Where are the Whitefish? – Captain’s Column
It may have taken a little longer than some anglers would of like but there are reports that some whitefish are being caught now on Flathead Lake. It is not fast and furious by any means but at least this year there seems to be more anglers catching what has become in recent years the elusive whitefish on Flathead Lake. Dick Zimmer from Zimmer’s Tackle was the first to hear reports from his customers that the whitefish have been biting. Zimmer who is the creator of one of the most successful whitefish lures called the rattle-d-zastor was cautiously optimistic about this year’s whitefish bite. Zimmer tells that anglers are catching whitefish in three areas on the south-end of the lake.”Three places seem to stand out,
- The Narrows area in depth as shallow as 40 Ft.
- Dead Man’s Point (North of Big Arm State Park in depths of 50 to 60 Feet
- Boundary Point just north of the Reservation line on the west side of the lake.
The reports that Zimmer has received indicate if you happen to catch a whitefish it might be a big one. “Fishermen have reported some especially sizable fish at Boundary Point exceeding 6 lbs”. The anglers giving Zimmer the reports are using his green rattle-d-zastor tipped with maggots, but some are putting a little customization into the standard whitefish lure. “Most are using various shades of Green Rattle D Zastors and some are having success adding red reflector tape to them”.
After hearing the news Jim Vashro of FWP who is the Fish Biologist from Region 1 in Kalispell said that he also has heard reports of anglers catching whitefish. “Some whitefish are showing up. I heard of one good catch somewhere along the East shore. I’m hearing of whitefish under the Polson Bridge. A friend caught a few off Big Arm and said boats are starting to show up there regularly. I saw some boats off Elmo a few days ago. So people are looking. Those that have caught whitefish say the size is very good.” Vashro also mentioned in an e-mail to me that one of the charter Captains are seeing perch in the lake trout stomachs. That might be a sign that the perch population is starting to bounce back on Flathead Lake. That is important because whitefish school up and target those same perch this time of the year and when they do it makes them easier to catch. Vashro also said that the manager of the Flathead Lake Salmon Hatchery reported seeing more perch off the hatchery than he has seen in many years.
Chancy Jeschke from Snappy’s in Kalispell also mentioned on the Montana Outdoor Radio Show last Saturday that some anglers were picking whitefish up on the river delta area on the north-end of the lake. They were using kasmasters and the rattle-d-zastors. After a successful morning catching lake trout last week Doug Stewart and I tried our hand at whitefish and we were unsuccessful in the afternoon. If you want to give the whitefish a try I would recommend early in the morning from 7am-11am. That seems to be the time most of the anglers are having success.
(Written by the Captain; Cover Photo: outdoorsmenforum.ca)