Northern Pike

The northern pike (Esox lucius) is Montana's lone representative of the pike family. It is native to Montana only in the Saskatchewan River drainage on the east side of Glacier Park. However, widespread introduction, both legal and illegal, now makes the northern pike a common gamefish statewide except for southwest Montana. Northern pike thrive in standing or slow-moving waters of lakes, reservoirs, and streams, especially where dense vegetation grows. Because of their voracious fish-eating habits they can literally eliminate their food supply in only a few years, leaving a population of terminally-stunted "hammerhandles." It is for this reason that widespread illegal pike introductions in western Montana have become a fishery manager's nightmare. And in the prairie streams of eastern MT, pike have caused widespread elimination of multiple native prairie minnow species (that did not evolve with predatory fish) in permanent and intermittent drainages. Northern pike spawn in early spring just after ice-off. They broadcast their eggs over flooded shoreline vegetation. The eggs adhere to the vegetation until the young are ready to swim on their own. Northern pike can grow to nearly 40 pounds in Montana and provide a truly outstanding sport and food fish in the appropriate waters.
 
Fishing Waters
Toobally lakes are the largest two lakes in the southeast corner of Canada's Yukon Territory. These two lakes are known locally as 'Upper" and 'Lower" Toobally. They are connected ... moreby the upper Smith river. Both of these lakes are superb lake trout, and northern pike waters. With a depth of 250-feet and many shallow shoals, they offer great fish habitat. The Smith river is a great arctic grayling fishery in its own right.
Toobally Lake is one of the most remote destinations for anglers. Deep in the heart of Yukon Territory and accessible only by sea plane, the lake offers pristine views of untouched ... morewilderness and frequently hosts native moose and grizzly bears along its shores. The legendary Grizzly Creek Lodge offers guided trips on and around Toobally Lake and the Smith River in one of Canada's finest fishing locations.
Game Fish Opportunities:
If you like to fish for steelhead, and the Clearwater is best known for them, then you already know your ABC’s. Steelheads are classified as A-run or B-run fish depending on their ... moresize, spawning habits and time spent in the ocean. More precisely, they are rainbow trout that venture to the Pacific and back to fresh water. A-runs typically appear in Idaho early in the season, from June through August, most often spend only one year in salt water, and return to the Snake and Salmon Rivers. B-runs usually return to the Clearwater River although some do migrate to the Salmon. Because B-runs spend at least 2 years in the ocean they tend to be much larger, weighing in at 10-13 pounds and 31-34 inches long, compared with the A-runs that register around 4-6 pounds and are generally only 23-26 inches long.

Not surprisingly, the fly fishing seasons on the River are divided according to the A and B runs, and while the A’s tend to be smaller they are reputed to be aggressive and capable of putting up a hard, long fight. For those in pursuit of larger quarry, you’ll have to move upstream along with the fish throughout their season. Because Clearwater B-Run steelhead are the largest in the lower 48, anglers are happy to make this trek, coming from around the globe to try their luck and test their fly fishing acumen. As the river winds its way from coniferous forests to scrappy desert, the water mysteriously manages to remain clear, rarely affected by erosion or runoff, making it stable and highly predictable and thus easier to master after repeated visits. 

The town of Orofino is a great base for fishing the Clearwater with a nice selection of hotels, motels, ranches, lodges and neighboring campgrounds for anyone who desires a genuine, outdoor experience. Just across the river is the Dworskak Reservoir where there’s great fishing for kokanee, bass and other trout. Water sports are welcome within the Reservoir where you can jet ski, rent a power-boat or take out a quiet floater, canoe or kayak. Winter sports include skiing, hunting and snowmobiling, all within a short distance of downtown.

Things to Know

The Clearwater River in north-central Idaho is renowned for outstanding fishing for B-run steelhead and chinook salmon, and to a lesser extent, native cutthroat trout in the summer. In the fall, the steelhead season kicks in with catch-and-release fishing in September, and then catch-and-keep from October to the end of April. B-run steelhead in the Clearwater average 12-14 pounds, but many of them go higher, in the 20-pound range.

During May and September, when the weather is cooler, dress warmly or in layers. It is always cooler in the morning.

During the warmer months, June through mid-September, the typical attire is shorts, t-shirts and sports sandals.

Bring along water, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Be prepared to get wet and dress according to your comfort level.

Wear clothes that dry quickly and perhaps steer away from denim pants or shorts and leather footwear.

Life jackets are provided on outfitted trips.
The Flathead River represents the combined flow of hundreds of headwater creeks funneled from the glacial cirques of Glacier National Park and other wild places within the U.S. and ... moreCanada. This cold, clear water flows into the North, South and Middle forks of the Flathead, which merge together near Columbia Falls to begin a southward journey. Portions of the upper mainstem Flathead River are classified as 'Recreational' within the Wild and Scenic River Classification system.

About 20 miles into its journey, after flowing down the gentle, south-sloping gradient of the Flathead Basin floor, the river empties into Flathead Lake. The lower mainstem Flathead River drains from the southwest corner of the lake and draws waters from an arid valley basin throughout its 75-mile course. The Flathead River finally empties into the Clark Fork River at Paradise. 

The Flathead River System offers hundreds of miles of pristine waterways, while Flathead Lake is a scenic and recreational mecca. A diversity of fish and wildlife complement the land and water resources, and contribute to both the natural and cultural values of the Flathead Basin environment.
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Given its association with transport, commerce and business development, it’s easy to forget that there remain parts of the Missouri set aside for fishing, boating and enjoying nature’s ... morebounty. From source to mouth, it is the longest river in North America, over 2, 341 miles. The river’s watershed consists of over a million square miles and includes parts of 10 American states and 2 Canadian provinces. When combined with the lower Mississippi, it is the 4th longest river in the world. Whew! That’s a lot to take in. But, if you’re a fly fisher in Montana, the only section of the Missouri you really need to know about is a tiny, 40 mile, stretch downstream of Holter Dam, near the towns of Wolf Creek, Craig and Cascade and not far from the city of Helena. This is the “Blue Ribbon” trout section of the Missouri.

Water released from Holter Dam keep this section the river at a fairly consistent level, helping to maintain cool temperatures year round. Some guides describe the river here as a gigantic spring creek surrounded by weed beds with long riffles, great banks and undercuts that provide ideal habitat for the river’s substantial trout population. By substantial, we’re talking 3,500 to 5,500 fish per mile on a yearly basis – and many of these exceed 16 inches! The first ten miles of the river from Holter Dam to Craig tend to have the largest number of hatches resulting in the highest concentration of fish.

In this “gigantic spring” part of the river, rainbow trout outnumber browns by a ratio of 6:1. In addition, stable populations of burbot and stonecats live below the dam. As a bonus, the reservoir is surrounded by the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area as well as three other designated nature preserves and wilderness set-asides. Look up and there’s a good chance you’ll spot a bald eagle, various types of falcon, red-tail hawks, osprey and golden eagles – you may even get a chance to see them snatch a fish from the water. Shore side it’s not unusual to sight bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goats. This may be an area small in size but its large in its grandeur and many offerings.
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The Clark Fork River has its headwaters in the Silver Bow (or Highland) Mountains, originating at the confluence of Silver Bow and Warm Springs creeks near Anaconda, Montana. The river ... moreflows north and west 350 miles through broad, semi-arid valleys, high mountain ranges, and steep-sided valleys and terminates in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. The Upper Clark Fork, bordered on the north by the Garnet Range and on the south by the Flint Creek Range, meanders most of its first 38 miles through the flat plains of the Deer Lodge Valley. Vegetation is sparse, due partly to the effects of the mining boom, the greatest historical influence in the Upper Basin.

Downstream from the mouth of the Little Blackfoot River, the river flows through a steep, narrow canyon. Between Garrison and Jens the river channel has been shortened by highway and railroad construction activities, but past Jens the Clark Fork meanders away from the transportation corridor and native trees and shrubs appear along its banks. From below Flint Creek the river runs 26 miles through Bearmouth Canyon to emerge and widen to 150 feet for its confluence with the Blackfoot River. The Middle Clark Fork River extends about 115 river miles from Missoula to its confluence with the Flathead River and is entirely free flowing. Its drainage is mountainous and covered with large forested tracts, broken by grazing and cropland areas in the lower valleys.

From Thompson Falls Dam, its upper boundary, the Lower Clark Fork River flows through sedimentary formations and a landscape sculptured by the massive outflows of glacial Lake Missoula. It runs into Cabinet Gorge Dam, just outside the Montana border. Between the backwaters of Cabinet Gorge and the tailwaters of Thompson Falls Dam the river is inundated by Noxon Rapids Dam. When the Clark Fork crosses the Idaho border, it is Montana's largest river, carrying an average 22,060 cubic feet of water per second.