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

Next river meeting is June 20 in Kalispell

June 13, 2018 at 8:16 am | Hungry Horse News The next comprehensive river management plan for the three wild and scenic sections of the Flathead River is June 20 in Kalispell. The meeting will be held in the lower level of the Arts and Technol...

Comments

Read More

You’ll catch more trout if you keep that line nice and straight

June 13, 2018 at 8:03 am | Hungry Horse News Keeping the fly line straight is one of the most important keys to catching fish. When the line has curves or waves, it only makes sense that a fish could actually pick up the fly and move it withou...

Comments

Read More

Kokanee salmon are hitting right now and they taste so good

June 06, 2018 at 8:08 am | Hungry Horse News Five Reasons to Like Kokanee Salmon • They’re easy to catch right now. Matter of fact, with all the rivers still blown out and water too cold for most insect hatches, kokanee salmon are pretty...

Comments

Read More

State Parks, Forest Service also dealing with crowds

June 06, 2018 at 8:02 am | Hungry Horse News Glacier National Park isn’t the only land agency dealing with crowds. The Flathead National Forest and Montana state parks also have their fair share of visitors as well. Montana State Parks had 2.7...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

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

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X