"Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to clean the dead minnows out of my truck before our date.” This was a text I received from my now husband, Derek, on the day of our first date. It made me laugh and then I realized wow, this guy is serious about his fishing. In the beginning I was cautious and wanted to respect his “guy time”, but I also love quality time and knew if I wanted to see him on the weekend then I needed to at least try his hobby. It started out as a way to spend time together, but after a few trips of catching fish, I was hooked (no pun intended). I would get jealous if he went fishing without me. As time went on we became a great team and developed a system that worked when it came to loading and unloading the boat and who handled what when out on the water. Pro tip: most fights happen at the dock – establish roles based off who is good at backing in the boat and who is good at loading. This will save a lot of tension.
Derek and I celebrated our marriage on April 15th and as part of our wedding, the wedding party was delivered to the ceremony site on our boat. I’m sure you’re seeing a theme – we spend a lot of time fishing together, so it only made sense that our honeymoon was spent catching fish. Derek loves watching YouTube videos and discovering new places to fish and different fishing techniques. When he saw the giant walleye coming out of Fort Peck Lake, he was convinced that’s where we should go! I was fully immersed in planning the wedding along with planning events for my day job, so I told him to take lead.
Northeast Montana is beautiful, full of rolling hills, farms, and ranches. Traveling west after Miles City there wasn’t much for amenities; however, the luscious green rolling hills and mini badlands were incredible views that kept us captivated as we made our way to the Fort Peck/Glasgow area. We turned onto Montana Highway 24 and mile by mile got closer, and I couldn’t believe it as we approached the bridge and saw the incredibly massive lake! It was so much larger than I anticipated. We made our way to Glasgow and stayed in this lovely historic hotel – Rundle Suites. We had an incredible supper at the Durum Restaurant and then drove around town.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early to meet our guides in Fort Peck. We’ve fished before so we were prepared with our cooler and rain gear. The morning started out spectacular and then as the day went on it unfortunately began raining – but there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Thankfully we were prepared and of course had good snacks. Another pro tip: if you want someone to enjoy fishing make sure you pack the best snacks.
The bite was slow on Saturday, but we did catch four northern pikes and one lake trout. We were
hopeful to land a big walleye, but the cool front the area was experiencing didn’t help in our pursuit. All day the anticipation was there, that anytime a pole went off it could be the 30” walleye we were waiting for! In fact, the second fish I caught was fighting so hard that we thought it might be the walleye of my dreams – it was a Northern Pike. We certainly will always remember spending our honeymoon in the pouring rain! Don’t worry Fort Peck, we will be back!
As we wrapped up our day fishing on Saturday, we were ready for warm clothes and a good meal. We ventured back to Glasgow and ate at Eugene’s Pizza. Talk about the most delicious pizza, and it clearly is a local favorite. Following supper we visited the small movie theater in town and took in a movie. The perfect way to end a great Montana day.
Fort Peck is surrounded by beauty and I have no doubt if we would have planned for more time in the area, there would have been even more to discover. I would encourage anyone that is into fishing and exploring new areas to give Fort Peck a try. It’s a hidden gem that isn’t so hidden when you discover it. You’ll be amazed at the size and will certainly want to hire a local guide unless you have intel. Fort Peck Lake is a dam that you could easily spend several days fishing and exploring new parts of and catching all sorts of species. I’d recommend hiring a guide at least for one day and then you can go out on your personal boat on other days.
As a fisherwomen, I get a lot of “Wow, lucky for her she has a guy that fishes, but what if I don’t have that and want to get into the sport?” I’m very fortunate my husband fishes and has graciously taught me all about it, but for you ladies out there who don’t have that and you’re interested in learning to fish – hire a really good guide. I don’t mean a guide who can just put you on fish, but a guide who will take time to show you the techniques and teach you. After that you can either keep going with a guide or if you don’t want to spend the money you can use those techniques and learn to shore fish or you could even fish from a kayak. There are many female anglers on YouTube and Instagram that use kayaks and docks to fish from. Feel free to follow @reelinrach and message me! I’d be happy to answer any questions.
Blog by and all photos courtesy of Rachel "Reelin' Rach" Nelson (instagram.com/reelinrach)