Pat Slater ends his 10 month Montana Fishing Season with a couple Saugers
By Kelsey

Posted: December 5, 2012

Captain’s pal Pat Slater has quite the end and length of a 2012 Montana fishing season. Read his story below.


I motored slowly through the no wake zone Saturday morning, a golden eagle soared overhead. I flipped open my phone to shut it off but hesitated long enough to be reminded of the date…December 1st. I had watched the weather forecasts all week and for once, what had been predicted came to pass, it was 51 degrees when I went through Lovell. Water temperature in the Horseshoe Bend bay was 37.5 degrees, ice fishing is a few weeks away at best. Water depth is still good in this end of the lake and once safe ice is formed many anglers will be drilling holes!

 I headed down the lake looking for sheep grazing on the slides, enjoying the ride, thinking again about this opportunity to be on the water this time of year. The game plan was the same, pitching and dragging a bucktail jig with a lively minnow.

 I hit the first spot and made a couple passes. The bite wasn’t happening for me today, wind and current had pushed colored water quite a ways down the lake in the last two weeks. I picked up and moved finding some clear water just as the wind started kicking up.

 I ran into some good friends from Billings fishing around the next bend, stopped to say “Hi” and to see how they’re doing. They’ve got some which gives me some incentive to get the skunk out of my boat!   I worked the shore line some more, the screen is lit up with arches but I’m not doing something correct. In hind sight, I should have slowed down to vertical.

 Another short move and a switch to my bottom bouncer and floating jig w/minnow on my deadstick rod. Fifty yards into the run I passed close to a point, the bouncer hung and I reached down and popped it free, imediately it hung again and I jerked it free and placed it back into the rod holder. No sooner than I got the rod set, and the tip went back again; in frustration I just ripped the rod out of it’s holder but this time it yanked back! Boy that felt good! This one had some strength and put up a great fight. I looked around for the net and realized I hadn’t unstrapped it yet…there where a few anxious moments as I played the fish with one hand and got my net out with the other! A beautiful 23 inch sauger came to the boat and I breathed a sigh of relief as I felt it’s weight in the net. I picked up my second sauger a little while later, a nice fat 19 incher.

I found my friends who where gracious and took some of their fishing time to take some photos for me so I could share them with you all.

Well my boat is put away for the winter, got it on the water 10 months of 2012, a great year of fishing! When I start getting ready for ice fishing I’ll be back with some of the things I do which I hope will be helpful to you.

 Til next time….Be Smart and Be Safe!


Pat Slater

Pro Staff: Mack’s Lure & Ranger Boats