Kokanee biting shrimp on Lake Mary Ronan
The first few days of the general fishing season were somewhat blustery, which made fishing for kokanee on Lake Mary Ronan a little difficult. We most often use an anchor off the stern as well as the bow of the boat to be as stationary as possible. The fish respond best to stationary presentation; it is easier to feel the bites, and you’ll remain over whatever chum you are using to concentrate the fish and keep them feeding.
On Monday, May 18, Roger Smart and I motored to the mid-west side of the lake. I like to fish just north of the rise there, but during our sonar search we lost our bearing. But when we began to see fish on the screen at a 35-foot depth we anchored up and began fishing. I tried combinations of corn, night crawler, and maggots. Roger went strictly with raw shrimp (crawdad tail works as well). After he’d caught five fish to my one it was time to make the switch. Within the hour and a half we each had our 10 fish limit. Our Ready to Go Kokanee setup with a new straight one-quarter ounce Trilobite attracter out-fished the other setup we tried. Also a super ultralight pole such as the perch Assault rod developed by local anglers makes a huge difference in sensitivity as well as hooking these soft-mouthed fish.
Fellas using dark plastics in crawdad, worm, and tube styles have reported good catches of largemouth bass from Kicking Horse and Ninepipe Reservoirs and small mouth bass in the Flathead River from Buffalo Bridge downstream.
If you’re interested in catching some large lake trout you should try a 5-foot to a 40-foot depth on either the west side or the east side of the Flathead River Delta at the north end of the lake. Anchor up, throw out a whole fish on a couple of poles; then just sit and wait. If a fish hits, open your bail and let it run for a minute or so. If you don’t want to sit, dragging a tube jig or a two fly setup can also be productive. Bait these with flavored cut bait.
The sloughs north of Flathead Lake have been good for crappie, perch and bass. Those sloughs that are attached to the river are also good bets for catching small bait fish.
The bait fish are running around the Armed Services Memorial Bridge at Polson. For a $10 fee you can commercially rod-and-reel fish them. Maggots for bait with corn for chum is an effective way to catch large numbers of them. We pay 60 cents per pound or 25 cents each for fish less than nine inches.
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