By Robert Lucke
There is a brand new area fishery, announced Havre fish biologist Kent Gilge.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has been working since 1994 to develop the Cow Creek Reservoir 15 miles south of Lloyd.
The new kid on the block is the opening of Cow Creek Reservoir, Gilge said. This opportunity and access is provided through the courtesy of the Bill Cowan family. It has been stocked by our department since 1994. Currently it contains many walleye in the one to two pound class and channel catfish of the same size.
There are also tiger moskies in the reservoir, Gilge added. Some of them are approaching legal size which is thirty inches. I should reiterate that there are no northern pike in the reservoir so any pike like creature that people catch must be thirty inches long for them to keep.
Access to the site is well signed and regulations include motor boat use with a no wake restriction.
Before 1994, the reservoir was not much good for fishing.
The reservoir was, prior to 1994 inhabited solely with vast numbers of suckers and minnows which precluded management for trout, said Gilge.
Cow Creeks Reservoir will be good for fishermen if fishermen help in keeping it neat and clean.
It really behooves fishermen to remember that it is open at the pleasure of the Cowan family. Be sure while at the site to follow all the regulations and pick up all your garbage and any other garbage there too, Gilge said.
Fall fishing in most other Northern Montana areas is good, according to Gilge.
Beaver Creek Reservoir in fishing for other than trout is good, said Gilge. Trout fishing is not good due to northern pike perdition. A few very large trout are in there. In fact some people thought we had stopped stocking Beaver Creek Reservoir because the fishing got slow. In the last three years we have stocked close to 200,000 trout, most in the seven to nine inch size. Right now people fishing the reservoir are catching almost entirely walleye and perch.
Bear Paw Lake final figures are in on sucker elimination, Gilge continued. Through 1999 we have eliminated 7,500 pounds of suckers. Small mouth bass are keeping small suckers in check and the lake is starting to provide decent fishing. Trout numbers are up in the lake.
Bailey Reservoir is a great perch and croppie fishery all summer long and should be into the winter, Gilge said.
If there is a bad note concerning area fishing, it is sucker numbers at Ross Reservoir and Faber Reservoir.
Those reservoirs are suffering. Trout are starving and suckers have taken over, Gilge said with a shake of his head. The stage is set for us to help in Ross and Faber but we have to take care of them when the time comes.
Helping those reservoirs includes draining them and that is best done when owners can utilize the water drained from the reservoirs.
We are waiting for a drought year, Gilge said. We are in limbo now until we are able to deal with it.
Area creeks are a best guarded secret, according to Gilge.
The creeks have good water and provided just excellent fishing, Gilge said. The guys that fish them do phenomenally well. They come up to me all the time and say, Man, I got a bunch of 15-inch brookies in Little Box Elder Creek. I guess it is a different style of fishing. People arent turned on to it and guys who fish the creeks are glad that no one else does.
Fresno Reservoir has been good for walleye this year. In fact there have been more bigger walleye taken this year then probably the last five years. There again, it is strictly due to good water levels and good fish management, Gilge said. However, medium to large size rainbow are quite abundant.
And Dry Fork Reservoir north of Chinook is just excellent for northern pike and perch, Gilge commented. And it is going to be excellent through the winter.