IT appears to have started on Flathead Lake. Of course, the IT I am referring to the start of the big lake whitefish bite on Flathead Lake.
In the past couple of weeks, reports were coming from various sources that some whitefish were being caught. But the number of fish being caught from those reports never reached more than nine fish.
Anglers know that those numbers don’t reflect a real bite. When anglers start talking and reporting that a couple of coolers were filled with whitefish, then the bite is officially on.
That appears to be starting. I got my first e-mail on the whitefish bite from Dick Zimmer, the Macman from Zimmer Tackle.
Zimmer produces a famous Flathead whitefish lure called the Rattle-D-Zastor. Zimmer has literally sold thousands of those lures in ¼ to 3/8 ounce size and in the ½ to 5/8 ounce size. Tip the treble hook with maggots or just jig it plain and you are bound to catch your own cooler full.
I received Zimmer’s e-mail Monday and it started out like this:
“Fisherman: The whitefish bite is right on schedule with reports of them being caught in the Big Arm/Elmo areas yesterday (July 20).”
Zimmer goes on to explain in the e-mail what he thinks is the best way to start fishing the whitefish, “To begin with, smaller jigs in the ¼ to 3/8 ounce size will often be best or a dark fly setup with maggots. As the season progresses and the perch they are feeding on become slightly larger, a ½ to 5/8 ounce lure will often become more effective.”
Zimmer also makes a suggestion about what to use on your second rod since you are able to fish two rods per person on the lake. However after making the recommendation, he adds that most of the time often one line is all a fellow can handle.
I agree and I also think if you are fishing with more than two people in your boat, then having two nets is a good idea. I have also heard reports from other anglers that some anglers are catching whitefish on the north end of the lake by the river delta.
It will only get better as days pass, though some days are always better than others. So for now, let’s just say the good news is anglers are starting to report they are catching whitefish and I, for one, am ready to give it a try.
Remember to anchor in 40 to 50 feet of water and make sure you jigging vertical and on the bottom.
Lake Trout fishing has also been very good. The lake trout have been suspended in about 25-50 feet of water so look for schools in that depth and troll or jig for them.
On that note, the Mack Attack is scheduled this year for August 2-3, a Saturday-Sunday, with the tournament headquarters once again being Dels Bar in Somers. Entry fee is the same $25. You can enter at Dels Bar or call Gene Fincher at 261-6445.