Skiing, Snowmobiling & Ice Fishing are What Winters in Montana are All About: Captain’s Column
By angelamontana


I had a great weekend last weekend! I made my first ski trip to Blacktail Mountain by Lakeside, Montana on the west side of Flathead Lake.  My girlfriend, Berny, and two of my kids, Maris and William, decided to try out the hill that we had heard so much about for the past few years.

Located about 13- miles behind the town of Lakeside, to actually access Blacktail, you drive up to the top of the ski hill and then ski down.  Chair lifts then take you back up the mountain.

So, at the end of the day, instead of taking the last run of the day, you actually take the last chair of the day.  We all found the hill to be quite fun.  There are some long runs that I personally like that are groomed for the most part.  I didn’t make it to all of the runs that Balcktail has to offer, but Berny did and said that she discovered a couple of runs that she really liked.

The mountain is very family and kid friendly, and you notice that the moment that you arrive.  Every staff member working at Blacktail, that we came in contact with, went out of their way to make us feel welcome, and they all seemed to have a high interest in wanting us to have a fun day of skiing.  The view on top of the hill is pretty cool with Flathead Lake visible to the east and Whitefish Mountain to the north.

Skiing, Snowmobiling and of course Ice fishing!  That is what winters in Montana are all about.  Ice fishing reports are plentiful with some pretty decent ice fishing on some lakes in Western and Northwestern Montana according to Chancy from Snappys Sport Senter in Kalispell, “The colder weather has yielded some nice reports for Lake Mary Ronan which now has a good solid 6-8 inches of ice, and guys are catching perch and running into kokanee salmon 10-11 inches. Middle Thompson starting to get some nice ice and reports of perch pike and kokanee,  Beaver Lake getting in on the road can be a challenge but can give up a lot of kokanee 8-9 inchers, Loon Lake has some nice rainbows be aware the regulations for sizes, McWinneger Slough still doing well at night on crappie, Bitterroot Lake the North end has some ice on it but not quite ready, Ashley Lake heard it’s froze but no real reports yet, East Bay on Flathead Lake has ice and doing well on lake trout and perch and Pablo Reservoir by Polson is doing well on perch”.

If you would like to fish a fun tournament this Saturday, then head to Dillon.  The 29th Annual Stan Shafer Memorial ice fishing derby is taking place on Clark Canyon Reservoir, this Saturday, January 26th from 7am to 4pm!  There will be $6,450 in cash prizes!!

Additionally, for every $1,000 in tickets sold, there will be a 50/50 drawing!  Tickets are $5.00 in advance or $6.00 the day of the derby–Ticket sales end at 1pm, and prizes will be awarded at 2pm!  Proceeds go to the Beaverhead Search and Rescue.  Prizes go to who gets the biggest fish.  Two progressive tagged fish, and there is a 4-way split for largest trout and ling. Youth (12 years and younger) also get a two-way split for largest trout and ling.






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