Kalispell and asked Fisheries Biologist Amber Steed what effects wildfires have on fish. “One of the biggest negative effects of wildfire is the ...

Comments

Read More

FWP proposes bird dog training rule changes

September 13, 2017 at 8:47 am | Hungry Horse News ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2017 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X