Duck hunting, ice fishing time
By Hookemharry

Posted: January 13, 2004

The duck season closes this week in the Pacific Flyway and duck hunters have been having a heyday shooting northern mallards recently.

The hunting has been as good as it has been for ducks in Western Montana for about five years. Give thanks to Mother Nature for that.

The foot of snow that blanketed much of the western part of the state in the valleys coupled with frigid cold temperatures did the trick. River and stream decoy hunting was fantastic.

Many of the duck hunters that I spoke with at the hunting and fishing show last weekend were looking for duck recipes to enjoy.

Marvin Loomis, from Trophy Fishing on Fort Peck Reservoir, who was at the show as well, told me that they received about two feet of snow on the level over by Jordan during the last week of 2003.

The wind came up and created snowdrifts in the 10-to-12-foot range. This made some of the roads to the reservoir impassable.

The latest report I received indicated the only roadopen is from Jordan to Hell Creek State Park. The roads to Devil Creek on the south side of the lake and the roads going to Fourchette Bay from the north are still snowed in.

Loomis told me of some anglers were snowed in on January 1 at Fourchette Bay and had to be plowed out. “They were stuck in there for about five more days than they had planned on,” said Loomis. “They eventually got cell phone coverage and a rancher plowed them out.”

The bill for the 50-mile road plowing job came to about $750, according to Loomis. Once the roads become passable, ice anglers are urged to use caution on the ice.

The layer of snow might have acted as an insulator so in some spots the ice might not be as thick as you might think.

Got an e-mail from Mike Violette, of Missoula, that should interest some ice fishermen.

Violette wrote hat a recent fishing trip to Flathead Lake was a bust. They then went to Crow Reservoir where they had some good perch and trout fishing. Then, last Sunday, they went to Canyon Ferry Lake over by Helena.

“Trout fishing was unbelievable. We landed close to 50 trout up to six pounds,” said Violette. “The walleye fishing was equally as impressive with two walleyes measuring 30 inches and another one was 26 inches, and a couple under 20 inches.”

They released most of the fish except for a couple of the smaller walleyes and some perch. Violette was quiet on what part of the lake they were fishing only to say “we had the bay we were fishing all to ourselves.”

He did take some pictures of his catches. If you would like to see them, log on to:  www.montanaoutdoor.com.

The annual Lions Club Ice Fishing Derby will be held this weekend on the south end of Canyon Ferry Lake. It runs Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18. For more information call the Silos RV at 406-266-3100