Ice fishing across Western Montana is still good, but you might have to time your visit to the lake to when the fish are biting. At this time of the year the fishing can be hit and miss.
“I had one of the best days on the ice that I have had in a long time,” said Dick Zimmer from Pablo. The trip he was referring to was on nearby Lake Mary Ronan.
“I was fishing for perch and filled a 5 gallon bucket about ¾ quarters full with a nice mess of perch,” Zimmer said. “They all were nice fillet size and I quit fishing, not because they stopped biting but because I had all that I wanted.”
Lake Mary Ronan is also producing some nice catches of kokanee salmon. Once again, you have to hit the lake at the right time. Ice anglers are using a Swedish pimple with a flash and glow 2 to 6 inches below it. Tip the flash and glow with maggots. Kokanee have been holding in roughly 25-30 feet of water.
Georgetown Lake ice fishing has slowed. Reports on the www.montanaoutdoor.com angler Fishing Reports message board have not been very encouraging. One report said they spent all day and caught one rainbow and seven kokanee. In another report, the angler recommended bringing your hip boots because of the foot of slush and water on the ice.
If the boat show at South Gate Mall got you in the mood for some open water fishing, then there is no need to wait. Flathead Lake has open water north of the Narrows and the lake trout are biting.
“We went to three different areas and all three areas produced lake trout, “ said Zimmer. “Most of the fish were small but we could not keep them off”. Zimmer told me he fished in depths ranging from 120 to 210 feet last Sunday. They hit Cedar Island and north of Painted Rocks with 120-140 feet of water north of Painted Rocks doing very well. If you plan on making a trip to Flathead Lake and boat fish then make sure you dress with some warm layers of clothes. Also stay out about 200 yards from Rocky Point as it shallows up very quickly and at least one unfortunate boater has damaged a lower unit because of it every year.
The third week of the Perch Pounder ended Sunday with Trent Mendenhall bringing in the largest perch at 1.786 pounds. Caleb Crofts caught a 1.592 pound perch to take second for the third week. The final week is well underway and the derby will end Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Scoreboard Pub in Kalispell. Terry Riley is still the leader for the overall derby with a 2.014-pound perch. All it takes is one fish to win and you still have time to enter by calling Gene Fincher 261-6445. The Perch Pounder covers all Region 1 Lakes.