Bringing in the New Year last week was hectic but very productive for me. The first weekend of the year, I traveled to Helena with Doug Stewart to take part in the Great Rockies Sports Show. It was the first event that Bill Reier, the show’s producer, has put on in the Capital City and by all accounts on the way it went he will be back next year.
The three day show started Friday with a few folks coming in to view and talk to all the exhibitors and take in some of the excellent fishing and hunting seminars. Then Saturday, after the doors opened at 10am, the new building at the Lewis and Clark County fairgrounds was well attended with people just about till they closed the doors at 6pm, and the crowds continued on Sunday as well.
The people that stopped at our Montana Outdoor Radio Show booth to receive their free 2013 hunting date schedules were eager to pass on some good ice fishing reports. The Helena area lakes had been making ice with temperatures hovering in the teens for many of the days since the first of the year.
All the ice fishing reports were not good, however, as one couple who stopped by said they have not had very good luck perch fishing on the south end of Canyon Ferry Lake. I told them that I had heard that anglers were not catching as many perch but the perch they were catching were a lot larger than in years past. They told me they live at the Silos area on the south end of the lake and have not heard of many anglers having any kind of success as of yet. The annual Ice fishing tournament is coming up shortly on Canyon Ferry, so that should give us a better idea on how the ice fishing is on the lake.
Another angler stopped by, and he told me he had just been ice fishing on Hauser Reservoir and that he had a good morning catching trout, in fact he said he lost a real nice trout right at the hole.
Jim Johnson, from Lincoln, stopped by with his wife Sylvia on Sunday. “We went fishing yesterday on Browns Lake and we didn’t have very good luck but some guys fishing a few yards from us seemed to do okay using tip-ups”, added Johnson. “They were fishing in 24 feet of water and had a glo-hook and a worm on tip-up about 8 feet below the ice”.
The Great Falls Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited had a booth at the show to promote their annual banquet that takes place early next month. The banquet draws folks from all over the state as this year they are expecting 1000 people to attend. They reported that most of the lakes have good ice on them up in north central Montana and fishing has been fair.
Bynum reservoir is producing some perch, and on Tiber Reservoir, anglers have been catching 10-25 pound northern pike according to the latest information from Leonard at Roberts Bait and Tackle. This weekend I am off to Billings for the Great Rockies Sport Show where I understand the late season goose hunting has been phenomenal.