Anglers readying for this year’s Fall Mack days should find steady fishing on Flathead Lake now. It should only continue to improvement as the pre spawn and spawn period merge. In fact, this weekend should be some great fishing, as several days of a high, steady barometer means the lake trout should be active.
We have been having our best results fishing areas of fairly shallow water, 80 to 120 feet while trolling, on flats that lead to steep drops. The center bar area, from Angel Point south, has been steady, look for areas on the bar where there are subtle depth changes that may not even be apparent on any maps. If not up on the bar, look to the drop offs on either side…although the west side is where I look first.
Trolling Macks Lure Salmon squidders (a hoochie with their awesome Smile Blade) at 1-1.5 mph has been a great choice. In fact, a chartreuse or glow Smile blade in front of any green or white hoochie/squid will catch fish, as long as you keep it “scratching the bottom.” Try one in front of an Ace-Hi fly by Silver Horde, a Pete’s Tackle Mack Fly or any other big trolling fly as well. With the larger (2.8” or 3.3”) Smile Blade, you can eliminate the dodger or flasher once you are on some fish.
For the jiggers, I was in the Painted Rocks area on Monday and there were a LOT of fish suspended, and a lot of bait present as well. Reports of trollers working the Woods Bay area, south of the Sitting Duck, leads me to believe that Lakers will be found feeding near all the areas of steep drops leading to spawning areas. The Delta area still has a lot of bait present, so much in fact your fish finder is black with it at times, but our results there recently have been only so-so.
Most of the fish I have cleaned recently have been filled primarily with smaller whitefish, so matching the color, size and body profile of a Lake Whitefish would be a good start…but as always, be prepared to adapt to what they want. Always a good idea to clean one or two of the first fish you catch to see if and what they are feeding on.
Good luck and good fishing, I’ll see you on the water!
This post was written by, Mike Howe, of A Able Fishing Charters and Tours. Contact Howe at (406) 257 – 5214 or visit their website at www.aablefishing.com