Dan Spence - Canyon Ferry fishing

Guiding walleye anglers on Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana

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Dan's fishing report


September  7, 2010

Boy how the time flies, summer is ending and fall fishing is just around the corner. It sure feels like fall already with the snow on the mountains around the lake and cool mornings. I am still pulling cranks on the south end and the walleye fishing has been good when mother nature co-operates. I can'nt remember a summer with so many thunder storms so close togeather. The bait fishermen are catching fish on just about every point on the lake. Most of the walleye are small with a few nice fish mixed in, if all you are catching are small move to another area, there are a lot of nice fish in the lake if you can find them. The trout fishing has slowed down some but it is still pretty good, I have found them out from shore a ways but not in the middle of the lake in about 18' to 20' down on leaded line. I have picked up several walleye out there this year also. See you on the water, Dan 

August  18,  2010

Fishing has been very good when the weather is good. It looks like the storms are finally slowing down and we can get more than a day or two of fishing in at a time. We are still catching a lot of small fish but the numbers are good. If most of the fish are small you need to change areas and find bigger fish.Some times its just a matter of changing colors. This has been a tuff year to keep track of the fish, it seams that they want a different color or size every day. I guess thats what keeps it interesting. See you on the water, Dan 

August  9,  2010

Fishing is still good when the weather will cooperate. It rained on tuesday night so fishing was a little slow on wed. we caught 9 walleyes. No thunder storms that night and turs. we caught close to 75 walleye, then it stormed again. Friday I caught 12 walleye, a quick storm came through that afternoon and on saturday we caught 19 walleye. I think that if we could get a few days of nice weather the fishing would even out and be pretty good. Most of the fish have been on the small side, the average is about 14" but we have found some in the 16" to 17" range. It's nice to see some of that size at this time of year. See you on the water, Dan 

August  3,  2010

Fishing was a little slow last weekend. The walleye were just starting to bite when the thunderstorms rolled in. Fishermen are catching walleye all over the lake at different times of the day. If you fish the right place, at the right time, you can do pretty good. Fishing in the evening has been good if you can miss the storms that are comeing through almost every afternoon. It seems like the weather has just gone nuts this year, we normaly have stable weather at this time of year. see you on the water, Dan 


July  26,  2010

Fishing was better last weekend. We were out about four hours on saterday and caugth about a dozen walleye. It took some time to figure out what they would bite, they switched from tail dancers to jointed shads. Sunday I had to go on another search, after about three hours and three trout we found some nicer walleye, nothing big, but several 16''& 17'' The average was 15'' out of 20 fish. It looks like the big fish in the willows have moved on, there was only a couple of boats fishing there instead of the usual twenty-five. I have had reports of walleye being caught all over the lake so go have some fun. See you on the water, Dan 

July  19,  2010

I am finaly able to get out on the water again. It's a little more work to get the boat in and out, but it not to bad. The walleye fishing has been pretty good. I have been cranking the south end and catching fish, most have been small 13.5'' to 17''. There have been a lot of boats in the willows and the river and they are picking up some big fish. The fish that I have found are in very small areas, I have to hit the same spot to keep catching fish. Almost every pass hits a double and then I have to circle around. The hot bite that CF is known for has not happend  yet this year and it my not, it is getting late in the year but the water is just starting to warm up and the fish may turn on any day now. August may be a good month. See you on the water, Dan.

June  30,  2010

I was able to get out on the water friday, sunday and tuesday thanks to some friends. I am not able to put the boat in or out of the water by myself yet or move around in it very much. We caught a few walleyes each day and some trout on tues. There has been no color or patern that is very consistent. I know that a color in the right size will catch fish, we just didn't find what it was. Thats what happens when you are not out enough to keep track of whats happening. It looks like the guys that are useing bait are picking up some walleyes but most are small. The walleye tournament went well, some nice fish were caught but not very many. The winning wieght was 32 lbs. See you on the water, Dan

June  13, 2010

The weather is still not very good for walleye fishing but thats not as bad what happened to me. I have been in the hospital the last week with a broken pelvis. Doc says I can do nothing for the next two months. Sitting in the boat is not bad, but I can not hit a wave or it might break the plates or screws. I will still try to keep you informed on what is happening. See you on the shore, Dan

June  5,  2010

Walleye fishing has been tough. I have been able to catch a few every time I can get out between storms. The water temp. is still cold, 57 degrees is as warm as I can find. The runoff has the south end muddy but the wind and currents are keeping some areas clean. The trout are biteing very good out in the middle of the lake. I have been running #7 shads on mono and doing very well. We have been picking up a few walleye out there to. They are feeding on the bug larva. I have to say goodby to a good friend today. Mark Henkel was a huge voice for all outdoorsmen of Montana and he will be missed by all, young and old alike. Keep a tight line Mark. See you on the water Dan 

May  24,  2010

I was able to get back to the lake on wed. afternoon. Fishing was ok, 4 walleyes in about 1 1/2 hrs all were about 15''. The weather was bad on thurs, I went out friday for about 7 hrs. I just got my second pole in the water and had a fish,(small) just put it back in the holder and theres another fish on (small) again.I think that its going to be a good day, not another walleye for the next 5 hrs. Then I caught 3 in about 15 minutes and then nothing for the next hour so I went in. Saturday it was cold, windy, rain and snow, no fishing. Sunday we tried walleye fishing for a couple of hours, no fish so we went after trout. It was slow but steady, we only landed 7 trout and lost several others. We did catch a small walleye in the middle of the lake so you never know when or where you might pick one up. I have caugth them out there in the past, but I never go there to catch walleye. I know we need all the moisture that we can get but I am getting tired of the cold and snow. See you on the water, Dan

May  17,  2010

It seams like winter has stayed around a long time this year. The snow has stoped (for a little while) and the cows are about done calving so I can finaly go fishing! The water temp is cold for this time of the year but the fish are starting to bite. Saturday was a short day and we caught 4 walleyes, 20'' was the biggist, Sunday we caught 15 walleyes 19 '' was the big fish. most were 15'' to 17'' We also caught about 10 trout so we had a pretty goog day. I am pulling cranks on the east side and we caught fish from dike 1 to the mouth of the river. There was about 150 boats hanging around dike 1 but I didn'nt see a lot of fish being caugth. I think its a case of theres the boats so thats where the fish are, lets fish there. Its funny how people think on that lake. The weather looks good for the next few days so its time to get fishing. See you on the water, Dan  


Septermber  30, 2009

I was able to go fishing a few days last week. Pulled cranks on the south end for a few hours and did pretty good, 16 walleyes and 3 trout. 3 walleyes that were 22'', 25'' and 27'' I have heard of many walleyes caught that are over 30'', almost all have been caught in the south half of the lake. FWP is planning to stock the rainbows this week and I have found that large cranks work well for a few weeks after the lake has been planted. I would also like to remind people to turn back the fish that are 23'' and bigger. these are our spawners and we need to protect them. I also went to Holter last week and we didn't do very good, 5 walleyes and 3 trout. the water was very dirty with a lot of weeds floating. I think that they were dumping water from Canyon Ferry. Its snowing right now and it is forcast to continue the rest of the week, not good fishing weather, maybe next week will be better. See you on the water Dan   

September  9,  2009

Fishing was pretty good last week considering the time of the year, I am still pulling cranks on the south end of the lake and catching  25 to 40 walleyes a day with a few trout and perch. We have been fishing in 7' to 18' of water, it just depends on the day and time. If they are not shallow just keep working out deeper. We picked up some nice fish in the 23'' to 27'' range and lost a few that I think were bigger. We have to weed through a lot of small fish to get a few good eaters, but thats just fishing. As long as you catch fish it's all good. With hunting season here my time at the lake will be limited so the reports will start to get  farther apart. See you on the water Dan

August  23,  2009

Time sure has a way of flying buy. Summer is just about gone and the fall fishing is just around the corner. I fished five days last week and it was great! There are still a lot of fish on the south end of the lake and the average size has went up to about 15''. Most of these fish are yearlings and have grown up some over the summer. With the cool summer the water temp. has stayed low and the fish have not gone deep. But the farther north you go (on the lake) the deeper the fish are. I have heard people are catching fish in 50' of water. I am still pulling cranks on the south end and doing very good, you just have to cover water untill you find the fish. We have been catching a lot of trout on the south end also, thanks to the cool water. See you on the water, Dan

August  3,  2009

I thought that summer was here, but it is sure raining a lot. I have been trying to get the hay put up on the ranch so I can get back to fishing. With all the rain I guess I'll have to fish. The only times that I have been to the lake the weather has not been very good but the fish are still biteing pretty good. I am fishing in 12' to 20' of water pulling cranks on leaded line. the average size has dropped to about 12'' so we have to weed throught a lot of little fish to get a few good keepers. Spinners are working good, and the slow death with a worm is working very good. The trout fishing is still very good in the mid-lake area, they are still holding in about 10' to 15' of water so leaded line is not necessary. See you on the water, Dan

July  21,  2009

Well, it finaly turned into summer,Hot! There are still a lot of walleye on the south end of the lake but most have moved into a little deeper water. 15' to 20' has been better fishing for me. I have heard that the north end has been fishing even deeper. The crank bait bite has been all over the place this year. A color will work well for a day or two and then nothing the next. It has been the same with the shape's. Floating, husky jerks, shad raps and tail dancer's have all been produceing fish, you just have to find the right color and size every day. If there are fish on the fishfinder and you are not catching, change your crank and speed untill you get the right combination. The key now is to find the fish and stay on them untill you find what they want. See you on the water, Dan

July  13,  2009

Fishing has been up and down, more up than down though. This is one of the longest springs that I have seen and when a cold front moves through the fish slow down. We are catching fish every day, but it is better after a few days of nice stable weather. The average size is down a little to about 13'' with less nice fish (16''-18'') I am still catching most of the fish on cranks and the colors are different every day. The fish have moved into a little deeper water 12' to 17' but that can change at anytime. The biggest fish last week was 31'', only had 3 in the 20'' to 25'' range. All were releasted to catch another day. See you on the water, Dan   

JULY  1,  2009

Tournament week is over and it is time to go have fun fishing again. Not that I do not have fun, but there is some presure to do well. We placed 21st this year, not bad out of 150 teams. The fish are on the ''bite'' now and pretty easy to catch if you can find them. The average size has dropped to about 14'', lots of small fish that are hungry. Spinners and jigs are working good but I am still pulling cranks. We are still catching a lot of nice fish in the 17'' to 18'' range but have to weed through a lot of little ones to get them. See you on the water, Dan.

June  23,  2009

The weather is still not co-operating very well yet but the fishing is still pretty good on most days. I had nine days on the water since the last report. The best day was wednesday with 40 walleye's and one trout. most days were 15 to 25 fish. The average size is droping to about 14'', the biggist was a whopping 32.25'' 12 lb. walleye. Nice fish! hope it happens again this saturday. I am still pulling cranks on the south end, the fish are biting in a different place every day, you just have to be in the right place at the right time so cover some ground to find the fish. See you on the water Dan

June  11  2009

Its looking like we may have some good weather for a little while. The lake is about full and the  river is not so muddy any more and the walleye are starting to bite again. Jigs and spinners have been working well north of the Silo's in 15' to 25' of water. Cranks are good on the south end in the cleaner water if you can find it. Watch for floating wood when running from place to place, most of it is small but there is some big stuf that you don'nt want ot hit. The trout are biting good in the clean water north of the Silo's. See you on the water Dan

JUNE  4,  2009

We had a break in the cold front on wednesday and went fishing, did not expect to catch much after the cold front, but we had to try. It was a beautiful day on the water but no fish. Between the cold front and the water level rising fast the fish are hard to find on the south end. I heard that they are catching a few north of the Silo's on spinners. The trout are biteing on the north end of the lake trolling spoons and plugs.

May  19,  2009

It looks like we skipped spring and went straight to summer, snow on thursday and 80 degrees on saturday. Fishing was a little slow on friday, we only caught 8 walleyes. The water temp. was 55 degrees. Saturday was a little better fishing with 16 walleys caught. The water temp finally reached the 60 degree mark and held through the night. I thought that monday would be a great day, we only caught 7 walleyes. Thats  what I get for thinking that I can predict what a walleye will do. We did catch some nice fish over the three days, the largest was 24'' with several more 15'' to 20'' twelve were under 14'' so the good eater size is holding a pretty good average. We also landed several trout and a few rocky mountain bone fish. See you on the water Dan

May  13  2009

Finaly a few days of good weather in a row, I got out on the water monday and had a good day. 61 walleyes and 10 trout. The walleye averaged about 16'' the biggist was 22''. The trout were mostly small planters from last fall with a few that went over 3#. The water temp. stayed about 57 all day with a good breese. Tuesday the weartherman said it was going to be stormy so we went to Lake Helena, he was right wind,rain,snow and no sun. But the fishing was good, 38 walleyes 7 over 20'' the biggist was 28''. This is not typical for this lake, most of the fish are under 14''. See you on the water Dan

May  5, 2009

To much snow! I know we need all the water we can get but it sure makes fishing tough. We received over 2 feet of snow in the last two weeks and it just keeps coming. I hope we get a break pretty soon but It's not looking good. Shore fishing for trout has been good, marshmellows and worms on the bottom or casting spinners and spoons has been working good. Dan.

April  23  2009

I finally got a break in the weather and meetings and went fishing. It was great! even caught some fish. Tuesday was warm and sunny, very little wind. The water temp. reached 65 degrees in the afternoon. I caught 8 walleyes, the largest was 25.5'',23.5'',21'',17'', and the rest were 14''. All came off cranks at 2.5 mph. in less than 6 feet of water.

Wednesday was better for numbers of fish. The water temp. held at 55 degrees for most of the morning with a light breese.Three of us caught 48 walleyes and two trout. The largest 19'',smallest 12''. Most were 14'' to 16''.The weather has turned to snow so no more fishing for a few days. Darn! See you one the water  Dan.

April 6, 2009

The south end of Canyon Ferry Reservoir is finally open all the way to White Earth. Watch out for ice chuncks floating around out there. The fishing is slow at this time of year but you can catch a few, most are small males but you never know when a big one will hit. That's fishing! 

I like to run large cranks this time of year, number 11 or bigger floaters in close to shore or number 7 or bigger out deeper, not very fast , just enough to put some action on the crank. When you find a fish you can go to spinners or jigs, the water is cold and the fish are moveing slow.

Try shore fishing for trout. Its allways good after the ice goes out. Float a worm off the bottom or cast spinners and spoons. Its time to get out there and have some fun, catch some fish, and donn't forget to take a kid along with you. -  Dan

 March 31, 2009

It won't be long now before some serious launching of boats will begin at Canyon Ferry Reservoir.  I've heard reports that the south end of the lake is breaking up, but not enough yet for safe launching and fishing.

It's a matter of spring finally winning out over winter.  We've been having snow squalls and some serious snowfalls across Montana in the past week.  Far Eastern Montana got more than a foot with wind-driven drifts piled up six to eight feet high.

But this is spring snow.  It's wet.  It's heavy.  But it melts off in a day or two under a sun that's trying to bring fishermen some spring.

It won't be long now until we get some serious fishing done.  I'll be there! -- Dan


Dan Spence

Montana Guide license # 6868
9121 Bridger Canyon Rd.
Bozeman, Mont. 59715

Phone: 406-586-3705
E-mail: Dan Spence

Booking agent for
Josh Steinmetz
Steinmetz Outfitters
License Number 9388
3197 Holmberg Drive
Helena, MT 59602

Copyright, 2009, Dan Spence

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