By Robert Lucke
Fishing is great this time of year almost anywhere in this part of Montana said Kent Gilge, Fish Biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
With a lot of suckers taken out of Bear Paw Lake, that fishery is especially good this year.
"From fishing results we are starting to see a response in trout," said Gilge. "We are getting good reports on the average size of trout. They are not quite to the size we want, but that is coming."
Between netting suckers and introducing Small Mouth Bass into Bear Paw Lake in 1993, suckers in the reservoir have been virtually eliminated. The accompanying graph does not show results of the year 2000 netting in the lake.
"With what we got out of the lake this year, there are only about 1500 suckers in the lake and only about an average of three quarters of a ton altogether," added Gilge.
For hot spots this fishing season, Gilge recommends Dry Fort Reservoir north of Chinook.
"This place is really hot now for Northern Pike," said Gilge.
Stream fishing might be the best of all the fishing in this part of the country this summer.
"I am hearing really good results on creek fishing," continued Gilge. "The area between Bear Paw Lake and Beaver Creek Reservoir has just been excellent for really big Rainbow and Brown trout. And below Beaver Creek Reservoir is really good too. I haven't heard any reports from Clear Creek, but waters are good, so fishing should be good there. But Little Box Elder must be really good. I heard of some people taking from twelve to fifteen inch brookies out of that creek."
Where does Gilge stream fish? On Cow Creek. He says the fishing is great and hardly anyone else ever fishes there.
If you are fishing Fresno, just be patient, advises Gilge.
"Fresno is iffy, because it is going down so fast," said Gilge. "But within a month, the fish should be extremely concentrated so fishing will be really good."
There might not be Walleye tournaments on Beaver Creek Reservoir, but walleye fishing is great there.
"They are catching a lot of nice walleye out of the lower lake," said Gilge. "More and more of them are from five to ten pounds."
Cow Creek Reservoir is just fair so far this season. But it should get better and if variety is your thing, that is the place to be. That reservoir is home to Walleye, Catfish and an occasional Tiger Muskie.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks is working on sucker irradiation programs this year on Ross Reservoir, Faber Reservoir and Sentinel Reservoir in Phillips County.
"The cost to rehabilitate those reservoirs is expensive," said Gilge. "We wait for a low water year like this one and we can treat those reservoirs at one third of the cost."
Introducing fish illegally into area reservoirs still plagues Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
"Just the other day I got a report of a Northern Pike in Resers Reservoir," Gilge said with a sigh.
Fish battles are never ending for the Havre fish biologist, but at least in most areas fishing is great. That is some consolation.