Noxon Reservoir (Clark Fork River)

A thirty-three mile impoundment of the Clark Fork River stretching from Thompson Falls to Noxon, the Noxon Rapids Reservoir offers some of the best bass and pike fishing in Northwestern Montana. Averaging only a mile wide, the setting stirs the imagination for a mountainous watershed teeming with trout, and they too cruise through this shallow reservoir known for offering good small mouth and largemouth bass fishing, along with pike, walleye, yellow perch and sun fish.

Bass tournaments are held in the spring and a pike tournament is held in the fall. Snow capped mountains loom over the Clark Fork drainage. Pine trees rush down from the tallest mountains to lean out over the water.

Realistically, fishing access is limited so fishing from a boat is best. Boat ramps are available at USFS campgrounds and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks facilities. Thompson Falls State Park offers fee camping, a picnic area, drinking water, toilets and a boat ramp. Next is Flat Iron Boat Ramp located at mile marker 50 on Highway 200, which offers picnic and day use activities. Eight miles away is the Finley Flats Campground near mile marker 42. This is a great non-fee campground right on the water's edge and offers a new boat ramp. Nearing Trout Creek, the Trout Creek Community Park offers a boat ramp, a picnic area and a swimming beach. Nearby is the North Shore Campground offering 13 campsites and a very nice boat ramp.

If you take the Marten Creek Road in the town of Trout Creek, you will discover a beautiful non-fee campground and boat ramp on Marten Creek; however, it is a nine-mile road trip that often leads to disappoint when all five campsites are occupied. I arrived at Marten Creek Campground Sunday evening in the middle of June. As luck would have it, one campsite had just been vacated. I fished the first evening with no success. I tried plastic worms and spinnerbaits without a single bite. I did get to view bass in a small cove as they skirted out of the way of my boat. The second day I was getting worried. I had not caught a thing the next morning when a husband and wife motored by in a bass boat. I said "I hope you have a tip for me." The husband said that he had caught nothing but that his wife had just caught a nice bass on a perch colored crank bait. I dug one out and caught bass and a couple of small pike for the rest of the day, not to mention missing many. The following day I decided to fish exclusively with my fly rod so I selected a green, white and brown, cone-head, double bunny. Wow! I nailed them, including two more pike, one which was an easy five pounds. What fun!