Fishing Season Hits Full Swing in Montana

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Late summer and early fall is the prime season for fishing lake trout and Chinook salmon in Montana’s Missouri River Country.

“I can’t think of any other lake in the U.S. that has Chinook salmon like we do here, they are some of the hardest fighting and best eating fish and we have them here in Fort Peck Lake,” says Carl Mann of Montana Experience Outfitters.

The prime time to land deep water species in Missouri River Country is now. Fort Peck Lake with its clear, deep waters is an angler’s paradise. As the lake’s waters begin to warm, deep water species such as lake trout and Chinook salmon move to areas where fishing enthusiasts have the opportunity to land a trophy fish. These species are not only some of the best tasting but also give anglers a great fight. With over 1,600 miles of shoreline and depths reaching 220 feet, Fort Peck Lake is home to the best late summer and early fall fishing.

For locals and visitors alike, the town of Fort Peck has several places to get fishing information. A guide to fishing in Montana’s Missouri River Country as well as canoeing and kayaking is available, reserve your copy at http://missouririver.visitmt.com/travel-planner/. At the historic Fort Peck Hotel the staff will let visitors know where the best access points are and what bait has been working the best for specific species. A local favorite restaurant, bar and casino, the Gateway has been completely revamped and will be reopening this fall. Services including camping with full hook-ups, a restaurant/bar, boat docks with a filling station and fishing supplies are available at the Fort Peck Marina. Under new management, partners Michele Weiss and Chris Goehring are rolling out a complete overhaul of the Marina including the addition of several campsites and a new bar. Carl Mann of Montana Experience Outfitters and owner of the Fort Peck Hotel touts the unique experience anglers can find in Montana’s Missouri River Country. “I can’t think of any other lake in the U.S. that has Chinook salmon like we do here, they are some of the hardest fighting and best eating fish and we have them here in Fort Peck Lake,” says Mann.

As the season kicks off, ambitious anglers seek out the opportunity to catch these deep water fish. The lake trout typically grow ten to 12 pounds but have been known to reach 20 pounds. The Chinook salmon average 15 to 30 pounds. The sheer abundance of fish during this time means an outstanding catch rate for fishermen. “You don’t need a boat to be catching fish at this time,” says Mann. “Fish are being landed from the shore at the same rate as from boats.” This season provides the opportune time for anglers looking for quick action and a hard fighting fish. Walleye have also been biting on the nearby Yellowstone River and Nelson Reservoir for anglers looking for a different kind of experience. Michele Weiss, owner of the Fort Peck Marina, encourages anglers to plan ahead. “Anglers should plan in advance for where they are staying to ensure they have a spot; we can also let them know about other activities taking place in the area.”

After landing the big one, return to the town of Fort Peck and stop in at the hotel where they will throw your fish on the barbeque. Sharing fishing stories around the fire with fellow anglers tops off a successful day. The vast Fort Peck Lake and opportunities to fish for lake trout, Chinook salmon and many more species make Montana’s Missouri River Country a can’t miss experience for anglers in late summer and early fall. For more information about visiting Missouri River Country and planning your fishing trip, please visit missouririver.visitmt.com.

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Sarah Ziska
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