By Robert Lucke
by Robert Lucke
Thursday, May 20
Since stream fishing opened last weekend, Kent Gilge, Havre fish biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, has a fishing update for area streams.
I took my 8-year-old out to Beaver Creek last weekend for the first day of fishing season, Gilge said. We fished above Bear Paw Lake and the fishing was great. There were lots of rainbow trout in there with the largest being around 13 inches.
Another of Gilges sons fished Beaver Creek below Beaver Creek Reservoir.
We need to let people know there is a tremendous trout fishery below Beaver Creek Reservoir, Gilge added. It probably goes all the way down to Fort Assinniboine.
Why fish area streams at all is a question that Gilge quickly answers with that fishermans gleam in his eye.
One of the biggest lures of stream fishing is that you are fishing for wily, wild fish, born and raised in the creeks with the exception of brown trout which we periodically stock, said Gilge. Streams in this area are very under utilized. There are more fish in those streams then people realize. And fishing those streams takes a lot of skill. In fact it is a lot like hunting. Youve got to know where the fish are, how to get them on the hook and how to get them out of the stream once they are on the line. It is a lot like hunting, not like the fishing that is throwing a line and bobber over the side of a boat and waiting for something to happen.
Through the years, the philosophy of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has changed regarding Montana trout streams. It used to be that Bear Paw streams were stocked on a yearly basis. Not anymore.
For the most part, streams will produce everything they need as long as there is successful natural reproduction. Stocking fish on top of that actually becomes detrimental to the fishing, Gilge commented. People need to know we concentrate on protecting and restoring the habitat. It is like Field of Dreams. If you have it, they will come. We have a number of stream habitat projects in the works for Beaver Creek Park in conjunction with the new road. Habitat and water are the keys to maintaining and improving fishing.
Most area creeks look good for stream fishing this spring.
That creek is loaded with brookies, Gilge said. They are just waiting for someone to come and get them. There are all sizes but in Cow Creek. Eleven or 12 inches, a nice size. Best access at Cowans Sand Creek Ranch. You do need to get permission before you access the creek.
Peoples Creek above Cleveland is excellent Brook trout fishing, said Gilge. It is very dense with willows and mostly on private land. Between the Ferry road and Cleveland is the best fishing.
Tributaries like Henderson and Anderson creeks can be good. Fish are up there but not all the time. When there is good water there will be fish. Brook trout are mainly fall spawners and if there is water in those tributaries in the fall, they tend to be good fishing, said Gilge. Upper Clear Creek from the Crowley Ranch up should be good fishing now but the best fishing on Clear Creek is from the road to Havre and Sucker Creek up to the Young or Crowley ranch.
Little Box Elder Creek:
Most of the best brook trout fishing on that creek is done for several miles up and down the creek from the Faber School, Gilge continued. The creek is a fishery for both brook trout and rainbow.
Lower Beaver Creek from Beaver Creek Reservoir to Fort Assinniboine is good fishing for rainbow and brown trout, Gilge said. Between Beaver Creek Reservoir and Bear Paw Lake is good fishing for rainbow and browns and they get large from time to time. But the easiest of all the fishing of all on Beaver Creek is above Bear Paw Lake to the reservation.
Beaver Creek in the Little Rockies:
Beaver Creek in the Little Rockies is good for brook trout, Gilge said. Access to the creek is above the Camp Creek Campground at Zortman and fishing is good. We were up there one time and found five brook frout per foot of that stream. Unbelievable!
Most area streams are on private land. Permission must be granted before fishing. Other areas like Beaver Creek Park are fee areas. Further information and maps are available at the Havre Fish, Wildlife and Parks office.