Cold fronts can change your fishing
By Hookemharry

Posted: April 22, 2004
Cold fronts have never been a friend to anglers. When a front moves in, only the best anglers seem to catch fish and even they don’t do as well as they normally do.

Springtime always brings in more than its fair share of these weather patterns. Some are more severe than others are.

A week ago the high temperatures of the day hit over 70 degrees in the early part of the week. By Thursday, the highs were in the 50s, actually normal for this time of the year.

The dip in temperature along with the changing air pressures of the front slowed down the catch rate in some trout lakes. The high water, from the spring run-off and added moisture from recent rains, in the local rivers made them tougher to fish, as well.

But don’t despair because you know what they say in Montana, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around in five minutes and the weather will likely change.”

Reports out of Flathead Lake from Spring Mack Days headquarters showed fishing slowed down for the weekend, but still the 118 anglers that are participating will check in a record number of fish this year.

The spring lottery-based tourney has had a catch of 2,606 lakers as of last weekend, according to Aimee from S-K Marina. Every fish brought in is good for a chance at winning part of $3,000 dollars in cash and prizes.

Paul Haines of Polson is leading the way with 209 fish checked in. Dick Zimmer from Pablo isn’t far behind with 167 fish caught. In the youth category, Mike Elliott from Polson has checked in 45 and Emma Decker from Missoula has turned in 20 lake trout.

The biggest Mack caught so far is by Val Schweigert of Kalispell. That lake trout weighed 23 pounds and was 38 5/8 inches long. The biggest lake trout is worth $500.

This Friday through Sunday will end Spring Mack Days. Sunday will feature a Mack Cook Off. The cook-off is open to the public and will be held at S-K Marina in Polson. The cook-off will feature a few new ways to prepare lake trout.

In fact, local TV personality Monte Turner from Montana Today, which is on KECI-TV weekday mornings, will be on hand to sample and maybe cook some of the offerings that anglers have collected from the waters of Flathead Lake. For more information, call Aimee at 883-1902.

The annual walleye egg collection from Fort Peck Reservoir is well underway. Mike Ruggles, the lake’s fisheries biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, says they are well on their way to collecting the goal of 90 million eggs.

As always, the wind and weather play a big role for the FWP personnel along with the many volunteers who help.

“Some days we can accomplish more than others, but all in all it has been a good spring,” says Ruggles.

Since they started earlier this month, they have netted quite a few large northern pike along with the normal catch of walleyes.

The eggs collected are sent to the Miles City Fish Hatchery. From there, they are planted as fingerlings in lake and reservoirs around the state including Fort Peck Reservoir.