Ice-off provides some good fishing
By Hookemharry

Posted: April 1, 2004

Ice off! Those two little words are all anglers need to spark a flurry of activity in spring.

Many anglers have been yearning for a long, long time for the days when they once again dump their boat into a lake and start fishing.

It sounds like that time has arrived on some waters around the state. It’s time to get that boat out of storage. Tune up the motor. Charge up the boat batteries. Get it ready for the water.

East of the mountains and north of Great Falls, the ice is off of Lake Frances near Valier, according to a report from the One Stop Conoco in Valier (406-279-3600).

Dallas Dentner (406-759-5265) from the Hi-Line Cleaners says most of the ice is off of Tiber Dam. “The water is low and I haven’t heard of to many reports of fish being caught, but I know they can launch a small boat right now,” says Dentner.

Further south, the ice is completely off Holter Lake, according to Paul at the Canyon Store at Wolf Creek. “The trout fishing has been good on the lake and below the dam on the Missouri,” added Paul. “But the walleye fishing has been slow or at least I haven’t heard of any being caught.”

Ice is off the south end of Canyon Ferry Lake, according to Silos RV (406-266-3100). You can launch boats at the Silos Campground but the trout and walleye fishing reports have been slow.

That might change any day now as anglers try to get into the bite before the walleyes start to spawn.

Reports out of the Seeley Lake area say the ice is rotten on Seeley Lake and disappearing fast. On Salmon Lake, most of the ice is off and Blanchard Lake, which is located by Harper’s Lake, hasn’t got any ice. The main reason for this is because the Clearwater River which is running high pours right into Blanchard, according to Bob Harlock (406-677-2335).

Flathead Lake has been drawn down in anticipation of good spring runoff. Lake trout fishing has been good. The Spring Mack Days started off with some anglers bringing in their limits last weekend.

The derby runs for four more consecutive weekends (Friday through Sunday). Call Tracy Burland to enter the derby (406-883-1902). For an updated fishing report from Flathead Lake you can call Dick Zimmer (406-675-0068).

On the lower Flathead River their have also been report of northern pike being caught by anglers using smelt and a bobber.

Or, if fishing isn’t what you want to do, Russ Hage from Missoula suggests taking a nice ride and seeing some wildlife. Head over to Freezeout Lake, near Fairfield.

Right now, Freezeout is home to snow geese, may dark geese, many scaup, some Eurasian widgeon, many pintails, and swans. It’s truly a bird watchers paradise in spring.