Monday, July 26, 2010
Full Of It
If you have fished or boated on many of the reservoirs in Montana the past decade, you have seen a prolonged period of drought and low water levels. However, decent mountain snowpack and moderate spring moisture have changed that. As of now, Fort Peck and nearly all of the major reservoirs on the Missouri River watershed are full. A few are even spilling into their flood pool.
It is truly a great sight to see people using the entire length of Fort Peck "lake". Boats can now travel from Crooked Creek all the way to the dam, a good haul of roughly 80 miles. Compared to fishing on some Midwestern lakes, Fort Peck fishing just went from quiet to desolate.
On a recent trip, Laura and I took the Lund into a weedy bay that we had to ourselves, roughly 10 miles from camp. We started fishing along the edge of young cottonwood trees, trees that were now nearly submerged from the lake's rapid rise. The first fish was a strong one, a fish that peeled off line like a northern pike. A pike it wasn't, as it was a meaty 32" walleye that was feeding in seven feet of water. I rarely had experienced good walleye fishing by casting crankbaits, but in this case, it was what the doctor ordered.
Deeper in the bay, we caught gold eye, sauger, catfish and even crappies on cranks. While it was remarkable to see the lake rise nearly 20 feet in two springs, it was even more remarkable to catch fish in strange places by methods I don't typically use. The big question is how the fish react this winter and next spring.