What a difference a week makes. Last week I wrote about my experience fishing in a boat below Canyon Ferry Dam on Hauser Reservoir. Well, this week, ice fishing takes the spotlight as western Montana is once again back to a winter weather normal with single digit high temperatures during the day and below zero temps at night. It is ice making weather and ice anglers are back enjoying days on the hard water. With the colder weather ice conditions will continue to improve.
There are two ice fishing contests that you might want to participate in. The Perch Pounder is in its first week up in Region 1 lakes. “We kicked off the Pounder last weekend and the perch fishing has been very good”, said tournament organizer Gene Fincher. The Perch Pounder which runs through the 22nd has room for up to 200 contestants and Fincher says they are approaching that number but they still have room for more. Zeke Bodick has registered the largest perch weighing in at 1.560 pounds as of Monday that was caught out of Ashley Lake. “We have heard they are catching a lot perch out of Lake Mary Ronan”, reported Fincher who you can contact to enter at 406-261-6445.The other contest is the annual McGregor Lake ice fishing derby, which might just have the largest participation of any fishing derby in Montana. Close to 1000 folks are expected to cover the lake, west of Kalispell, where sometimes depending on the ice conditions anglers will either fish on the ice or in a boat or from shore. The contest runs this Saturday and Sunday February 8-9th. The entry fee is $15 and tickets may be purchased in advance at the Lodge, the organizers of the event. Please call 406-858-2253 for more information.
Reports out of the Helena area indicate that the ice conditions are improving and fishing is also good on Canyon Ferry according to Adam Strainer from FWP, “Rainbow trout continue to be caught in less than 10 feet of water between Pond 4 and the Silos using jigs or ice flies tipped with maggots or worms. Yellow perch continue to be caught between Hole-in-the-Wall and Duck Creek Bay in 40 to 55 feet of water using standard perch gear tipped with maggots or worms. Ice conditions have been reported at 18 to 20-inches between Pond 4 and Confederate Bay, 15 to 18-inches from Confederate to White Earth and 3 to 5-inches on the north end”.
Kokanee salmon fishing is still good on Georgetown Lake off of Denton Point and in Badger Bay in 10 to 15 feet of water. The trout on Georgetown Lake are being caught in about 3 to 6 feet of water according to Bill Brown from Bob Wards. “I also heard that the trout fishing on Browns Lake has been fairly good too”, reported Brown.
On land hunters and trappers are doing better with the wolf harvest this year. 198 wolves have been harvested as of Monday. 185 wolves had been reported harvested on the same date last year.
(Written by the Captain; Cover photo: hisandherphotos.com)